Being a hamster owner is quite interesting. While walking around the store, or even your yard, you constantly ask yourself: Would my hamster eat this? Would my hamster eat that?
Plants, fruits, and vegetables, it seems that they could try it all! But it is crucial to figure out what’s good for them and what’s not. We’ve decided to take a look at a flower that you can’t avoid running into whenever you step outside – dandelions.
So, can hamsters eat dandelions?
The straight one would be YES; hamsters can eat the flower. But as always, we also have a more complicated answer. And if you’re not careful, they could have some serious problems with this tasty treat.
So, how about we take a deep dive into your hamster’s diet and figure out exactly what makes a specific food healthy or unhealthy. Knowing this might help you decide on a healthier food choice for your pet in the future!
Can Hamsters Eat Dandelions?
So, as we already mentioned, yes, hamsters can eat dandelions. Not only can they eat the stuff, but they also love it!
Sure, maybe we humans wouldn’t get a kick from munching on the flower, but our pet hamsters go crazy over it. And it’s not just the flower that is the tastiest part, either. They love the leaves and the stems, as well.
But which part should you give your hamster first, and even more importantly, is every part of the flower good for them?
Well, luckily, every part of a dandelion is in some way healthy for your hamster – but there are some guidelines that you need to follow so your pet stays as healthy as possible.
We don’t want to cause panic among hamster owners, but overeating on certain parts of the flower could cause some serious problems for your hamster.
But let’s focus on the positive sides of the flower for now.
For instance, they have a lot of vitamins and other nutrients in them. Vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin A can all be found in this natural treat. Not only that, there’s some iron and calcium as well, though this is where the problems tend to start.
While calcium can be really beneficial for your hamster, too much of it could cause bladder and urinary tract problems.
Most of the calcium is in the green part of the dandelions, anyway, so you might want to give your pet more blossoms than leaves. There is obviously a limit to the latter, as well, but we’ll get back into that in a moment.
So, in case you caught your hamster eating some flowers in the garden, don’t worry, it’ll be just fine! Though if you find that it’s keeping a stash of dandelions somewhere, you might want to have a serious talk about its hoarding habits.
All jokes aside, these greens are a healthy treat in general – even with the limitations.
But, if you know anything about hamsters, you know that they can’t eat too much of anything. Those tiny bodies mean that they have smaller digestive tracts, so it’s pretty easy for them to overeat.
How Much Is Too Much?
Alright, so enough of beating around the bush. How much dandelion is too much? After all, the important thing is to keep your pet healthy.
Here’s the deal, the most we would suggest you give your hamster – as far as dandelions go – is a couple of snacks two to three times a week.
Now, a couple of snacks can mean a lot of things, depending on what kind of diet your hamster is used to eating. One flower should do the trick, though splitting it up into smaller chunks could be great fun for your little friend.
Again, you might want to stick with the blossom, especially if your hamster is not used to fresh foods.
If that’s the case, you might want to give them half a flower to see if there are any kinds of harmful reactions. Keep an eye out for about 12 hours after giving them the dandelion, and if there are no side effects whatsoever, you can go ahead and give them more.
Watch out for any signs of a tummy ache, and keep a close eye on the runs.
Keep in mind that experts don’t recommend picking dandelions from your front yard or the streets to feed your hamster. There’s a great chance that they are contaminated with pesticides or other toxic substances.
Please don’t feed your pets picked-up dandelions unless you’re absolutely sure that they are safe.
Just remember the recommendations that we are giving you right now are meant for adult hamsters, not babies. When it comes to the young ones, you’ll want to skip dandelions altogether.
Sure, the flower may not be poisonous for them at a young age, but their digestive tracts won’t be up to par with it. Also, all that calcium, especially in the leaves, will have an even more pronounced effect on their baby bodies.
To conclude this chapter, here’s a chart on how much dandelion is okay for your pet hamster.
|Young hamster or baby hamster||None|
|Adult hamster||One large dandelion or two small dandelions once in a while|
Eating Too Much Dandelions: The What Ifs
So, your pet hamster ate more than the recommended amount of dandelions. What now?
Well, there’s no need for panicking. Besides a tummy ache, they’re most likely going to be okay. However, if your hamster tends to overeat dandelions and does it frequently, well, that can be dangerous.
Here are some potential health risks of eating too many dandelions.
Let’s start with the most obvious one. Hamsters aren’t really famous for having self-control when it comes to foods that they like. That’s why we need to portion their treats carefully, or they’re going to overeat.
Too much of anything can’t be good! Especially if it’s more of a treat than a proper meal.
Obesity in any animal isn’t a joke; that goes for hamsters too. Obese hamsters tend to be lethargic and prone to depression. Even more so, obesity is a gateway to other numerous problems, such as diabetes, heart problems, and in general – a shorter life span.
As mentioned before, your pet can have a stomach ache if they consume too many dandelions. Although dandelions can do wonders for your pet’s wellbeing, they shouldn’t make up the majority of their diet.
