What about those crackers sitting in your kitchen drawer? Is there any way you could give some of them as potential food to your little furry friend or no?
Owners have always found new potential ingredients in their kitchen and garden that they could include in their pets’ diet – either as a staple food or just as occasional treats. What’s the deal with crackers – can hamsters eat saltine crackers, or are they too salty and dry for them? A common opinion is that they can nibble on this once in a while.
If you stay with us, we’ll explain exactly what we mean by “once in a while” and how to include this snack in your hamster’s diet without damaging its health.
Can Hamsters Eat Saltine Crackers? “Once In A While”
When we said that hamsters could eat saltine crackers once in a while, we meant that this ingredient you have should NOT serve as a staple food for your furry friend. However, you are allowed to give your hamster crackers once in a while as a snack or treat in between meals. Still, you need to consider a lot of things before feeding, but we’ll get to that.
First, let’s take a look at what exactly you are feeding your hamster through a simple table.
Saltine crackers that you can find in any supermarket or corner shop fall under the category of grain products because they are mostly made of wheat. They also contain white flour, which some people think is bad for their overall health.
Of course, those are rather biased opinions because not all crackers are bad. It can also depend on the producer and the number of other ingredients included.
When shopping for this, you should look for the label that says “made with whole grain.” But just because it says so on the front doesn’t mean it’s true – check the ingredients on the back. This is both for your and for your hamster’s sake.
Crackers carry some health benefits like:
- They are low in calories compared to other biscuits, which is good because your hamster is not fit to digest food with too many carbohydrates
- They are high in vitamin because of the oats and wheat contained in them
- Most crackers are free of artificial colors and additives
- They are high in sodium
Now, let’s pick up where we left off – explaining the deeper meaning of once in a while. How much is that exactly?
It means that feeding them human foods (crackers in this case) should not occur more than 3-4 times a week. Also, don’t use this to replace commercial hamster food, for example.
Hamsters are omnivores, and while various human foods work for them, they should be consumed moderately and only in small quantities.
There’s no doubt that your little pet hamster will enjoy this snack, but you mustn’t go overboard. Too much of this treat, and you’re in danger of causing your hamster stomach problems.
Let’s say that you are snacking on some crackers of your own, and you would like to share some of them with your hamster. Here’s how to do that in a safe way:
- Take one cracker from the bag.
- Crush it into small pieces – crumbs.
- Take a food bowl from your hamster’s cage.
- Sprinkle those crumbs into your hamster’s food bowl (don’t overfill it)
- Put it back in your hamster’s cage and watch him devour it in minutes.
NOTE: Because you are feeding him “saltine” crackers, you must keep his water bowl filled up to the top – proper hydration is essential!
Homemade Healthy Crackers
There’s a way in which both you and your hamster can benefit from this, and that’s by relying on a homemade recipe. In that way, you can easily control the amount of ingredients.
So, get your kitchen gloves on, and let’s get cooking. You are going to need:
- 3 cups of flour (whole grain flour if possible)
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 cup of water
Add to this some seasonal toppings (hamster-friendly) – sesame seeds, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, etc.
From kitchen equipment, grab the following: mixing bowl, measuring cups, a spatula, a rolling pin, a pastry brush, a sharp knife, a baking sheet, and a dinner fork.
Now, the process itself.
- Heat your oven to 450°F and sprinkle the baking sheet with flour on the side. Put it on the lower rack of the oven.
- Take a bowl and mix the ingredients – flour, sugar, and salt. Stir it good.
- After stirring, add some water and oil to the mix. You should continue until a soft dough is made. If it’s not sticky enough, try adding a little more water or salt – to your preference.
- Take the dough out of the bowl, divide it and shape it into equal squares or circles. As you are doing it, sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the divided pieces for better shaping. You can also spray the toppings (if you decided to include them)
- Put the crakers on the baking sheet with appropriate spacing.
- Bake the crackers for 12-15 minutes. Monitor the oven and watch how they grow.
- When you notice that the edges are turning brown, bring them out of the oven.
- Let the crackers cool off for a couple of minutes, and then enjoy your snack.
