Most animals vomit in order to get a toxin or blockage out of their system. In these cases, vomiting can prove very helpful. Ejecting a poisonous food before it can fully absorb, for example. Or assisting a cat with a lodged hairball.
Can hamsters vomit? Hamsters are incapable of vomiting, unfortunately. This means the consequences of ingesting something toxic, or a blockage, can prove more severe. Therefore it’s important to ensure they are cared for correctly and their food is suitable.
To enable your hamster to live a long and happy life, it is necessary to be aware of potential poisons, choking hazards, and the like. Equally important is knowing what action to take if they do get into something they should not have!
Signs to Watch For
So, aside from catching them in the act, how can you tell if your hamster has ingested something harmful? In a short time, symptoms will begin to show.
● Lethargy. Hamsters are energetic little guys, and usually fairly active. Lethargy is one of the first things they will exhibit when they are feeling unwell. Lethargic behavior includes hiding, sleeping, and a lack of alertness in general.
● Lack of appetite. Another trait hamsters are known for is their hearty appetites. They will even hoard food for later gorging once they are full. You may have reason to worry if your hamster refuses a snack or meal.
● A thirst that seems excessive. Your hamster may begin to drink a lot of water in order to help aid their liver and kidneys in ridding their body of poison.
● Their coat becomes dull. Like most hamsters, yours is probably a dapper fellow. Hamsters are normally very clean and conscious of how they look. However, sometimes they will find it difficult to groom and upkeep their hygiene when they are unwell.
● Rapid breathing. If your hamster is panting, it is possible that they are experiencing respiratory or even heart trouble. Both of these can be caused by the ingestion of toxins and can prove fatal. When this sign appears, you will want to move quickly.
Your Hamster Has Ingested Something Toxic – What to Do
Should your hamster display any of the above signs, they may have ingested something harmful. This can make them sick and even prove fatal.
Hamsters are tricky to treat because they are so delicate and so small. You will need to bring them into your veterinarian in order for them to receive the correct care. Hamsters can quickly go from bad to worse. Take action as soon as symptoms begin to show.
The next step is to remove whatever you think may have been the cause, i.e. a houseplant they thought to sample, or the like. Otherwise, your curious hamster may decide to give it another chew. The best treatment is preventative, after all.
Foods That Are Toxic To Hamsters
Hamsters should not have apple seeds or skin. Both of these are toxic. The seeds are especially so, as they contain a known poison: cyanide. While a few seeds in our apple slices may not be strictly healthy, they rarely do harm to humans. Hamsters, however, are much smaller. For them, a few seeds is a considerably larger dose, which can make them sick or even prove lethal. When offering your hamster some apple, first remove the core and peel.
Citrus is something you should altogether avoid feeding your hamster pal. These are too acidic for hamster tummies, which are really sensitive. Even a little bit of citrus can cause serious stomach upset, diarrhea, and the like.
For many animals, garlic can prove deadly. The hamster is no exception. Garlic can cause acute anemia and blood disorders in animals of all kinds. Hamsters will take even further harm because they are so small (and their dose is therefore larger). Onions have a similar effect, and should also be avoided accordingly.
Iceberg lettuce is popularly fed to pet rodents. Unfortunately, it is not healthy for them. The plant has no fiber, resulting in digestive upset, and no nutritional value. There is even a substance in iceberg lettuce that, for rodents, can act as a sedative. Romaine lettuce is a fantastic vitamin-rich alternative. Kidney beans are toxic to hamsters, especially when they are raw.
This probably comes as no surprise to you, but sugar and candy are some of the primary things that a hamster should never consume. After all, sugar is unhealthy for anyone. For a hamster, it can wreak havoc on their stomach. They will experience extreme abdominal distress. Their digestive system may even shut down. On a smaller level, candy will cause hamsters to gain weight and rot their teeth. There are much healthier treats your hamster can enjoy. Certain fruits, for example.
Snacks such as pretzels or potato chips are almost as bad as sugar or candy for hamsters. These foods are comprised of starchy carbs and their fiber level is low. This makes for an effect on the blood sugar that is comparable to candy and the like.
Human snacks also tend to be salted, which, for hamsters, is actually pretty harmful. Hamsters should not have salt in any degree. To top it all off, snacks like potato chips are very fatty. Hamsters are not built to digest fats, as they eat low-fat foods like hay and greens naturally.
Their system will struggle. Unfortunately, your hamster will pay for the short-term satisfaction of a salty snack. More fortunately, there are plenty of great, healthy snack alternatives that your hamster will love. For example, many veggies make for a tasty and nutritious hamster snack.
