Before finding out if hamsters can have peanut butter, check out this article about dwarf hamster cages.
Hamsters are omnivore rodents and that makes them great pets, being small and really cute. If you don’t have enough time to take care of a bigger animal, hamsters are a good choice. Even though they don’t require the same amount of time, you have to remember some essential needs of these little animals in order to offer them a decent life.
Hamsters are very popular pets, especially amongst children so when you are buying a hamster you have to take into account your child’s preferences and also yours. There are 5 species which are frequently kept as pets: Chinese, Roborovski, Winter White Russian Dwarf, Campbell’s Dwarf, and Syrian hamsters.
General facts about hamsters
Hamsters are crepuscular which means that they don’t have an intense activity during the daytime but neither during the night. They are most active during twilight hours.
Most hamsters are solitary and in some cases, if they are housed together, they might fight. For example, Dwarf species can tolerate siblings or hamsters of the same gender if they are introduced at a young age to each other.
Hamsters lose weight during the autumn months in anticipation of winter. They live for about 4 years. Young hamsters are known to be easily tamed since they are very friendly from the beginning. They are born blind and they can’t open their eyes until the second week of life.
If you buy a hamster you will need a cage to ensure it has a safe environment that can offer your pet conditions that fit with its natural instincts. The cage type is different for any type of breeds. For example, the Syrian breed needs a larger cage than others.
Before bringing your hamster home, be sure to get your cage set up with the most important things: bedding, a water bottle, and food. Hamsters are very active animals and they would enjoy a wheel to spend their energy.
The main behavior of a hamster is chewing so you need to buy some chewing toys which are good for their teeth as they help keep them trim and neat. Such toys shouldn’t lack because a hamster’s incisor teeth (front teeth) never stop growing. Another benefit is that they keep the little rodent busy so it won’t chew the cage’s bars.
As an eating behavior, hamsters store the food in their cheeks to eat it later if they don’t feel comfortable in their current location.
If you decide to put a male and a female together, once you put them in a cage, the female becomes pregnant very quickly, and pregnancy is often a dangerous thing for females.
What should hamsters eat?
No matter the type of food you choose, when you start feeding new types of food, you need to introduce tiny amounts into your hamster’s diet first to make sure it tolerates that food.
A balanced hamster diet means proteins are included, as well as carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. It is wise to feed each of these nutrients in small quantities. A large amount of any nutrient already described can ruin the diet balance.
It is safe to feed your hamster a large variety of vegetables and fruits like broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, bok choy, kale, celery, sweet potatoes, and apples because they provide the necessary vitamins and fibers for your little pet. It is enough to feed them one cube of cucumber or apple at once.
Additionally, you can buy hamster mix like muesli or pellets from a pet shop for a larger variety of feeding. When buying this type of food, be careful that it’s natural without colored additives. Whatever you choose to feed your hamster in addition to their pellets should amount to no more than the size of two raisins.
Pellets are a good idea because they usually contain small quantities of calcium which is great for hamsters because they are not able to get it from many other food sources. Feeding your animals pellets in combination with vegetables is a way to avoid digestion problems like diarrhea.
If you want to add some proteins into its diet, you can give your hamster a hard-boiled egg or some mealworms once a week. Hamsters wake several times during the day to snack on the food they have stored so if you want to know the right time to feed a hamster the answer is that there isn’t a strict rule.
Make sure to always provide your little furry friend with fresh food and don’t allow it to rot because hamsters have a sensitive digestive system. You should also provide fresh water every day and clean the drinking bottle at least once a week. Give your hamster filtered water to drink if the tap water is high in chlorine.
Peanut butter in your hamster’s diet
Peanut butter is a popular food paste among both people and pets. It is mostly made of ground dry-roasted peanuts. It can also contain other ingredients which might add to its taste and texture, such as sweeteners, salt, emulsifiers, and other stuff that’s not good for your pet (or yourself).
You can give healthy and tasty peanut butter treats to your hamster if you want to reward it for good behavior. Since it is a sticky aliment, it is better to feed it in combination with other types of food like oats and bread. Serving only a small amount of peanut butter to your beloved pet will help it develop physically and grow more.
Peanut butter is not harmful to your hamster as long as it is given more as a snack or a treat and not as the main meal. Peanut butter is rich in fats which can cause metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity. However, in low quantities or mixed up with other food it’s fine.
Given moderately to your pet, the peanut butter has its own advantages. It contains a lot of vitamins like vitamin B, vitamin E, and niacin which are found in natural peanuts. Organic peanut butter with no added salt, sugar, and flavorings would be a better choice of food for a hamster.
Besides diabetes, big quantities of peanut butter can cause severe problems if it gets stuck in your hamster’s cheek pouches or it can cause choking. Peanut butter in large quantities may cause bloating, diarrhea or other gastrointestinal problems. The right amount of peanut butter that you should feed is maximum two times a week.
As previously mentioned, it is recommended to avoid directly feeding plain peanut butter to your hamster. If you want to start feeding your little pet some peanut butter, give it a test piece first and watch it a couple of days to see if different symptoms appear. Then introduce it only as a treat into your hamster’s diet at more regular intervals in the next few weeks.
If you observe any side effects, stop feeding the peanut butter and take your hamster to the vet immediately.
What hamsters shouldn’t eat
Keep in mind to never feed your hamster man-made things like candies and confectioneries. Also, any kind of cooked food is not advisable because hamsters can only digest raw vegetables, fruits or plants.
What you can’t definitely include in their diet are sweets, fruit seeds, and their skins, almonds, garlic, onions, and eggplants. These elements in a hamster’s diet contribute to obesity since they are dense in caloric and fat content. The citrus fruits and onions are high in acid and your little friend could end up with an upset tummy.
If you want to offer some snacks, it is better to stick to vegetables and fruits that have high water and fiber content instead of seeds and nuts. The fruit seeds can hurt your hamster’s cheeks since they store food for a longer period of time. Avoid any type of stinging food that can possibly harm the hamster’s mouth.