We all love the smell and taste of fresh pretzels straight from the bakery. It is undoubtedly tempting to our hamster too, but can our pet eat it? Stay tuned to find out.
Pretzels are among the most commonly consumed pastries. We all love them because of the taste and the sesame that covers them. We can eat this every morning, but what about our pets?
Can hamsters eat pretzels? Unfortunately, our little fluffy pets will only be allowed to watch this pastry from a distance. If you’re interested in finding out more about why pretzels are not supposed to be a part of our hamster’s diet, what to do if it accidentally consumes it, and much more interesting information, don’t go anywhere!
Can Hamsters Eat Pretzels? Pretzels Are Dangerous
Sorry guys, but your hamster should stay away from pretzels. This particular type of pastry is just too salty for your pet, and the consequences are both short and long-term. Let’s see what we mean by this.
If your hamster consumes pretzels once or twice, short-term consequences are:
- Increased thirst
- Electrolyte imbalance
However, if your hamster has a history of consuming pretzels, long-term consequences are:
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
Let’s get to explaining what this actually means for your hamster.
True, salted sesame is a delicious addition to pretzels. But something like this is not desirable for your hamster. Such miniature animals must not consume salty foods.
The first and most common consequence is dehydration. What accompanies dehydration is increased thirst. Even a tiny amount of this salty food can make your hamster drink excessive amounts of water. After a hamster has emptied your water bow, nausea is a common follow-up, and this is in no way good for these small animals.
What do we know about electrolyte imbalance? We know that electrolytes are minerals that are essential in our everyday bodily functions. We need these minerals for many reasons: to balance water levels, allow nerves to send signals, etc.
When electrolyte imbalance occurs, there are not enough minerals in the body, which causes dehydration in the organism. It can also mean that there is too much water.
The most common causes for electrolyte imbalance are:
- Eating disorders
This can easily be connected to your hamster eating your pretzel leftovers. Let’s make it easier for you as an owner to understand by providing an example.
Suppose your hamster eats a huge piece of your pretzel; it will likely become very thirsty. You might have to refill your hamster’s water bowl until it’s done with drinking. Now that your hamster has drunk too much water, its stomach might start to bloat.
An abnormal amount of water in an organism can sometimes lead to vomiting or diarrhea. Each of these is a severe problem for your hamster. After violent expulsion of these substances from the body, it will take a few minutes for your hamster to calm down.
As scary as this sounds, remember that these inconveniences are short-termed.Before we lay out the problems, let’s take a look at what pretzels are actually made from.
Nutrition Facts: Pretzels
Now, let’s talk about some issues that might last a bit longer.
First, we have weight gain. This is an obvious outcome after consuming any pastry, even for humans. Imagine what this can do to your hamster, then. Pretzels contain high salt levels, and some of them are really high in carbs. When you mix these two together, you get the worst possible combination for your pet.
The problem is taking care of your hamster once it is obese. The more weight they gain, the lazier they become.
It’s common knowledge that caloric food increases blood pressure. Excessive salt intake leads to high blood pressure in both animals and humans. Also, your hamster could be allergic to something contained in pretzels, and this would just make it worse.
But how do you know that your fluffy friend is in danger of high blood pressure? Well, you might notice that your hamster has been stumbling in its cage. Signs of dizziness are also common. Your hamster will probably be reluctant to get up and run in the wheel.
If your hamster has had too many pretzels, it’s time to get that blood pressure back in order. The most logical way would be to reduce the intake of salt, of course. But, if you fear that this is becoming a more severe problem, you should reconsider upgrading your hamster’s entire diet. There may be a couple of other ingredients that are causing this.
Foods that are too salty don’t sit well with everyone, and hamsters are a great example of this. Their tiny organism is not capable of processing and digesting pretzels. They are just too strong for them, and once the organism is overwhelmed by the ingredients, it might lead to some severe health drawbacks – heart failure?
