We all know the stereotypical mouse-loves-cheese trope that populates the media, but what about hamsters? Are they equally keen. Can Hamsters Eat Cheese? The answer is that yes!
Hamsters can eat (and love) cheese, but they should only be offered small quantities as a rare treat. You shouldn’t feed your hamster lots of cheese on a regular basis; while it’s a good source of protein, it’s also not something they should eat in significant quantities if you want to keep them healthy.
Why Do Hamsters Eat Cheese?
Hamsters need protein, just like any other animal. They get most of this from their standard feed mixes, but it won’t hurt them to get a small amount from a rare cheese treat as well. They are perfectly capable of digesting animal fats, and sometimes commercial foods are a little lacking in these.
Wild hamsters are often to be found munching on insects and worms, so cheese is a viable alternative to this sort of meal.
What Kind Of Cheese?
There are so many different kinds of cheese, but ultimately, a mild cheddar or a little bit of plain cottage cheese are the safest options. Don’t start offering your hamster fancy blue cheeses; stick to plain cheese for the safest (and usually most popular) offerings.
How To Offer Cheese To A Hamster
You should always introduce new foods gradually and in small quantities. What is safe for a species still might not agree with your little one, so the first time you offer your hamster cheese, offer just a crumb and see what the response is.
If your hamster enjoys the cheese, wait a couple of days before you give it any more. Cheese should be fed infrequently anyway, but this time period will let you evaluate how your hamster’s digestion coped with the treat.
How Will I Know If Cheese Doesn’t Agree With My Hamster?
Your hamster’s poop may be one of the biggest indicators as to whether or not the food has been agreeable. If your hamster gets diarrhea or has very loose poops, the cheese wasn’t very good for it. You shouldn’t feed your hamster more cheese if this occurs; find another snack it can enjoy instead.
Hamsters who have eaten something that isn’t good for their digestion may become lethargic or lose their appetites for a day or two. If this occurs, stick to plain foods which you know are safe, and let their stomachs settle down.
You might also see hamsters chewing on their bedding, as hay adds fiber to their diet and can help them to digest tricky meals. This is nothing to worry about, but it’s another good indicator that cheese is not for them.
If your hamster’s symptoms continue, take them to your vet and get them checked out.
How Much Cheese Should I Feed My Hamster?
Once you’ve done a test drive of the cheese and found it’s safe, you’ll want to know how much your little friend can have. This is a bit tricky as it depends on what else you feed your hamster and how much protein they get from their diet.
However, keeping cheese as a rare treat is key. There are other good sources of protein they will enjoy, such as boiled eggs, or mealworms (which can be purchased online). Cheese has a lot of salt and calories, so it really isn’t a suitable regular food for hamsters.
Remember to always keep quantities low. A little crumb of cheese about the size of your little fingernail (or smaller) is plenty. Your hamster will enjoy the treat and won’t end up consuming large quantities of salt at the same time.
If you are feeding other high-protein foods, remember to reduce the amount of cheese you offer accordingly.
How Often Should I Feed My Hamster Cheese?
You will probably notice that cheese doesn’t appear on “recommended” diet sheets, so stick to the principle of rare and special, and you should be okay. Don’t make a regular habit of it at all, but just take a small crumb to your friend every now and again.
You can use cheese as a high-level reward for playing games with your hamster. Hiding a crumb of cheese in a twist of paper or a little cardboard tube so that your hamster has to nibble through or work the cheese out is a fun way to incorporate this treat.
If your hamster loves cheese, it’s a great reward, but keep track of how often you’re letting it have cheese, and limit the quantities for the sake of your furry friend’s health. Cheese is great, but just like for humans – in moderation!