You will need to keep an eye out for plants, indoors or out, when allowing your hamster to explore. This is a key part of making the area hamster-proof. Do not forget potted plants! Hamsters like to climb, and they may not be able to resist a sample. The majority of plants are toxic to hamsters and are not in any way edible. Also, keep your hamster out of your garden. Too many common plants can make them sick.
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Foods Hamsters Can’t eat!
- Almonds: Unroasted, bitter almonds contain cyanide, and all almonds are moderately high in fat. An odd almond sliver is fine as a treat once a week but never feed them more than that.
- Celery, whole stalks: The texture and string type substance that celery is made up of can cause your hamster to choke. You can prep celery carefully by removing the strings and cut the celery into very small pieces. This will make it safer for your hamster to digest.
- Chocolate, Mainly dark chocolate: It contains theobromine and is toxic in large amounts. Hamsters do love the taste and will not stop at eating one small piece. If given the chance they will overeat on dark chocolate and become sick.
- Garlic: Has been known to cause indigestion and blood disorders if feed in large quantities.
- Kidney beans, uncooked: These are toxic to hamsters. Stay away from these at all costs.
- Lettuce, iceberg: It contains little in the way of nutrition and can cause diarrhea. Small amounts of other green leafy vegetables are fine but again offer little in the way of nutrition and taste. Dandelion greens, romaine lettuce and kale offer more nutritional value than Some Lettuce.
- Onion: It may result in damage to the red blood cells and is not recommended at all.
- Spicy or seasoned products: These may upset your hamster’s intestinal tract, resulting in diarrhea and sickness.
- Sugary products: Like humans Hamsters will choose to eat these over healthy foods if given the choice which can lead to diabetes.
- Tomato leaves: These are toxic to hamsters, stay away from them.
- Unwashed fruits or vegetables: Because of pesticides, unwashed fruits and vegetables pose a danger to your hamster. Organic forms are safer, particularly if you wish to feed the skins as well.
- Peanuts: They are too high in fat for hamsters, and the salted variety may contribute to dehydration. One unsalted, human-grade peanut a week is safe to feed your hamster.
- Potato, potato tops: These are unsafe, but sweet potato is OK.
Things That Can Make Hamsters Choke
As mentioned above, one of the main times that animals vomit is when they choke. Since hamsters cannot vomit, you must be all the more careful. Keep anything your hamster can choke on far from their reach.
One of the worst of these is bedding. Some types of hamsters bedding, like those made from cotton, can become caught in the teeth of your hamster. These kinds of bedding also prove difficult for them to digest, not to mention swallow. You should never use bedding floss, as this proves the deadliest risk.
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For hamsters, cords are doubly dangerous! When hamsters chew on cords, they can electrocute themselves or choke. Before you let your hamster out of their cage, stow any cords up high and well out of reach. Along with this, consider any small objects they could choke on, like airsoft gun pellets, marbles, batteries, and the like.
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What If Your Hamster Is Just Sick?
Should your hamster seem a bit under the weather, it is also possible that they are simply sick. There are several common illnesses that hamsters can have. One of the better-known is called Wet Tail.
This is a serious condition that results from a living environment that is unclean. Specifically, the bacteria in feces is the main cause of wet tail. Stress can also increase the risk.
Many hamsters die within 48 hours from Wet Tail. The symptoms are a literally wet rear (with diarrhea). Avoid this by putting the proper care toward cage hygiene. Should your hamster shows signs of his, take them to the veterinarian immediately. This is the only way they will have a chance to live.
If your hamster gets wet you are putting them at risk of sickness which could result in their death. Read why it’s important not to get your hamster wet here in one of our latest articles.
Tumors are another real health risk.
Hamsters are also prone to the common cold and indigestion. The symptoms of a cold are classic: runny eyes, a runny nose, etc. Fur and ear mites are an additional possibility. This could be the cause if your hamster is showing discomfort in general.
Remember, because your hamster cannot vomit, you will need to watch for signs that are less obvious. You can keep your hamster nice and healthy with some proper care.
Be careful if your Hamster is a pet for a small child. Children love to feed Hamsters and will often put anything inside their cage without realizing the consequences.
Conclusion: Can Hamsters Vomit?
As you can see, there are many reasons that animals vomit; even among humans, this is one of the primary signs that show whether someone is sick. Hamsters cannot vomit, nor can they tell us how they feel. This means that you will need to pay a bit of extra attention.
Make sure to use bedding that is choke-safe and allergen-free. By storing toxic foods and choking hazards away safely, you can further reduce any risk