Hamsters are one of the most loveable of all pocket pets, it’s easy to want to give them human foods we enjoy, like juicy grapes! However, many human foods are not safe for hamsters to eat. So, can hamsters eat grapes? Dr. Jess explains it all below:
What is a Hamster?
A hamster is a small rodent that is commonly seen as a pocket pet here in the U.S. Hamsters are covered in a soft fur, with large eyes, round bodies, and short stumpy tails.
They are quite active and can make great pets as long as you know how to properly care for them and all of their needs.
Hamsters are small mammals. Their coats are soft and come in many different coat colors and color patterns. There are many different types and breeds of hamster.
A common hamster is about 4-10 inches long, with some breeds shorter than that average and some breeds longer than that average.
Adult hamsters can weigh anywhere from half an ounce to over 10 ounces, depending on age and breed of hamster.
Hamsters are nocturnal, meaning that they typically sleep during the day and are active at night. Therefore, if you or a family member is a light sleeper or has issues sleeping at night, it is not suggested to house your hamster in that same room, as they will be active during the night.
A hamster’s teeth are continually growing. Therefore as a reliable pet owner, you need to provide your pet hamster with materials to help them keep their tooth length at bay.
Hamsters are omnivores, eating both plant material and animal materials.
In captivity, hamsters typically have a diet that consists of items such as hamster pellets, hay, grains and nuts, and fruits and vegetables, to name a few foods.
No matter what you and your veterinarian decide is the best diet for your hamster, make sure that it is balanced for your hamsters lifestyle.
Hamsters have a cute personality. Some are outgoing and friendly with others,while other hamsters like to live a life of solitude.
Hamsters like to burrow and tunnel, so having some sort of tunnel system is fun for many captive, caged hamsters.
What Do Hamsters Typically Eat?
These little buddies eat an assortment of things to keep them healthy and happy.
- High-quality hamster food and Timothy hay should be the main staples of their diet.
- Up to about 10% of their diet can be made up of an assortment of vegetables and fruits, with fruits and vegetables over 12-24 hours old being discarded as soon as possible.
- Hamsters do best with diets low in fats and sugars.
- Clean, fresh, filtered water. ‘Fresh water‘ means that is is changed daily. ‘Changed daily‘ means that new water is placed into a CLEAN water dispenser!
- Seeds and protein (in the form of hamster-safe insects and cooked hamster-safe meats) can also be given to hamsters in safe portions determined by your veterinarian
What Are Grapes?
Grapes are a type of berry, which is a fruit, that grow typically in clusters on vines.
They come in all different sizes, colors, shapes, and tastes.
There are over 8,000 varieties of grapes grown across the world.
Types of Grapes:
There are cultivated and wild grapes. Cultivated grapes are grown commercially, the source of many store-bought grapes.
Grapes can contain seeds or be seedless, be green all the way to dark red in color, and have thin to extremely thick skins.
Some grapes are used to make wines, while others, like table grapes, are to be eaten while fresh and tight, while others are dried and turned into raisins.
Grapes are a good source of potassium and fiber, and a source of multiple different vitamins, including vitamin C.
According to Medical News Today, grapes can do some pretty wonderful things:
“The nutrients in grapes offer a number of possible health benefits. They have been associated with prevention of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and constipation.”https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271156
Grapes have high water and high fructose (sugar) content.
Do Hamsters Like Grapes?
Yes they definitely do!
The reason why hamsters love grapes is because of the incredibly sweet taste from their high content of fructose (sugar).
Grapes are like candy to hamsters!
But grapes can be toxic to some pets, like dogs. Are they toxic to hamsters too?
Are Grapes Healthy For Hamsters?
Grapes contain vitamin C which hamsters need in their diets, and get through feeds to make sure that they receive adequate levels, helping to prevent health problems like scurvy (disease that occurs due to low levels of vitamin C).
As always, I highly recommend consulting with your local veterinarian before adding any new foods into your hamster’s diet, even treats. The best time to do this is when your pet is at the veterinary clinic getting their routine checkups!
How To Serve Grapes To Your Hamster:
Make sure to introduce any new foods, including grapes, to your hamster slowly and in small bite-sized amounts.
