Can hamsters eat strawberries? Are they safe for your furry friend, bad for her, or even good for her? Let’s find out!
We’re always told that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is a big part of maintaining a healthy diet for people.
But is this the same for our pet hamsters?
Specifically, are strawberries safe and actively good for hamsters?
Strawberries are popular for their bright red color and juicy, sweet flavor, which could tempt many people into giving the fruit to their pets!
They are a great source of vitamin C and contain lots of antioxidants, which means they are thought to be good at combating heart disease, cancer and inflammation in humans.
However, whilst strawberries may be a healthy, beneficial part of our diet, we need to find out whether they have the same positive effects on our hamsters.
In small quantities, they are safe for you to feed your hamster. However, because of their high sugar and water content, too much is a bad idea. Read on to find out why.
Are Strawberries Safe For Hamsters?
Strawberries are safe to feed your hamster, but with a major proviso.
They need to be given in small doses and introduced to your hamster’s diet gradually, to avoid upsetting their digestive system.
Like many other fruits and vegetables, strawberries can be part of a healthy, balanced diet for your hamster.
However, strawberries can become unsafe for your hamster if they are used as a supplement for other vital nutrients that your pet needs in his diet.
Your hamster’s normal mixed grain should contain all of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. So it is important to keep providing your hamster with this instead of just a variety of fruits and vegetables.
If you aren’t sure whether your hamster is getting a fully balanced diet, check with your vet so that you can achieve this before introducing any new fruits or vegetables.
Let’s look at strawberries for hamsters in more detail.
Hamsters and Strawberries
A natural, healthy diet for a hamster includes commercial pellets, some fresh veggies and fruit, and occasional nuts or eggs, and lots of water. They need plenty of vitamins and minerals from their diet, and thrive best on a high carbohydrate regimen.
Like humans and other mammals, hamsters need adequate amounts of Vitamin C, protein, as well as small amounts of calcium, Vitamin A, and potassium.
Strawberries are a juicy, vibrant, sweet fruit with a soft, fleshy texture and delicious aroma.
It’s no wonder these berries are so popular with people and pets alike!
Not only is this fruit delicious, but it is jam packed with important nutrients.
Strawberries are very high in Vitamin C. This vitamin is important for healthy eyes, heart, and overall function, and even helps to repair damaged cells.
Strawberries also have a high carbohydrate content, which sounds great for your hamster’s diet, but may not be so. Importantly, the high carbohydrate content in strawberries is mainly sugar, and as we’ll learn below, sugar is not always the best source of calories for your furry friend.
But first, let’s look at whether or not hamsters even like strawberries!
Do Hamsters Like Strawberries?
Whilst we have determined that strawberries are safe for your hamster to eat and could even be good for their health, this does not mean that your hamster will automatically love strawberries.
Just like humans, different animals like different foods, and if your hamster doesn’t like strawberries, you don’t need to panic!
Strawberries are not an essential part of a hamster’s diet, so if your hamster does not like them, you can just stick to other foods that it does like. You shouldn’t try and force this new food on your little pet.
Whilst it is important to make sure your hamster gets a balanced diet, there are many different ways to achieve this.
Hamster treats designed especially for hamsters are very enjoyable, healthy in moderation. And won’t have the potential to rot in her home! You can even get strawberry flavored ones.
Your vet can also advise you on different ways, and different substitutes to strawberries that can also have good effects on your hamster.
Are Strawberries Bad For Hamsters?
So now we know that strawberries can be good for the health of our hamsters, but are there any cases in which strawberries can be bad for hamsters?
Like any other fruit, strawberries must be given to your hamster in moderation. Especially if you’re only just starting to introduce it to your pet’s diet.
Giving your hamster too much of any fruit, including strawberries, can lead to problems like diarrhea. If your hamster experiences this you should cut out the new addition to its diet and may need to consult your vet.
Also, hamsters — especially dwarf hamsters — can suffer from diabetes. This means that feeding them sugary fruits should be a relatively rare treat, to ensure your hamster stays in top shape.
Strawberries will always need to be washed before you give them to your hamster, this is to get rid of any pesticides or chemicals that could be harmful to your little pet.
Additionally, due to hamsters’ tendencies to store their food, you need to be especially alert when giving your hamsters fresh fruits. As storing these items can quickly lead to mold in your hamster’s home.
