When it comes to veggie treats, you are probably wondering can hamsters eat carrots?
It’s true that nothing is quite as adorable as a fluffy hamster nibbling away on a vegetable treat.
A hamster eating carrots not only sounds cute, but it also sounds like the perfect healthy snack.
But can hamsters eat carrots safely? The answer is, thankfully, yes!
In fact, in moderation, carrots can be a nutritious supplement to your hamster’s food.
However, hamsters are hoarders, which means you need to know how to feed carrots to hamsters safely and avoid hamster health risks.
Are Carrots Safe For Hamsters?
So, can you give hamsters carrots as a treat?
Carrots are perfectly safe for hamsters to eat in moderation.
In fact, hamster experts recommend offering a small amount of safe fruits and vegetables like carrots a few times a week to supplement your hamster’s diet.
Not only are these vegetables good for hamsters, the variety will help keep your hamster mentally stimulated.
Of course, too much of a good thing can cause problems.
Let’s look at carrots for hamsters in more detail.
Hamsters and Carrots
A good, balanced diet for a hamster includes commercial pellets, some fresh veggies and fruit, and occasional nuts or eggs, and lots of water. Because hamsters typically reproduce and mature so quickly, they need plenty of vitamins and minerals from their diet.
In particular, veggies that are high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C are a definite thumbs up.
Carrots contain about 4 mg of Vitamin C per 100 g of uncooked carrots. That’s quite a lot!
This is an important antioxidant that fights harmful diseases and keeps your furry friend happy and healthy.
Carrots are also a good source of Vitamin A, and carbohydrates and minerals like Calcium and Magnesium—all of which are important for hamster health.
Why Do Hamsters Like Carrots?
So do hamsters even like carrots? And how can you tell if your hamster likes carrots?
The good news is that many hamsters love carrots.
These sweet, crunchy vegetables can make an excellent treat.
However, not all hamsters will like the same food.
It is possible for you to own a hamster that loves carrots and a hamster that does not like them.
If your hamster does not like carrots, remove the carrots from her cage so that they do not get moldy.
Sometimes, a hamster will seem enthusiastic about a treat.
You might find that treat later, hoarded away.
If your hamster hoards carrots but does not eat them, he might not like carrots.
Are Carrots Bad For Hamsters?
In small quantities, carrots are not bad for hamsters. However, as with most hamster treats and foods, we recommend everything in moderation.
This is because that although vitamins and minerals are important for hamster growth and health, too much of a good thing can be dangerous.
For example, Calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth in a hamster, but too much can cause bladder stones, which are painful and can lead to more serious issues.
Similarly, too much Vitamin C can cause diarrhea in hamsters, which is unpleasant for both you and your hamster, and even lead to dehydration.
This can also be caused by too much wet or raw food, so it’s a good idea to limit the amount of carrot you feed him.
Are Carrots Good For Hamsters?
Vitamin A is very important for a healthy hamster. When a hamster doesn’t get enough Vitamin A, it can lead to hair loss and stomach ulcers. Vitamin A can also help your hamster utilize Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is also very important for hamsters. Just like people, hamsters cannot create this vitamin on their own, and therefore need to obtain it from an outside source.
If hamsters do not regularly consume Vitamin C, it can quickly lead to a health condition called scurvy. Symptoms of scurvy include a lack of energy, slow wound healing, loss of appetite, weight loss, and diarrhea.
Luckily, carrots provide a high amount of both vitamins.
Another really beneficial fact about carrots is that they are high in water content, and we already know that hamsters need lots of water!
A small amount of carrot will help keep your hamster hydrated and healthy.
Can Hamsters Eat Raw Carrots?
So we know that carrots are safe for your hamster, but can hamsters have carrots if they are uncooked?
The answer is yes, hamsters can eat raw carrots.
In fact, raw carrots have some benefits for hamsters.
Chewing on raw carrots helps keep their teeth worn down, and fresh vegetables contain healthy vitamins and minerals.
There are a few risks to feeding raw carrots that you should be aware of.
Raw carrots can spoil if your hamster does not eat them right away.
Feeding too many carrots can also upset your hamster’s stomach.
Offer your hamster a very small piece of raw carrot for the first time to see if your hamster likes carrots.
If your hamster enthusiastically nibbles the offering, you can feed your hamster another small piece of carrot the next day.
Can Hamsters Eat Carrot Tops?
Can hamsters have carrots that still have the green top attached? What about eating the carrot top on its own?
Many hamster care sites list carrots as a safe and healthy treat for hamsters.
However, little veterinary advice is written about carrot tops.
Hamster owners do seem to feed carrot tops to hamsters on a regular basis without any problems. This suggests it is probably safe to feed your hamsters a little bit of carrot top every once in a while.
Some owners want to feed their hamsters carrot tops because they don’t want the carrot top to go to waste.
You should not give an entire carrot top to your hamster.
This is too much food, and will most likely rot in your hamster’s cage.
Instead, feed a small amount of carrot tops to see if your hamster likes them. Some hamsters don’t find carrot tops as appealing as the carrots themselves.
Can Hamsters Eat Baby Carrots?
Baby carrots do not have a very different makeup compared to regular carrots. In fact, they contain only a tiny amount less nutrients than regular carrots.
For this reason, baby carrots are a safe and healthy treat for hamsters. They might even be easier to feed to your hamster without there being any waste or leftovers!
My Hamster Ate Carrots. What Should I Do?
As discussed, there is nothing harmful about your hamster eating a small amount of carrot on a regular basis.
However, if your little pet has managed to binge on a bag of baby carrots, or work her way through an entire table carrot, then you should be on the lookout for side effects.
The most likely outcome will be an upset stomach, bloating, or diarrhea. This should pass on its own.
