Oats have solidified their place as health food over the last few decades, thanks to their nutrient profile and health benefits. Are they safe for your hamster, though? Can you expect your hamster to experience health benefits from eating oats in the same way that you might?
Yes! Oats are a safe and healthy food for hamsters, but there are some things to consider before adding oats to your hamster’s diet.
What Kind of Oats Can Hamsters Eat?
Rolled and quick oats are an excellent food for hamsters, and they can be offered raw, or prepared as oatmeal. Avoid offering whole oats to your hamster, though. Whole oats are contained within a hard shell, so they can have sharp edges that can injure your hamster.
You also should only feed plain oats. Flavored oatmeal and even some “plain” oatmeals can contain sugar, salt, and flavorings added, all of which should be avoided for hamsters.
How Many Oats Can My Hamster Eat?
How many oats you feed to your hamster will depend on their size, as well as the rest of their diet. For large hamsters, like Syrians, a teaspoon of oats, cooked or raw, every 2 or 3 days is good. For smaller hamsters, like Roborovskis, oats should be fed in a portion the size of a fingernail or smaller, every 2 or 3 days.
How Can I Prepare Oats for My Hamster?
Many hamsters seem to prefer dry oats because they are easier to eat, but if you want to make oatmeal for your hamster, simply add hot water to the oats or add water and microwave the oats. For rolled oats, you may need to follow the package instructions to ensure enough liquid is absorbed by the oats.
Make sure the oats are fully cooled before offering them to your hamster. It’s a good idea to stir the oats as they cool so they cool evenly. Otherwise, you may end up with pockets of heat in the oats that can injure your hamster.
You can add pieces of hamster-safe nuts and fruits to the oats to make a tasty meal for your hamster, but avoid adding sugar and other sweeteners, as well as salt. You also need to avoid citrus and other foods that are unsafe for hamsters.
Are Oats Good for Hamsters?
In the wild, hamsters consume cereals as part of their diet, so oats can be a good addition to a balanced and varied diet for your hamster. Oats are an excellent source of fiber, which supports digestive health, and they’re a good source of protein. They’re also a good source of other nutrients, including vitamin C, iron, calcium, and potassium.
If fed in excess, oats can lead to digestive upset, diarrhea, and constipation. Over time, overfeeding oats can contribute to obesity and multiple health conditions. They are not a suitable food to serve as the primary food source for your hamster.
Oats are a safe and tasty food for hamsters, and they provide a variety of nutrients that can support the health of your hamster. They can be fed raw or prepared as oatmeal, although flavored and whole oats should be avoided. Most hamsters prefer to eat oats raw, so while you can try offering oatmeal, raw oats may be easier and more appealing for your hamster to eat.
Featured Image Credit: Vladislav Noseek, Shutterstock