Welcome to our complete guide to hamsters and grapes, where we answer that all-important question, “Can hamsters eat grapes?”
So, can hamsters have grapes? Grapes are toxic to many other common pets, including dogs, cats, and rats, however, hamsters can safely eat grapes in small quantities.
A piece of a grape now and then can be a healthy treat for your furry friend. But too much grape can cause upset stomach and diarrhea in hamsters, so it is a treat best used in moderation.
In this article, we take a closer look at how best to serve grapes to your hamsters and when grapes can be beneficial and when they may be harmful to your pet.
Are Grapes Safe For Hamsters?
Let’s take a look at grapes for hamsters in more detail. “Can hamsters have grapes?” is a question that many small animal owners often ask.
Grapes are a fruit and are technically considered a berry. They are full of antioxidants and other important vitamins and minerals.
This fruit is high in potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It is also a great source of vitamin K.
Grapes are a distinctive no-no when it comes to dogs and cats, so many people think they are just not safe for all animals.
The good news is that hamsters can safely eat grapes.
The only caveat is that any animal can be allergic to certain foods. And like humans, they may not tolerate certain fruits and vegetables even if it is safe for them to eat.
Whenever you do introduce a new food into your pet’s diet, always start with a very small amount and wait a few days to see if there is any reaction. And it is always wise to ask your vet if grapes are an acceptable food to feed your hamster.
Hamsters And Grapes
Can hamsters have grapes? Yes, they can.
But should they eat grapes, is another topic entirely. Hamsters are omnivores, which means they eat fruits and vegetables as well as protein.
They are tiny creatures that only need to eat about 12 milligrams of food per day. With such minimal quantities, it is easy for you to overfeed a hamster with treats, even healthy ones.
Hamsters should eat a combination of pellets and some fresh vegetables in their daily diet. Pellets consist of 15% to 20% protein, and when served with a teaspoon of fresh vegetables, your hamster will get all the essential nutrients they need. Hay is also a good addition to their diet as it provides additional fiber to assist with digestion.
Hamsters And Fruit
But while a daily dose of vegetables and hay is healthy for your fluffy little friend, a daily dose of fruit is not. Fruit is high in sugar and high sugar diets are bad for hamsters much in the way they are for humans.
High sugar and high-fat diets are bad for hamsters and have been found to cause health issues like fatty liver and diabetes. So what does this mean for hamsters and grapes?
Hamsters can eat a small portion of grape, but not regularly. It is recommended to serve a teaspoon of fresh fruit to your hamster only twice a week.
Grapes do contain some nutrients that hamsters need:
- Vitamin K is necessary for proper blood clotting.
- Vitamin C is important for a healthy immune system.
- Phosphorus and calcium are both vital minerals for maintaining healthy bones.
- Grapes also contain some fiber than can help with digestion.
While grapes do have properties that hamsters need in their diet, keep in mind that your hamster’s pellets and daily veggies should be meeting all of their nutritional requirements. Grapes are a tasty treat that they can enjoy on occasion but are not essential to your hamster’s diet.
Why Do Hamsters Like Grapes?
Your hamster may enjoy grapes because of their sweetness, just remember that too much sugar is not good for their health in the long term.
Are Grapes Bad For Hamsters?
Even though grapes are safe for hamsters, too many grapes can cause digestive issues and lead to diarrhea.
As a high-sugar fruit, feeding your hamster grapes too often can also cause unhealthy weight gain and several related health issues.
A lot of sugary foods have a similar effect on hamsters as they do on us. Studies have found that too much sugar can lead to diabetes in hamsters.
So it is best to keep the portion small and stick to only serving your hamster a teaspoon of fruit twice a week.
Problems To Look Out For When Feeding Hamsters Grapes
An entire grape is too big of a treat for a hamster to have all at once. Serve your hamster a small cube or two of grape instead and remember the advised teaspoon of fruit twice a week when thinking of serving size.
Whenever you try out new food on your pet you should give just a tiny portion in case of an adverse reaction. If grapes do not agree with your hamster, here are some signs to look out for:
- A behavior called pica is common. It helps to soothe the stomach. This behavior is most often noted in rats, but you may see your hamster chewing on a bit of their bedding material if the grape does not agree with them.
- You should also look to see if your hamster develops diarrhea.
- Loose stool is one distinctive sign that grapes may be a bit bothersome to your hamster’s digestive system.
- You also may notice a lack of appetite and a bit of lethargy.
If these symptoms do not pass quickly or if diarrhea lasts for longer than a day, then take your furry friend to the veterinarian. Dehydration is a serious issue if diarrhea continues.
Are Grapes Good For Hamsters?
If not, why not?
If yes, what exactly is in the food that is beneficial to Hamsters.
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Health Benefits of Grapes For Hamsters?
Grapes can be a good fruit to feed your hamster once or twice a week in tiny portions. It does contain some essential nutrients for hamsters.
But it is all about quantity. Your hamster does not specifically need grapes, but whatever fruit you choose to include in their diet, keep it in moderation.
Can Chinese Dwarf Hamsters Eat Grapes?
The answer to, “Can Chinese dwarf hamsters eat grapes?” is a little more complicated than that of the typical hamster.
As discussed, grapes should be an infrequent food for hamsters even though they will probably love this fruit because they contain a great deal of sugar.
Grapes come in only behind figs as the fruit with the most sugar. Surprisingly, a cup of grapes contains about 15 grams of it. This is the same amount of sugar in about one-half a can of soda.
An abundance of sugar is not good for rodents, and it is not good for any pet for that matter.