You should make sure your hamster has access to clean drinking water and switch to dry food only until they are better and eating & toileting regularly again.
However, if you notice signs of wet tail as a result of chronic diarrhea, you should take your hamster to the vet immediately.
Can Carrots Treat Teeth Problems?
If your hamster is showing signs of dental problems, you might be considering if carrots will help. You might even be wondering can hamsters have carrots when they have teething issues at all.
Regular access to crunchy, chewy food is important for hamster teeth health.
A hamster’s teeth will continue to grow throughout his life, and if they don’t wear them down with regular chewing it can lead to serious problems and need veterinary care.
Once a hamster develops this issue, they will need to be trimmed by the vet. Unfortunately, they might need to be trimmed regularly from then on.
However, regular access to small amounts of foods like carrots and other crunchy vegetables can prevent the issue from happening in the first place.
Can Carrots Treat Hair Loss?
The best thing about our little furry friends is just that – their adorable furry bodies! So it can be disheartening and frightening if your hamster develops bald patches or starts to shed more than normal.
This can be caused by several things, including rubbing against his cage, mites, or vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
The only way to know for sure is to bring your hamster to the vet. If your hamster has mite infestation, they will need to be treated by a vet with anti-mite medicine.
If your hamster is suffering from a Vitamin A deficiency, giving them foods rich in Vitamin A, like carrots, can help get them back to normal. Vitamin A is important for hair growth and healthy cells.
However, it is still important that they get vet care first, in case they need additional medicines. We don’t recommend treating the condition yourself without veterinary advice.
Can Dwarf Hamsters Eat Carrots?
Hamster enthusiasts know that not all breeds of hamster are the same.
For example, can dwarf hamsters eat carrots?
Carrots are technically safe for dwarf hamsters to eat, however veterinarians caution hamster owners against feeding dwarf hamsters carrots.
Dwarf hamsters are tiny.
This makes it easy to accidentally overfeed your dwarf hamster.
Since carrots are high in sugar, feeding too many carrots can lead to obesity and diabetes.
Hamsters’ tendency to hoard food can make this worse.
If you want to feed your dwarf hamster treats like carrots, make sure the amount of treats you give is less than 10 percent of your hamster’s diet.
You may have to discard any treats that your hamster hoards to prevent spoilage and overeating.
Can Baby Hamsters Eat Carrots?
While it is true that adding some millet or wheat germ to your baby hamster’s diet is beneficial, it is best to leave the rest of the diet to the baby hamster’s mom at the beginning.
At 5 days old, they will have enough teeth growth to munch on small seeds, and this can help healthy teeth development.
Baby hamsters will nurse for about 3 weeks before needing solid foods, at which point you could add some broccoli or a similar dark veg.
Can Hamsters Have Carrots Every Day?
Hamsters hoard food, which means your hamster could be eating rotten carrots, which can cause digestive problems.
Plus, carrots are high in sugar, which can be especially problematic for dwarf hamsters.
All that sugar can lead to obesity, and feeding too much carrot could make your hamster sick.
So how much carrot can you feed to a hamster?
While it might be cute to watch your hamster chow down on a baby carrot or a carrot stick, think about how you would feel if you ate a carrot the size of your body.
You can offer small amounts of carrot to your hamster every few days.
Cut the carrot up into very small pieces, and make sure to check your hamster’s cage for leftovers to prevent your hamster from eating rotting vegetables.
A rule of thumb to follow for hamsters and all pets is to make sure that treats, even vegetables, only make up 10 percent or less of their diet.
If you feed a tablespoon of hamster food to your hamster each day, for instance, that means your hamster should only be eating a tenth of a tablespoon of other treats.
That’s not very much.
Hamster Carrots Treats
Here’s some suggestions on how to add carrots to your hamster’s diet:
- Complete hamster food with added small pieces of carrot
- Fresh chunks of carrot
- Shredded carrot mixed with other veggies such as broccoli or kale
Alternatives to Carrots
While carrots can be part of a hamster’s balanced diet in small quantities, there are plenty of other options out there if you are looking for a healthy treat.
We can happily conclude that the answer to “can hamsters eat carrots” is a big YES.
But we need to be careful about the quantities. Especially around tiny dwarf breeds of hamsters.
A tablespoon of small carrot pieces every day other will provide a tasty treat for your tiny pet.
What’s your hamster’s favorite treat? Have you given carrots to your hamster?
Why not let us know in the comments section below!
References and Further Reading
- RSPCA. “Hamsters.” 2019.
- Quesenberry KE. “Providing a Home for a Hamster.” Merck Veterinary Manual.
- Brown S. “Hamsters.” The Small Mammals Health Series. 2017.
- Jones D. “How to Feed Baby Hamsters.” Popular Critters Series: Hamsters. 2018.
- PetMD. “Hair Loss in Hamsters.” 2019.
- Pavia A. “Common Hamster Health Issues.” Pet Central. 2018.
- Rabyn RC. “Are Baby Carrots as Healthful as Other Carrots?” NY Times Well Blog. 2017.
- Sheffield FW, Beveridge E. “Prophylaxis of ‘Wet-Tail’ in Hamsters.” Nature. 1962.
- NetVet. “Diarrhoea in Hamsters.” 2019.
- National Institutes of Health. “Calcium: Fact Sheet for Consumers.” 2019.
- People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. “The ideal diet for your hamster.” 2019.
- Sharma KD et al. “Chemical composition, functional properties and processing of carrot—a review.” J Food Sci Technol. 2012.
- Clausen DF, Clarke WG. “Vitamin C Requirements of the Syrian Hamster.” Nature. 1943.
- National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on Laboratory Animal Nutrition. “Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster.” National Academies Press. 1995.