Can Hamsters Eat Apples? Benefits, Risks, and Feeding Tips

Can Hamsters Eat Apples? Benefits, Risks, and Feeding Tips

Apples are one of the most common fruits that we often already have in our homes. They’re also delicious, crunchy, and juicy, and they’re an excellent cooking ingredient, too! So it’s not uncommon to wonder: can hamsters eat apples?

Here, we’ll discuss whether or not hamsters should eat apples and what the nutritional benefits of apples are for hamsters. We’ll also let you know about the potential risks of feeding your hamster apples and how to go about feeding apple to your hamster.

Learn more: What to Feed a Hamster: Complete Hamster Nutritional Guidelines

Can Hamsters Eat Apples?

The short answer is yes: hamsters can eat apple, in moderation. Apples are a delicious occasional snack for a hamster, and giving them this treat can help you bond with your pet and encourage them to trust you.

Can hamsters eat apple skin?

So should you peel your apple before giving your hamster a piece? No, you do not need to worry about peeling an apple before giving some to a hamster. Apple skin or peels don’t pose any danger to your hamster.

Can hamsters eat apple seeds and cores?

Unlike the peel of the apple, the seeds or core of the apple are dangerous for hamsters.

You should never give apple seeds or an apple core to your pet hamster. This is because the seeds contain amygdalin, which converts to hydrogen cyanide inside the body. Even a small nibble of apple seeds can be deadly to a tiny pet.

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Benefits of Apples for Hamsters

Now that you know that apples are a healthy treat for hamsters, you might be wondering if they’re beneficial for your pet in any way. So, here are the benefits of giving your hamster the occasional piece of apple.

Chewing enrichment

The first benefit of apples for hamsters is that apples give your hamster something to chew and crunch. This is something that hamsters naturally love, so chewing up a piece of apple can provide them with a fun activity.

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Tip: Hamsters also like to chew on apple sticks, like these!

Water content

Apples are made up of about 86% water, which is great for your hamster. In the wild, hamsters get much of their water from the foods they eat. In captivity, however, a lot of their food is dry. So it’s a great choice to provide your hamster with water-rich foods as a snack to help them stay fully hydrated.

Fiber content

Apples, and in particular apple skins, are particularly high in fiber. This can be excellent for your hamster’s digestion, improving dropping quality and intestinal bacteria.

Vitamin C

Like us humans, hamsters (and many other tiny animals, including guinea pigs) can’t produce their own vitamin C. This means they must get all the vitamin C they need from their diets. Apples are a great source of vitamin C, which means a small piece of apple can support your hamster’s health in a big way.

Antioxidants

Apples are also rich in antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals in the body. Antioxidants are good for humans, but they’re also an important part of a hamster’s diet.

Learn more: Best Hamster Wheels for Dwarf Hamsters

Risks of Apples for Hamsters

Now let’s look at some of the risks you should try to avoid if you choose to feed your hamster any amount of apple.

Bacteria and contamination

The first issue to be on alert for is the bacteria and contamination that can be found on the skin of some apples. It’s important to wash any fresh fruit or vegetables thoroughly you give your pets, including apples.

Tip: You can use a produce wash like this to prep fresh fruits and veggies for your hamster.

Digestive problems

The main issue you might run into with apples is that feeding too much of the fruit to your hamster can lead to watery droppings and an upset tummy. If you notice that your hamster has diarrhea or softer droppings than normal, it’s a sign that you should reduce the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables you give them.

Sugar content

Finally, the sugar contained in apples is a concern for small animals. Apples contain less sugar than other fruits, like grapes, berries, and bananas. But getting too much sugar from apples is still a possibility. We’ll discuss how to properly feed your hamster apples to avoid giving them too much, below.

How to Give Your Hamster Apple

If you’re ready to give your hamster an apple treat, here are some pointers for how to go about it.

How much apple for a hamster

A good rule of “thumb” is to give your hamster no more than a thumbnail-sized piece of fresh fruit or vegetable each day. Any more than this, and your hamster is likely to get diarrhea. For dwarf hamsters, you should try to stick with a pinky-nail-sized portion.

Your hamster can still develop stomach upset with this small amount of fruit or vegetables, though, so it’s important to keep an eye on their droppings.

How often to give your hamster fruit

Hamsters can have fruit every day, but high-sugar fruits should only be given a couple of times a week.

Apples are lower in sugar than other fruits, so it’s OK to give a small piece every day. As usual, you should adjust what you give your hamster based on how their digestive system responds.

Introducing Apples Into Your Hamster’s Diet

Any time you introduce a new food, it’s important to take it slow. Even if your hamster has had fruit before, if they’ve never had apple, you’ll need to treat this as a brand-new type of treat.

Give your hamster half a thumbnail or pinky-nail-sized serving and wait 24 hours to see how they respond. You can then give them a full thumbnail-sized piece in a couple of days if they respond well.

Once your hamster has shown that they respond well to apples and haven’t had any negative effects, you can start giving them pieces of apples.

Can a Hamster Eat Apples? Summing Up

In summary, hamsters can definitely have apples, and they’re sure to appreciate the delicious treat. Apples are also a great source of water and some important vitamins.

However, it’s essential to prepare your hamster’s apple pieces properly and not give too much at once. Introduce apples to your hamster’s diet gradually, and cut back on fresh foods if your hamster shows signs of digestive upset.


Sources:

  1. Quesenberry, Katherine E. and Donnelly, Thomas. “Disorders and Diseases of Hamsters.” Merck Veterinary Manual. August 2020. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/all-other-pets/hamsters/disorders-and-diseases-of-hamsters.
  2. “17 Foods That Are High in Vitamin C.” Cleveland Clinic. 9 April 2023. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/sources-of-vitamin-c.

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