The best way to give them a tiny bit is while you are handling them. Make sure they have emptied their pouches and eaten it all before you pop them back to bed. Then check their bed a couple of hours later to make sure you haven’t missed any.
Are Strawberries Good For Hamsters?
Strawberries are certainly safe for your hamster in small amounts, but are strawberries actively good for your hamster?
In some studies, strawberries have been associated with the inhibition of oral cancer and tumor development in hamster cheek pouches. As the fruit suppresses cell proliferation and the development of new blood cells (angiogenesis).
Another study has suggested that moderate consumption of strawberries (and other berries) juices can aid prevention of the early development of atherosclerosis in hamsters. A disease in which fatty material builds up inside arteries, as well as improving neuronal function and behavior.
These studies suggest that strawberries can be actively good for our hamsters! And can potentially help with preventing certain diseases.
Of course, eating strawberries doesn’t guarantee your hamster will never suffer from these and other diseases. Which means it is still important to have regular check ups with your vet, especially if something seems wrong.
And, as said earlier in the article, strawberries are only good for your hamster in small, controlled doses.
Can Hamsters Eat Unwashed Strawberries?
If you’re wondering can hamsters have strawberries straight out of the grocery store, the answer is both yes and no. This will depend on where and what type of strawberries you have bought, or if you’ve grown them yourself.
This is important because most conventionally grown strawberries are grown with some kind of pesticide. Pesticides can be harmful to your hamster’s digestion and even affect their immune system.
For this reason, it is not a good idea to offer your hamster unwashed strawberries.
However, most organic strawberries will be fine, although it’s still important to give them a quick wipe or rinse to remove any debris or dirt.
Can Hamsters Eat Dried Strawberries?
While it’s true that natural dried strawberries don’t contain anything but the fruit itself, don’t be fooled into thinking these are a healthy treat for your hamster.
So, can hamsters have strawberries when they’ve been dehydrated?
Dried strawberries are much higher in sugar than fresh strawberries. They are also extremely high in calories.
Because hamsters tend to be greedy eaters, it’s not a good idea to offer them such a high-sugar snack. They are at risk of developing diabetes and obesity.
My Hamster Ate Strawberries. What Should I Do?
If you’re hamster has eaten a small amount of strawberry, then don’t panic. We have established that an occasional piece of strawberry will not be harmful for a hamster.
However, if you notice diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or any other worrying signs, you should stop feeding him strawberries straight away, and consult your vet.
You should also check your hamster’s cage for any leftover pieces of strawberry. Hamsters are hoarders, so you want to make sure there is no rotting food in their cage. And more importantly, if they have had a bad reaction to strawberries, you want to ensure they don’t eat anymore.
Can Strawberries Treat Wet Tail?
Wet tail is a very contagious and dangerous ailment that is common among young hamsters. It can be caused by issues such as diarrhea, poor grooming, or poor appetite.
While it is true that wet tail can be as a result of dietary problems, there is no evidence to suggest that strawberries or any other fruits or vegetables can cure wet tail.
On the contrary, giving your hamster more strawberries may even increase the likelihood of diarrhea that can lead to wet tail.
If you notice signs of wet tail, you should take your hamster to the vet immediately.
Can Strawberries Treat Cancer?
Strawberries, as well as being a delicious snack, are also powerful antioxidants. This is because they contain high amounts of phenolic acids and flavonoids.
This means that strawberries, along with other berries such as blueberries and blackberries, are functional foods. A functional food is a food that has an actively beneficial effect on the body.
In this case, naringin and naringenin, two types of flavonoids found in berries, are such powerful antioxidants that they can actually prevent cancer.
What’s more there is even evidence to suggest that these chemicals can prevent cancer in hamsters.
However, there is no evidence to support the theory that strawberries can actually cure cancer in a hamster who is already ill. If your hamster has been diagnosed with cancer, you should follow your vet’s recommended treatments.
Can Strawberries Treat Constipation?
We mentioned above that too many strawberries can give your hamster an upset stomach and even diarrhea. So you might be wondering, can hamsters have strawberries in order to cure constipation.
The answer in short is yes, some small amounts of fresh fruit or veg and plenty of water can do wonders for this uncomfortable condition.
You should also consider adding some alfalfa to your hamster’s diet, as alfalfa has been known to help treat constipation.
However, if your hamster’s condition does not appear to improve, you should bring her to the vet straight away. Constipation can be a symptom of some serious issues including intestinal parasites such as tapeworms, intestinal blockage, or the folding of the intestines.