An imbalanced diet can lead to some health-related issues, and some of them are diarrhea and constipation.
If your hamster eats too many fresh plants, that can lead to diarrhea. Just like in humans, diarrhea is very unpleasant. Plus, it can make your pet hamster dehydrated.
Instead of overfeeding them with dandelions, give your pet some high-quality hamster food.
Bladder And Kidney Stones
Believe it or not – hamsters are also susceptible to the formation of bladder and kidney stones or stones within their urinary tract. The good news is:
The flower itself is safe! Calcium, which is the main culprit in forming the stones, is primarily located in the leaves and stems of dandelions.
Bladder and kidney stones are very painful. If not treated regularly or on time, they can even be fatal.
To avoid those types of health issues with your pet, make sure to give them fewer greens and more of the blossoms.
If you give your hamster a big chunk of a dandelion flower, you should keep an eye on the little fella while it eats. Hamsters can easily choke on certain foods, and dandelion chunks are on the list.
It’s best to chop the flower up before serving to avoid these dangerous situations.
The Good & The Bad Treats
Dandelions are definitely safe for hamster consumption. However, what other flowers or treats can you give to your furry friend? Or, more importantly, what flowers and herbs should you never give to them?
Let’s dig deeper into this topic!
Even though they’re small and seem fragile, hamsters can eat a variety of food! Luckily, the list of what hamsters can eat is much longer than what they aren’t supposed to.
Here are some hamster-friendly treats that are going to spice up their diets.
For starters, chamomile flowers are a great floral treat for your tiny friend. You can give them fresh or dried chamomile flowers, and they will most definitely enjoy it.
Best of all, chamomile is great for treating diabetes and lowering blood sugar. Just remember that you shouldn’t overfeed your hamster.
This orange snack is not reserved only for bunnies; they’re a great treat for hamsters, too! Carrots are loaded with numerous vitamins and beta-carotene.
They can help regulate diabetes, and they can boost the immune system. Plus – they’re crunchy and tasty!
These furry pocket animals love to chew on carrots. However, because hamsters are by nature hoarders, you need to watch out not to give them too much. Just like in dandelions, too many carrots can lead to obesity.
As the above-mentioned treats, grapes are a safe and yummy option for pet herbivores. Grapes are pretty high in vitamin C, which is excellent for scurvy prevention.
Scurvy is a disease that usually occurs in guinea pigs and hamsters, and it’s caused by a lack of vitamin C.
Although grapes are healthy for hamsters, grape seeds are a choking hazard. To avoid any unnecessary vet visits, we recommend choosing the seedless variants.
Also, grape skin is not toxic for hamsters – but make sure that they’re organic. Nowadays, most stores sell grapes sprayed with pesticides, so watch out!
Although as we mentioned before, most veggies and fruits are safe for hamsters. However, when spicing up your herbivore’s diet, you need to keep in mind that some treats can potentially harm them.
Some things are toxic to hamsters – so, better be safe than sorry.
Garlic And Onions
We humans can hardly imagine a cooked meal without garlic or onions. However, you should never give your hamster these flavorful veggies.
For starters, onions are too acidic for hamster consumption. Besides that, both garlic and onion contain a substance named thiosulfate. It isn’t significant for human consumption, but it can affect the red blood cells of your pet.
The hamsters’ digestive system isn’t equipped to handle thiosulfate, so they can’t digest it properly.
Later on, that can cause big problems. The substance can build up in the body, eventually causing red blood cells to rupture. That’s why thiosulfate can be fatal for hamsters – and why you should avoid all types of onions in regards to your hamster’s diet.
Besides containing n-propyl disulfide, garlic and onions aren’t recommended because of their spiciness. That’s the main reason why hot peppers are a big “No” for hamster consumption.
However, sweet peppers are on the safe list when given in moderation.
Although this juicy fruit – or vegetable, depending on who you ask – isn’t spicy, it still isn’t suitable for your pet hamster.
Tomatoes are too acidic for hamsters. Plus, they are filled with water and fiber, which sounds good but: Eating too much can lead to stomach issues. Some of them include vomiting, diarrhea, and gastritis.
Besides being too harsh for your pet’s tummy, parts of tomatoes contain tomatine and solanine. These substances are in tomato leaves, vines, and unripened fruits, and are toxic for most animals.
We suppose that’s more than enough reasons not to give tomatoes to your pet.
So, there you have it! To conclude this whole can hamsters eat dandelions discussion – yes, they can.
The best part is, they can be a great way to freshen up your pet’s diet. Essential vitamins and minerals can be found in this plant’s nutritional value, so they are most definitely a healthy choice of treat.
However, as we always love to point out – moderation is vital. Besides that, a balanced diet is crucial for a healthy herbivore.
If your hamster eats too much of this pretty flower, it will be exposed to numerous health risks. To avoid those risks, follow the recommended quantities and always consult your veterinarian.