Sugar is especially bad if you have a Chinese dwarf hamster because they have a greater than 85% chance of developing diabetes. These type of hamsters are even used to study diabetes to help researchers understand how the disease develops, progresses, and how it can be prevented.
If you have a dwarf Chinese hamster, then it is best to only give your pet a tiny piece of grape about once or twice a month at most. Consider a one-eighth piece of grape, like whenever you started providing a new food.
Campbell’s hamsters, as well as white dwarf hamsters, are likely to develop diabetes as well, but Chinese hamsters are the most at risk.
Can Syrian Hamsters Eat Grapes?
On the other hand, Syrian and Roborovski hamsters are not prone to diabetes, so you are a bit safer with these types of hamsters when it comes to grape treats.
If you are unsure about the type of hamster you have, your veterinarian can help you identify it so you can know if diabetes is a concern.
Can Hamsters Eat Grapes With Seeds?
You can choose between both red and green grapes but opt for the seedless varieties. Seeds are a choking hazard, so they should always be avoided.
Additionally, grapes should not be served whole, even if they are seedless, so be sure to cut the grape into small pieces before serving any to your hamster.
Can Hamsters Eat Grape Peel?
Grape peels are not harmful to hamsters but removing the peel reduces the risk of exposing your hamster to pesticides. It also makes it easier for your hamster to enjoy.
There is a very easy way to peel grapes so you do not have to struggle with them.
Simply dip your grape in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds. Drop it in ice-cold water afterward, and then slip the peel off easily with your fingers.
Cut the grape into pieces when you are done and give one to your hamster. Voila, a treat fit for your hamster friend.
My Hamster Ate Grapes With Seeds, What Should I Do?
There is no evidence to suggest that grape seeds are poisonous, but they are a choking hazard. If your hamster accidentally ingests a grape seed contact your veterinarian. Your hamster may need medical intervention.
Can Grapes Treat Vitamin C Deficiency In Hamsters?
Hamsters are prone to vitamin C deficiencies and they can develop a serious condition called scurvy if they are lacking the nutrient. The added vitamin C from fruits like grapes can help to reduce this painful condition.
Of course, if you suspect that your hamster has this deficiency check with your veterinarian first, for the best course of action.
Can Baby Hamsters Eat Grapes?
In the beginning, baby hamsters get all their nutrients from their mothers. As they start to ween at about 10 to 14 days, it is recommended to give them pellets, wheat germ cereal, or millet.
New foods are slowly introduced as baby hamsters ween, but the food must be small, soft, and easy to eat to prevent choking or other digestive issues.
After about 2 weeks of age, the baby hamsters can nibble a bit of what mama eats. And by 4 weeks they can eat a regular hamster diet, including little pieces of grape.
Can Hamsters Eat Grapes Every Day?
As previously mentioned, fruit is not a recommended daily additive to your hamster’s diet. Grapes and other fruits are high in sugar and best eaten only once or twice a week.
A teaspoon of fruit two times a week should meet your hamster’s dietary needs and keep their sugar level and body weight in check.
How Can You Start To Feed Your Hamster Grapes?
So we have answered the question, can hamsters eat grapes. But what is the best way to feed them safely?
When you start adding grapes to your hamster’s diet, start with one-eighth of a grape to begin. This will let you see if your hamster has any ill effects from the fruit, or if it will become your pet’s new favorite food.
Grapes, like other fruits, should be an occasional treat for your hamster. And they should be alternated with other fruits, like apples, pears, and bananas.
Give them a peeled, seedless piece of grape to snack on. And remember to cut the grape in quarters to keep the portion manageable.
Alternatives To Grapes For Hamsters
If your hamster enjoys grapes, they might like one of these fruity treats as well!
Can Hamsters Eat Grapes? Summary:
So, can hamsters have grapes? Hamsters can eat some fruits and vegetables, and yes, grapes can make a wonderful treat for your furry friend.
However, they are best avoided if you have a Dwarf Chinese hamster, as they are highly susceptible to diabetes.
For other species of hamster, you just need to ensure that you only give your pet a small piece of a grape now and then. Too much sugary grape snacks can cause diarrhea in the short term and weight gain and diabetes in the long term.
And when serving grapes, remember to remove the skin and seed before feeding your furry friend.
Of course, it is always wise to check with your animal doctor before starting your hamster on a new food, so do not start peeling and cutting the grapes just yet. Perhaps, give your vet a call first.
What about you? Do you have a hamster who loves shoving grape pieces in their cheeks, or do you have a pet with diabetes?
Have you given grapes to your Hamster? You can let us know about your experiences with hamsters and grapes in the comments below.
References And Further Reading
- Dalbøge, L. S., et al. 2015. “A Hamster Model of Diet-Induced Obesity for Preclinical Evaluation of Anti-Obesity, Anti-Diabetic and Lipid Modulating Agents.” PLoS ONE.
- Eubig, P. A., et al. 2005. “Acute renal failure in dogs after the ingestion of grapes or raisins: a retrospective evaluation of 43 dogs (1992-2002).” Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
- Gerritsen, G. C. 1982. “The Chinese Hamster as a Model for the Study of Diabetes Mellitus.” Diabetes
- Horn, C. C., et al. 2013. “Why Can’t Rodents Vomit? A Comparative Behavioral, Anatomical, and Physiological Study.” PLoS ONE.
- PDSA. Accessed 2019. “Your hamster’s diet.”
- Ware, M. 2017. “What are the health benefits of grapes?.” Medical News Today.
We have extensively revised and updated this article for 2019.