Hamsters need to eat what is known as “commercial hamster food”, aka hamster pellets, as well hay, vegetables and fruits to stay healthy. They also need hay, some nuts and herbs.
Does cheese make it onto that list though? Is the dairy product a good snack choice for our tiny friends, or should we refrain from giving hamsters cheese altogether?
Can Hamsters Eat Cheese?
Hamsters can eat cheese, albeit in moderation and not too often. It’s high in both fat and sodium, so it’s not the healthiest choice, but it won’t do them any harm either.
There’s nothing wrong in giving your pet hamster the occasional bite of cheese. They shouldn’t have more than a pea-sized bite though, and you should only add it to their menu no more than twice a week.
Cheese is not a part of a hamster’s natural diet. They would never eat it in the wild, but they can enjoy a nibble in captivity, so to speak. Given its high fat and sodium content, they shouldn’t eat it too often, and it shouldn’t become a major part of their diet.
Can Baby Hamsters Eat Cheese?
Baby hamsters shouldn’t eat cheese, as their digestive system isn’t equipped to handle it yet. Wait until they are fully grown before offering them any cheese products.
Hamsters are considered to be fully grown at 3 months old, which is when you can slowly start introducing cheese. Make sure to do it slowly and in moderation, one tiny bite at a time. Monitor how they are feeling and behaving afterwards, and eliminate cheese from your hamster’s diet if they seem to be bloated or are feeling unwell.
Is Cheese Good for Hamsters?
Cheese isn’t really good for hamsters, as they don’t require dairy in their diet at all. It can be a decent snack though, as there is nothing harmful in it if consumed in moderate amounts.
Hamsters will benefit from a balanced commercial diet, i.e. the kind you can buy at a pet store. Hamster food tends to come in pellets, and is a mixture of grains and seeds, fortified with the vitamins and minerals they need. This should form around half of their overall diet.
The other half should consist of raw vegetables and some fruits. Kale, spinach and apples are all good choices. Nuts and seeds are also welcome, while cheese, not a food that naturally occurs in the wild, is not something hamsters have evolved to need.
However, hamsters are able to tolerate cheese well and will usually love to nibble on it. Your best choice is a cheese that is low in fat and salt: a mozzarella or cottage cheese, for example.
Is Cheese Bad for Hamsters?
When eaten in moderation, cheese is not bad for hamsters. However, if they eat too much of it, it can be quite bad for them, due to its high fat and sodium content.
You know the saying, even too much of a good thing can turn out to be a bad thing. The same goes for hamsters and cheese. Here is why you should only feed it to them in moderation:
High Sodium Content
The high amount of sodium in cheese can cause high blood pressure in hamsters, leaving them open to heart attacks and strokes. It can also increase their risk of developing kidney disease.
High Saturated Fat Content
Eating lots of saturated fats also raises a hamster’s blood cholesterol. This can again lead to heart attack and stroke.
Since cheese is low in fiber, eating too much of it can make your hamster constipated. On the other hand, it can also cause diarrhea in lactose-intolerant hamsters. You won’t know how your hamster will react to cheese before you give it to them for the first time, so be sure to monitor how they respond to it.
Foods high in sodium can also cause dehydration when consumed in excess, especially if a hamster does not drink enough water afterwards. Make sure they have a fresh supply when you give them cheese.
Eating too much cheese can lead to weight gain and ultimately obesity in hamsters. This also leaves them more vulnerable to heart conditions and other health issues.
Is Cheese Safe for Hamsters?
Cheese should be completely safe for hamsters, unless they are extremely lactose-intolerant, in which case they may experience an upset stomach.
There is nothing in cheese that should pose any risk to your hamster. If they happen to be highly lactose-intolerant (which is rare), they may vomit or have diarrhea after eating cheese, in which case you should stop giving it to them.
The issue with cheese is that it’s high in fat and rather calorie-dense, so it should only be eaten in moderation.
How Much Cheese Can Hamsters Eat?
Hamsters should eat no more than a pea-sized bite of cheese at a time. This will ensure they aren’t getting too many calories and too much salt in one sitting.
Remember that hamsters don’t actually need to be eating cheese, so you don’t want to overfeed them if you do choose to make it a part of their diet.
Can Hamsters Eat Cheese Every Day?
Hamsters shouldn’t be eating cheese every day, rather once or twice a week at the most. Eating it every day can quickly lead to weight gain and ultimately obesity.
You can give your hamster other protein-based snacks, like boiled eggs, instead of the cheese. Remember that they also need hamster-specific pellets, as well as veggies and fruits.
How Should I Feed My Hamster Cheese?
Cut your hamster a pea-sized bite of cheese. This should be small enough to prevent choking, but still large enough for them to enjoy nibbling on it.
Cheese is not usually considered a choking hazard for hamsters, but they are quite capable of having issues with the smallest and unlikeliest of bites. Since cheese is soft, it should pose no real problem.
Make sure to clean away any piece of cheese that’s been sitting around for more than an hour, as it will start to go bad and can harm your hamster. Go through the cage thoroughly, as hamsters like to stash bits of food for later.
You also need to check that your clever little pet is not stashing cheese in their cheeks, as it can cause dental problems.
What Cheese Should I Give My Hamster?
Aim to give your hamster low-fat cheeses: cottage cheese and mozzarella are both good options. Stay away from hard cheeses, and especially anything moldy.
Cottage cheese should be your first choice, as it is lighter in calories and lower in fat. It’s also full of calcium and protein, both of which are good for your hamster.
Mozzarella is also a good option, as it is also low in fat.
What to Do If My Hamster Has Too Much Cheese?
Eating too much cheese once or twice will most likely not harm your hamster. They may have a bit of an upset stomach, but that should be the extent of it.
Watch your hamster more closely for signs of diarrhea, vomiting, bloating or loss of appetite.
Also make sure to check their cage for any stashed cheese, as it can definitely cause digestive issues if it goes stale.
Can Hamsters Eat Mozzarella Cheese?
Yes, hamsters can eat mozzarella cheese in moderate amounts. It’s a good choice as it’s low in fat and sodium, and can be quite tasty when fresh.
Can Hamsters Eat Cheddar Cheese?
Hamsters can eat cheddar cheese, but only the milder kinds. A strong cheddar can be too much for your hamster and cause an upset stomach.
Can Hamsters Eat Blue Cheese?
Hamsters shouldn’t eat blue cheese, as their digestive system can’t tolerate it and they are more likely to get sick than when eating other kinds of cheese.
Can Hamsters Eat Feta Cheese?
Hamsters shouldn’t eat feta cheese, as it has too much salt and can cause your hamster to dehydrate.
Can Hamsters Eat Brie?
Hamsters shouldn’t eat brie, as it can be difficult for them to chew, given its soft texture. Aged cheeses are also not the best choice for hamsters.
Can Hamsters Eat Cheese Puffs?
Hamsters shouldn’t eat cheese puffs. In fact, they shouldn’t be eating any processed foods at all.
Wrapping It Up
While hamsters can eat cheese, it’s not quite the best snack for them. Give them mozzarella or cottage cheese, but make sure to remove any leftovers from their cage (and mouth).
Wondering if hamsters can eat apples? Or perhaps if hamsters can eat carrots? Read some of our other nutrition guides for your tiny pets!