If you have a hamster at home who’s fond of snacks, you may wonder: can hamsters eat cheese?
Today we’ll find out if cheese is safe for hamsters, and if so, how much and how often.
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Can hamsters have cheese?
Cheese is usually synonymous with mice.
In cartoons, mice are always chasing that sweet, sweet cheese, as if it’s the most heavenly food in existence.
There’s even have a cheese store near my home called the “Mouse House.”
But do hamsters like cheese, and is cheese safe for them?
Can hamsters eat cheese?
Cheese for hamsters can be a safe and tasty treat.
BUT, it’s important to only only feed hamsters cheese sparingly and very occasionally.
Is cheese for hamsters a good idea?
Out in the wild hamsters eat plants, seeds, fruit and even worms!
Because hamsters are omnivores, they appreciate animal fat and protein as part of their diet, which is sometimes missing from commercial hamster cereals and pellet foods.
About 16% of your hamster’s diet should be crude protein.
Pregnant and nursing females benefit from even more – 24% crude protein in their diet is about right.
And cheese can be a great source of protein.
Can hamsters eat cheese every day?
Cheese can be a safe snack for hamsters, but hamster diet sheets don’t tend to recommend it.
That’s because cheese is also highly calorific.
So alternate giving your hamster cheese with other protein sources such as boiled egg and mealworms from the pet store.
And remember that hamster portions are truly tiny – a couple of pieces of cheese each the size of a raisin is plenty!
How can I feed my hamster cheese?
It’s up to you whether you simply include cheese in your hamster’s regular meals or make them the reward at the end of a fun game.
Hiding little morsels of cheese in a paper bag or cardboard box will create the added element of having to gnaw their way to it.
As with all perishable foods, be sure check their cage after a few hours for stashed leftovers which have gone stale.
Can dwarf hamsters eat cheese?
Is cheese safe for all types of hamster? Can Syrian hamsters eat cheese too?
The answer is also yes.
Dwarf hamsters are so active that they have the same calorie needs as Syrian hamsters, despite being smaller.
But they can all enjoy a bit of cheese.
Do hamsters like cheese?
Ok, so the answer to “can hamsters eat cheese?” is yes.
But will they even like it?
As with any pet, or person for that matter, whether your hamster likes cheese will be a matter of individual taste.
It’s a simple matter of giving them different treats and seeing what they eat and don’t eat.
Always add new foods to your hamster’s diet gradually, to avoid causing stomach upset.
Give a very small amount of a new treat with their regular food at first, trying a new one for a few days.
If you notice any signs of reduced food or fluid intake after trying cheese, contact your vet for advice.
Can hamsters eat cheese puffs?
If hamsters can eat cheese, it’s not a far stretch to wonder if they can eat cheese puffs, too.
Cheese puffs certainly don’t pop up on approved treats lists for hamsters.
In fact, all junk food is a big no no.
If you look at the nutritional information on cheese puffs you’ll notice they only have trace amounts of protein but very high levels of sodium.
In fact your typical cheese puff has half as much protein and twice as much sodium as the equivalent amount of cheddar cheese.
Sodium has no place in a hamster’s diet, and they don’t seem to enjoy salty tastes either, there’s really nothing to be gained from giving your hamster cheese puffs.
If someone in your house does give your hamster a cheese puff, keep an eye out for any signs reduced food or water intake, and if in doubt, consult your vet.
Can hamsters eat cheese chews?
If your hamster’s hooked on cheese, you might have noticed hamster cheese chews for sale.
Ecotrition make chewing blocks for hamsters which look like slices of cheese and contain real cheese.
Another cheese for hamsters product – also from Ecotition – are Cheese Flavor Yogies*, a cheese-flavored yogurt treat.
These are both great occasional treats for your hamster.
The final verdict: can hamsters eat cheese?
Since hamsters would consume animal protein out in the wild, they can, in fact, eat cheese.
Cheese shouldn’t make up the bulk of their diet, but it is an acceptable treat.
So feel free to give small bits of cheese as a snack, along with a complete commercial diet, and small portions of fruit and vegetables.
Just don’t feed your hamster junk food cheese snacks, like cheese puffs.
Do you have a favorite cheese snack you like to give your hamster?
Tell us if they go crazy for cheddar or potty for parmesan in the in the comments section below!
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ASPCA “Hamster Care”
PDSA, “Your hamster’s diet”
RSPCA, “A Healthy Diet for Hamsters”