Making homemade crackers that both you and your little furry friend can munch on is a money and time saver. It’s also much healthier than relying on most store-bought crackers.
Making this treat is quick and easy.
Here’s a bonus tutorial on saltine crackers:
Hamster Friendly Crackers
It’s true – you can still find healthy crackers in your local supermarket if you look closely. Lucky for you and your hamster, we are here to narrow down the search and give you a list of healthy crackers you should absolutely buy.
Get ready to put this on your shopping list.
Triscuit Original Crackers – 6 crackers in one serving
This product contains moderate amounts of wheat, grain, and salt. Whole grains are the main ingredient, and this is probably the healthiest choice out there.
Mary’s Gone Crackers Super Seed Classic – 12 crackers in one serving
|Saturated fat||1 gr|
Mary’s crackers are an excellent treat choice for your hamster because this product contains simple ingredients, and as a bonus, it’s gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO.
Back To Nature Whole Lotta Seeds Crackers – 4 crackers in one serving
Apart from natural fibers, this product contains proteins in the shape of chia seeds, poppy seeds and hemp seeds. These ingredients all contribute to muscle-building and strengthening.
Real Food From The Ground Up Cauliflower Crackers – 40 crackers in one serving
This product is baked with cauliflower, and it’s high in vitamins A, E, B6, etc. This equals 10% of the daily recommended intake.
Simple Mills Rosemary & Sea Salt Almond Flour Crackers – 17 crackers in one serving
The main ingredient in this product is gluten-free seeds. It’s important to mention that these crackers are paleo-friendly, and it’s especially good for someone who has allergies to wheat flour.
While shopping, you’re bound to come across some bad choices as well. You might not know it at the time, but we’re here to shed light on what crackers to avoid:
- Keebler Club Crackers – they are high in fructose corn syrup that’s dangerous for your hamster.
- Ritz Crackers – highly processed and contain some additives that are not healthy at all.
- Wheat Thins Crackers – these crackers include large amounts of sugar and sweeteners that are too much for your hamster’s organism.
What are some signs that will lead you to the right crackers?
- Look for the “whole grain” on the label – it should be the first and main ingredient
- Choose the crackers that have at least 3 grams of crackers
- Avoid crackers with high sodium levels
- Prefer those that lack sweeteners
Also, make sure that you properly store your newly bought crackers – out of your hamster’s sight.
The best place to keep your crackers would be on really high cabinet shelves – where they are out of reach. Avoid leaving the crackers on the kitchen counter, and always clean the crumbs after you have finished eating.
Lastly, it’s best to stick to the original packing. Keep your crackers in the same box that you bought them in.
Good luck shopping!
As I already mentioned, saltine crackers are strong treats for a small-sized animal like your hamster, and they shouldn’t be given to it on a daily basis. The most common side-effect of exaggeration in crackers is hamster diarrhea.
Your hamster can have a problem with diarrhea even if he’s looking well. You must pay attention to your hamster’s dropping. Don’t be fooled by this disease. Sometimes it progresses so quickly that your hamster becomes terribly ill in just a couple of days.
The good news is that, if you notice this problem while it’s still early, there is more than one way in which you can take care of this stomach problem:
Changing your hamster’s diet:
- Monitor your hamster’s vegetable intake – although feeding your pet vegetables is preferable, too much of them can cause diarrhea because of excess moisture in them
- Keep your hamster hydrated – always keep your hamster’s water bowl full – lack of water makes digestion harder
- Turn to vegetables when diarrhea ends – only after your hamster is cured of diarrhea should you include vegetables in his diet again
Keeping the environment safe and clean:
- Keep your hamster’s cage warm – your hamster shouldn’t spend time sleeping in a cold cage
- Clean your hamster’s cage regularly – you have to keep your hamster’s habitat neat, and that’s why you should clean it once a week – dirt often promotes stomach issues
Most importantly, you should remove uneaten food from the hamster’s cage. There shouldn’t be any food left in their cage, especially for more than five days – different foods have different expiration dates, and keeping something rotten can cause severe diarrhea.
As long as you steer clear of anything too salty or sugary your hamster is safe from diarrhea!
See Also: Can Hamsters Eat Pretzels?