Can Baby Hamsters Eat Strawberries?
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 momma hamster at the beginning of their development.
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.
Keep the strawberries out of their food until they are eating a full, balanced diet.
Can Dwarf Hamsters Eat Strawberries?
If you’re wondering can dwarf hamsters eat strawberries, it’s probably because you know dwarf hamsters are a lot smaller than syrian hamsters, meaning that they don’t require as much food.
Also, dwarf hamsters are prone to diabetes, which means you need to be really careful not to overfeed them.
Strawberries don’t contain as much sugar as some other fruits, but they may not be the best choice for your dwarf hamster as a snack.
To reduce the risk of diabetes, you can check with your vet to confirm the healthiest snacks to give your dwarf hamster.
If you do decide to give your dwarf hamster strawberries as an occasional treat, make sure it’s in small amounts, and monitor your pet for any signs of a change in health.
Can Syrian Hamsters Eat Strawberries?
So we know about all the risks and benefits of strawberries, and now we want to know, can teddy bear hamsters eat strawberries? Syrian hamsters, aka teddy bear hamsters, can eat strawberries as part of a balanced diet, but we still need to be careful that they aren’t consuming too much.
Syrian hamsters are bigger than dwarf hamsters, so they are able to eat more, but this extra food should first come from your hamster’s normal food, rather than from fruity treats.
If you decide to give your syrian hamster strawberries, you should monitor its health as you introduce the fruit, to make sure that it is not eating too much.
If you aren’t sure about how much to feed your syrian hamster, your vet will be able to advise you.
Can Hamsters Eat Strawberries Every Day?
Strawberries are a healthy addition to a balanced hamster diet, but can hamsters have strawberries every day?
Because strawberries are high in sugar, all that sugar can lead to obesity, and feeding too much strawberry could make your hamster sick.
For that reason, you can offer small amounts of strawberry to your hamster every few days.
Cut the strawberry up into small pieces, and make sure to check your hamster’s cage for leftovers to prevent your hamster from eating rotting fruit.
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.
Hamster Strawberry Treats
There are plenty of fun ways to add some strawberry to your hamster’s diet. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Tiny piece of dried strawberry (seldomly)
- Small pieces of strawberry added to pellet food
- Fresh chunks of strawberry
- Treats flavoured with natural strawberry extract
Alternatives to Strawberries
While strawberries 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.
- Small pieces of boiled egg
Can Hamsters Eat Strawberries Summary
Strawberries are a perfectly healthy, safe snack for hamsters and can be a good part of their balanced diet.
Many hamsters will love these tasty treats, but you should always control the amount that they are eating. Especially for dwarf hamsters.
Give them the fruit after they have eaten their normal food, so that they get all of the nutrients they need from their main meal.
Make sure your hamster doesn’t store the fruit, as it will quickly rot and become unhealthy.
However, if your hamster does not like strawberries, you don’t need to panic. You can experiment with many of the other fruits and vegetables that are safe for hamsters until you find something your pet likes more!
Are strawberries a part of your hamster’s diet? Tell us what your pets think of strawberries below!
References and Further Reading
- Zhu X, et al. “Lyophilized strawberries prevent 7, 12-dimethylbenz[α]anthracene (DMBA)-induced oral squamous cell carcinogenesis in hamsters.” Journal of Functional Foods. 2015.
- Rouanet JX, et al. “Berry juices, teas, antioxidants and the prevention of atherosclerosis in hamsters.” Food Chemistry. 2010.
- Casto BC, et al. “Chemoprevention of Oral Cancer by Lyophilized Strawberries.” Anticancer Research. 2013.
- Komaroff A. “Is eating dried fruit healthy?” Harvard Health Publishing. 2016.
- Ontario Hamster Club. “Safe and Unsafe Foods.” 2019.
- PetMD. “Constipation in Hamsters.” 2019.
- Clausen DF, Clarke WG. “Vitamin C Requirements of the Syrian Hamster.” Nature. 1943.
- PDSA. “The ideal diet for your hamster.” 2019.
- Brown S. “Hamsters.” The Small Mammals Health Series. 2017.
- Sheffield FW, Beveridge E. “Prophylaxis of ‘Wet-Tail’ in Hamsters.” Nature. 1962.
- NetVet. “Diarrhoea in Hamsters.” 2019.
- Pavia A. “Common Hamster Health Issues.” Pet Central. 2018.