If your furry friend shows any signs of digestive discomfort, loose stool, diarrhea, or decreased appetite, stop feeding them grapes immediately and contact your local veterinarian.
- 1 store-bought and cleaned seedless grape
- cutting board
- kitchen cutting knife
- Clean the grape's exterior thoroughly or peel the skin off of the grape.
- Simply slice the grape into quarters, right down the middle, exposing the seed or seeds.
- Then gently remove the seeds from the center part of each grape (if there is a seed inside) with your fingers or the knife that you used to slice the grape with.
Contact your veterinarian before changing parts of your pet's diet. Stop the feeding of asparagus immediately and contact your veterinarian if any signs of ill health appear.
Can Grapes Be Bad For Hamsters?
Some grapes can have pesticides on them that can severely harm or even kill your hamster.
It is incredibly important to thoroughly wash all produce, including grapes, before offering it to your pet.
Grapes with seeds can be seen as a choking hazard, so always feed your hammie a seedless variety.
Another option is to buy the grapes with seeds and then manually remove the seeds before giving it to your furry friend.
Besides the choking hazard, grapes can be dangerous to pets if they contain parasites or certain harmful microorganisms, making the pet sick after ingestion (eating).
But just as it’s not good for us to have too much sugar, neither is it a good idea to give loads of sugar to your hamster. So too many grapes could mean detrimental effects to your buddy, such as diabetes or obesity. Feed grapes in moderation!
So yes, consuming grapes has its risks.
How Many Grapes Can Hamsters Have?
Grapes are best reserved as a special treat for your furry friend.
Why? Because The amount of sugar involved in this sweet fruit.
Remember that grapes contain a high amount of sugar, something that you need to monitor closely in your hamster, espcially if they are overweight.
Therefore it is important to not overfeed grapes to your pet.
A limit of 1 teaspoon worth of grapes, offered to your hamster properly (more on that in a second!), is all that should be given at one time.
If you have a dwarf hamster or just a smaller-sized hamster, feed up to 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of grape to your hamster.
Grapes should be given at a maximum of 1-2 times per week.
Feeding Young Hamsters:
Young hamsters do not need to have grapes with the added sugar as they are growing into adulthood.
How Often Should Hamsters Eat Grapes?
Your hamster can have a grape or two as a snack one to two days a week.
These days should never be back-to-back. In fact, the days should be spread out a few days apart from one another.
Can They Eat Grapes With Seeds?
Grape seeds tend to be small, rounded, and slippery.
Sounds like a recipe for a choking hazard, right?!?
If you are going to be feeding your pet grapes with seeds, you need to remove the seeds first before giving the grape pieces to your hamster.
Simply slice the grape in half or into quarters, right down the middle, exposing the seed or seeds. Then gently remove the seeds from the center part of each grape with your fingers or the knife that you used to slice the grape with.
Can Hamsters Eat Grape Vines and Leaves?
You can leave the odd stem on a grape when you serve them to a hamster, as it just becomes another source of roughage for them.
Grape Varieties Hamsters Can Eat:
Hamsters can eat green grapes.
Green grapes have the highest sugar content of the grapes mentioned in this section.
Hamsters can eat red grapes.
Red grapes have less sugar than green grapes and have more antioxidant properties as well.
Hamsters can eat purple grapes.
Purple grapes have less sugar than green grapes too and they also have more antioxidant properties than green grapes.
Raisins and Prunes:
Raisins are dried grapes and are higher in sugar content. This higher sugar level can pose a multitude of health problems if fed in large amounts.
Too many raisins in one sitting may cause digestive discomfort or diarrhea, or worse, like diabetes or weight gain.
Raisins have an even higher concentration of sugar than grapes do – dried fruit versus fresh fruit.
Make sure that if you are feeding your pet raisins, that they are not coated in either chocolate or yogurt, two things that are dangerous for hamsters to ingest.
And how many raisins should you feed your hamster at one time? No more than 1 raisin – they are full of sugar!
Your cute little hamster deserves the best – best home, best health, and best treats.
Treating your pet to some of your favorite snacks, likes grapes, is just fine as long as those store-bought grapes are cleaned and prepared properly, served correctly (correct amounts and correct pacing), and only to healthy hamsters.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact your local vet before feeding grapes to your buddy.