“Can hamsters eat bread?” is the question you’ve probably asked yourself every time you had a sandwich near your fluffy friend.
The answer is yes. But, there’s a “but” – or a few of them. Is it safe for hamsters to eat bread? How much should they have? What type of bread is best for them? Read along to find out!
Is Bread Safe For Hamsters?
Bread is a mixture of water and flour, which is made from different types of grains. Of course, bread is seasoned with all sorts of spices, though salt and sugar are the most common additions.
Wild hamsters eat a varied diet, which includes grains, among other things, such as seeds, insects, worms, and small amounts of fruits and veggies. All of these foods bring their needed intake of nutrients.
However, bread isn’t just pure grain, which contains natural fibers and protein. Bread contains over 70% carbs, which lead to rapid weight gain.
Besides, while whole wheat bread contains 16% protein, white bread isn’t as nutritious – it’s pure carbs and empty calories.
So, can your hamster eat bread? Yes, but in very small amounts because otherwise, it leads to digestive issues, obesity, diabetes, and untimely death.
The other issue to consider is allergies, especially to gluten. Although wheat bread is hypoallergenic for hamsters and therefore safer, white bread might pose some issues.
Lastly, bread has a high salt content, which is dangerous for the tiny hamsters who have a diet that’s poor in water.
How Much Bread Should I Give My Hamster?
Ideally, none at all or, at the most, a few crumbs depending on his size. A Syrian hamster can get away with more bread crumbs, while a Dwarf hamster with fewer.
Obesity in hamsters is a common issue because they don’t have to use energy resources running all day to hide from predators or to find food. That’s why you should steer clear of offering them fattening foods with no nutritional value.
The same goes for diabetes, to which hamsters are prone. You can check your hammie’s genetics before buying him, but diet directly influences how his genes behave. So even a hamster that’s not at-risk for diabetes can develop this illness if you don’t feed it properly.
The bottom line is this: you shouldn’t worry too much if your hamster nibbles on some bread crumbs once a month. But you shouldn’t intentionally feed him bread.
Are There Any Health Benefits To Bread?
White bread is packed with calcium and iron but lacks other significant nutrients or vitamins. Calcium is beneficial for your hamster’s bones and cardiovascular system, while iron plays a key role in the health of his immune system.
Whole wheat bread has an important intake of magnesium and protein. Magnesium is good for the hamsters’ cardiovascular and neurological systems, while protein has an important structural role in their bodies, keeping their muscles and immune systems fit as a fiddle.
The negative effects of giving hamsters bread regularly surpass its advantages by far. Many other fruits, veggies or seeds can offer a lot more nutrients with half the carbs in bread.
So your hamster can eat bread crumbs every so often but don’t turn bread into a regular treat or weekly snack.