Can Hamsters Eat Sweet Potatoes?
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Sweet potatoes are among the healthiest veggies we humans can enjoy, and these days, they’re enjoyed frequently instead of being eaten only with holiday meals.
But are sweet potatoes good for hamsters? And, if you can give a hamster sweet potatoes at treat time, just how much should you offer?
The good news is that it’s perfectly fine to feed sweet potato to a hamster – but there are definitely some things to keep in mind before you offer them this crunchy, satisfying snack.
Stick with us: In just a few minutes, you’ll know all about sweet potatoes for hamsters.
Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts
Sweet potatoes are delicious: No wonder you want to share them with your little hamster friend!
A big 1 cup serving of baked or mashed sweet potatoes without toppings like butter or brown sugar gives you about:
- 180 calories
- .3 g fat
- 4 g protein
- 41.4 g carbohydrates
- 6.6 g fiber
Sweet Potato Nutrients
You and your hamster will get lots of benefits from the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in sweet potatoes. Eating a single serving treats you to over 750% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin A!
That same one cup serving of baked or mashed sweet potato gives you approximately:
- 38433 IU vitamin A
- 2 mg vitamin C
- 4 mg vitamin E
- 6 mcg vitamin K
- 0 mg niacin
- 6 mg vitamin B6
- 0 mcg folate
- 2 mcg choline
- 76 mg calcium
- 54 mg magnesium
- 4 mg iron
- 108 mg phosphorus
- 950 mg potassium
- 6 mg zinc
- 1 mg manganese
- .3 mg copper
Can Hamsters Have Sweet Potatoes?
Yes -and it’s safe to say that your hamster will enjoy every moment spent nibbling on this tasty tuber. When preparing sweet potato for your hamster, be sure to give it a good scrub before cutting it up.
We recommend offering raw sweet potato rather than cooked varieties, but it’s fine to give your hamster baked or steamed sweet potato if that’s what you happen to have on hand. If you’re offering your hamster cooked sweet potato, make sure that it’s completely plain, without butter, sugar, marshmallows, or seasonings of any kind. Also, be sure that it’s completely cool.
Are Sweet Potatoes Good For Hamsters?
Since they’re such an excellent source of nutrition, sweet potatoes are very good for your hamster.
We do have one little warning, though: If your pet is new to the family, it’s best to offer new foods carefully.
Sweet potato is quite rich so start with something like cucumber or green beans before progressing to colorful fruits and sweet potatoes. Once your hamster is used to sweet potato though, you can incorporate this nutritious food into their regular diet!
Do Hamsters Like Sweet Potatoes?
Whether you’ve got a Syrian hamster, a teddy bear hamster, a dwarf hamster, or another breed altogether, your furry little friend will probably go gaga for sweet potatoes. We’ve never met a hamster who didn’t like this treat.
How Much Sweet Potato Can A Hamster Eat?
So, is there such a thing as too much when it comes to sweet potatoes? That’s a yes – although your hungry little pet might disagree.
Here’s how much sweet potato a to feed your hamster:
|1 or 2 ½ inch squares of sweet potato, or ½ to 1 teaspoon of cooked sweet potato
If your hamster eats too many rich foods, they might suffer from digestive distress, including diarrhea. Since diarrhea is dangerous to hamsters, it’s best to take a very gradual approach when introducing sweet potato. Be careful, even if your hammy already eats a wide variety of foods.
Start by offering half of a ½-inch sweet potato square or about ¼ teaspoon of cooked, cooled sweet potato. That’s just enough for a quick taste. Don’t give your pet any more than that – even if they’re begging for it! If you have a tiny dwarf hamster, you might need to make their serving size even smaller – about half the amount that’s recommended for a larger hamster.
Over the next 12 hours or so, you’ll want to keep an eye out for any signs of digestive trouble including diarrhea. If everything is normal, go ahead and give your hamster a ½ inch sweet potato square next time and gradually work your way up to your pet’s full serving size.
Be sure to read the next section carefully since we’re going over how often to feed sweet potatoes (and other fresh treats) to your hamster!
How Often Can A Hamster Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Your hamster might like to eat sweet potatoes every day but variety is important, so let them have it every other day rather than daily.
- If your hamster is a new arrival fresh from the pet store, you’re probably the first person to introduce them fresh food, and you’ll want to keep them safe by taking things slowly so that their sensitive digestive system has a chance to adjust. Offer only a tiny amount of vegetables every other day for the first week. You can gradually increase from there so long as there are no signs of diarrhea.
- If your hamster is already eating a variety of vegetables and fruits, it’s perfectly OK to give them a tiny bit of sweet potato every other day so long as they tolerate it well the first time. Just don’t give them sweet potato the same day that you offer other rich foods unless you’re cutting all the portions down so that the make up a single serving all together.
The Correct Diet Is Important
A hamster’s natural diet is quite extensive. Believe it or not, these adorable little fluffballs are actually omnivores! They are perfectly capable of eating crickets and other insects, eggs, and even meat, so you might want to treat them to dried mealworms, a tiny bit of cooked chicken, or a little bit of hard-boiled egg.
If this doesn’t appeal to you, no worries: properly balanced hamster pellets provide all the protein and nutrients your pet needs for survival.
Since we’re aiming for more than mere survival, it’s best to offer your hammy a diet that makes life more interesting while supporting excellent health. Besides a daily serving of hamster food, you’ll want to give your pet the following items:
- Unlimited hay such as Timothy for nibbling, tunneling, and nesting, along with plenty of fresh, clean hamster bedding.
- A small amount of birdseed for supplemental fat; no more than about a teaspoon per week.
- Tiny amounts of fruit and vegetables – just enough to be enjoyed in a single meal. Don’t offer lots of fresh food at once as you would if you were feeding a rabbit; your hamster’s natural instinct is to store food. When fresh items are cached away, mold and spoilage can result, leading to a dirty habitat and putting your pet’s health at risk.
- ‘Round the clock supply of clean, fresh water; be sure to rinse and refill your hamster’s drinking bottle at least once a day.
Last but not least, be sure that you offer chewable hamster toys. Chewing is an important natural behavior that keeps your hamster busy in their enclosed habitat while supporting dental health. Without plenty of safe, natural items to nibble, your hamster’s teeth could become painfully overgrown and infected.
What Are Other Healthy Alternatives To Sweet Potatoes In A Hamster’s Diet?
Like other members of the rodent family, hamsters eat all sorts of things in their natural habitats. They appreciate a wide variety of veggies and fruits, so it’s easy to find new items to offer at treat time.
Here are some of the veggies hamsters like most:
- baby corn
- sweet corn
- carrot tops
- potato (cooked only)
- beet tops
- swiss chard
- butter lettuce
- bibb lettuce
- buttercrunch lettuce
- green beans
- summer squash
- winter squash
- bell pepper
- sweet potato
- bok choy
- yu choy
If this list contains some of your favorite veggies, you’re on to something: Many foods that are good for you also happen to be great for your hamster! At the same time, some foods that are healthy for us are toxic to hamsters. It’s important to research each new food you’re considering to make sure that it’s safe and to find your hamster’s serving size.
For now, how about some fun? Give your hamster sweet potatoes (a tiny amount!) and watch them enjoy it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are sweet potatoes safe for hamsters?
Yes! So long as you offer just a small amount, it’s OK to give sweet potato to a hamster.
Can sweet potatoes make my hamster sick?
It’s possible that sweet potatoes could cause diarrhea if your hamster isn’t accustomed to fresh foods. At the same time, it’s not very likely so long as you’re careful when introducing sweet potato to your pet’s diet.