Everywhere you look, you see ads, movies, gifs, and cartoons with cute mice nibbling away on a piece of cheese.
But what about hamsters? Can hamsters eat cheese safely?
Fret no more because the answer is YES!
Hamsters adore this delicious snack, and they’ll love you even more for offering them such a treat. But that’s just the tl;dr version of the story.
Giving your hamster cheese is a tricky matter, so read along.
The Role Of Cheese In Your Hamster’s Diet
You shouldn’t give your hamster a lot of cheese, and you should not make a habit out of it, even if he likes it.
Imagine how free hamsters live and what their diet consists of. They won’t find cheese in the wild, growing on bushes or the such.
But they will find plenty of seeds for fibre, plants and fruit, as well as worms for protein. Hamsters are omnivores, meaning they can eat everything – but not in huge quantities.
Hamster food mainly consists of dry pellets and dry cereal, with small additions of veggies and fruits. Your furry friend also needs some fat and protein to thrive, which can be found in foods like, you guessed it, cheese!
Your hamster needs 16% protein in his daily diet. If you have a pregnant or nursing momma at home, she will need 24% protein to keep her strength up. Pellets and hamsters cereals are usually protein-packed, but a bit of cheese can add some natural protein to the mix.
How Much Cheese Can I Feed My Hamster?
You won’t see cheese added to hamsters’ usual daily meal sheets, but it’s ok to give him cheese once in a while. That means 2-3 times per week, depending on your pet’s size, and just a couple of pieces, each the size of a raisin.
If you give him too much cheese, prepare to face a list of significant side effects such as:
- Rapid weight gain because cheese is packed with calories.
- Constipation because cheese is low in fibres.
- Apathy because of the high-fat, high-caloric content.
- Raised cholesterol because cheese is a fat-rich food.
So the best advice is to give your hamster low-fat cheese and to alternate cheese with other quality protein sources like pieces of boiled egg or mealworms.
How Do I Feed The Cheese?
There’s nothing complicated here: you simply rip or cut a couple of raisin-sized pieces of cheese, and you give them to your hamster.
If your hamster has never had cheese or dairy-based snacks before, start with one raisin-sized piece of cheese. Notice if there are any differences in behaviour like drinking less water or digestive upsets that could signal an allergy. In this case, contact your vet right away.
If you want to make things fun, offer them as a reward after you’ve finished an interesting game. For instance, you can hide the cheese, so your hamster has to find it by using his sense of smell.
Can Dwarf Hamsters Eat Cheese?
Yes! Dwarf hamsters can eat cheese safely, but remember to check their cage afterwards because they tend to stash their favourite foods.
Can Syrian Hamsters Eat Cheese?
Again, the answer is yes. Remember not to go over the maximum recommended limit for their portions, even if they seem they can eat much more than that.
What Kind Of Cheese Can Hamsters Eat?
Hamsters can’t eat all sorts of cheese, so:
- No cheese puffs because they’re fattening, non-nutritional junk food, packed with salt.
- No cheese balls because you have to fry them in oil first, which is dangerous for hamsters.
- Yes to very small amounts of cheese crackers, provided they’re oven-baked.
- Yes to Cheez-Its, but sparingly – 2-3 times per month.
Can your hamster eat cheese? Yes! But remember to not go overboard with this snack, to alternate with other quality protein sources and to avoid junk food, even if it has traces of cheese.