Sure, this is a possible outcome. If your hamster has been munching on pretzels for days now, its organism might be so full of salt that it disrupts other bodily functions. At this point, your little pet is in danger of suffering a heart attack.
Last on the list is osteoporosis. This is a condition in which the bones lose density and become fragile. When it comes to food, consuming pretzels can contribute to this health problem. Namely, salt is responsible for controlling urine and calcium in the body.
So, when the levels of salt are too high or low, the organism can have trouble performing some vital functions.
In this case, it weakens the bones in the body, and they become fragile, and injuries are more common. This is particularly dangerous for your hamster. These animals are lively by nature, and they can be pretty clumsy at times.
Osteoporosis just increases their chances of breaking their bones.
More About This Delicacy
According to history, pretzels go a long way back. Their original name was “bracellae,” and it was said that monks handed them to their pupils as a reward after reciting prayers correctly.
Another version of how pretzels became popular is by monks giving them out to poor people. The heart shape of the pretzel symbolizes hope and love. This pastry is also tightly connected to Germany and Switzerland, where it is often consumed with beer.
Royal couples in Switzerland also served this pastry at their weddings. The catch was in the shape of a pretzel. The heart now symbolized tying the knot between a husband and wife.
In the past, pretzels were much harder to chew. With the development of culinary skills and the discovery of a new dough, this delicacy has become much softer and easier to consume.
With their long history, pretzels have become a world-famous snack. Today, this dish can be found anywhere in the world.
Some states like Philadelphia became renowned for their pretzels. There’s even a day dedicated to this dish in America – National Pretzel Day – which is celebrated on April 26th.
People gather in large numbers, eat a lot of pretzels, make up for the thirst with beer and celebrate the rich history of pretzels.
This is a great way to spend the day, but make sure that your hamster isn’t present there as well!
Other Salty Snacks: Saltine Crackers
We’ve come to the conclusion that pretzels are not good for your hamster friend, but what about saltine crackers? Are they allowed to consume this treat instead?
Nope, not this one either. These crackers are also way too salty for your little friend, but they are actually less dangerous. Let us explain this a bit.
The difference between saltine crackers and pretzels is that when crackers are crushed into tiny pieces, they can be given to your hamsters as a treat. Of course, in small quantities.
If you do decide to feed your hamster some crackers, opt for the ones made from “whole grains.” This type of crackers has a couple of benefits actually:
- This treat is considerably lower in calories than other biscuits
- They are rich in vitamins because they contain oats and wheat
- Whole-grain crackers are free of artificial colors and additives
- They are high in sodium
Your hamster friend is allowed to consume crackers a maximum of 3 times a week. Anything more than that can cause stomach problems.
So, how do you feed this treat to your little furry friend?
Easy, all you have to do is:
- Pick out one cracker from the bag
- Crush the cracker into crumbs (really, really small ones)
- Gather the crumbs in a bowl of food and take it to your hamster
It would be good if you supervised your hamster while it eats this. Sometimes, the pieces are not well crushed, and your hamster might start choking.
See Also: Can Hamsters Eat Salt?
If pretzels and saltine crackers are not the ideal dietary plan for your hamster, then what is? That’s where we step in.
First, we have the seed diet. You must be careful when feeding your hamster seeds. Some of them can turn out to be toxic. A smart move would be to consult with your vet before putting any seeds in your hamster’s bowl.
Today, many store-bought seed mixes are already carefully mixed and prepared for your hamster. The most popular seed mixes contain pumpkin and sunflower seeds. This is also the healthiest choice for your little friend.
Next, we have a pelleted diet. Unlike seed mixes, this diet might be a bit monotonous for your hamster, but it’s a lot more balanced. This is also why vets recommend it.
What about fruits and vegetables? Luckily, the choice here is lengthy. You can feed your hamster the following:
- Bananas (Can Hamsters Eat Banana Chips?)
- Dandelion greens
- Peas (Can Hamsters Eat Snap Peas?)