14 Foods That Are Dangerous To Hamsters

by Lee Pham
Top 14+ Dangerous Foods For Hamsters

Top 14+ Dangerous Foods For Hamsters – As a hamster owner, you’re probably wondering about avoiding dangerous foods for your little voracious cuties. They love the occasional treat – don’t we all? – but some things can be harmful to an animal, even more so to a small critter like a hamster. To help you out, we’re prepared a list of the dangerous foods you must avoid.

Top 14+ Dangerous Foods For Hamsters

Here’s a list of foods you should not feed your hamster (or feed in extreme moderation) –

  1. Bitter Almonds
  2. Unwashed vegetables
  3. Black/white Pepper (the seasoning type)
  4. Garlic
  5. Onions
  6. Tomatoes
  7. Potatoes
  8. Beans
  9. Processed sugary foods
  10. Junk food (snacks)
  11. Peanuts
  12. Fatty meats
  13. Raw rhubarb
  14. Chocolate

Surprised by some of these? We were too. Keep reading to learn which of these can be fed in moderation and which are absolutely big no-no’s, and to see why an innocent looking lettuce or celery could, in fact, harm your hamster.

Which Foods Are Harmful To Hamsters – And Why

A wild hamster’s diet is made of vegetables, roots, some nuts, insects and even small lizards when they can catch them. In other words, hamsters are omnivorous and need a varied diet to stay healthy.

Owners of pet hamsters should rely on high-quality commercial hamster pellets to provide their family pet with a balanced nutrition.

Trying to diversify your hamster’s diet is not necessarily a bad idea. Diversity is good – for a hamster’s health and general well-being. As long as you make sure most of your hamster’s diet is balanced (usually by means of providing a quality hamster-specific commercial food), adding fresh fruit and veggies is a great idea.

However, once you go beyond commercial food and treats, you need to pay special attention to what it is you’re giving your hamster. Feeding the wrong foods can definitely be risky for the well-being of your pet.

A Note About Quantities

Even when feeding a seemingly safe food as a treat, make sure you limit the quantity. These are goodies and should be limited to up to 5% of your hamster’s diet – the rest of it should be made up of quality well balanced hamster food.

Pay special focus on fruits of all kinds. Fruits are high in sugar content and while they provide important nutrients, they should only be fed in very small amounts. Even a whole grape is too large for your hamster.

As a rule of thumb, limit fruit and other treats to approximately half-a-teaspoon worth, no more than 2-3 times a week.

Dangerous Foods For Hamsters

If you’re already feeding your hamster the foods on this list, we recommend you stop doing so immediately. While not every food is fatal, they’re all a bad choice of snack for your furry friend.

Can Hamsters Eat Almonds?

If you obtain bitter almonds, the consequences could be deadly. These almonds contain emulsin, an enzyme, that produces essential oils, cyanide, and blood sugar. Compared to nice almonds, bitter almonds have 42x the cyanide. In case your hamster eats too much cyanide, it’ll kill them.

Bitter almonds contain a substance called amygdalin, which is metabolized into hydrogen cyanide when ingested. Hydrogen cyanide is a highly toxic compound that can cause serious health problems and even death in animals, including hamsters.
Hamsters are particularly sensitive to cyanide poisoning due to their small size and fast metabolism. Even a small amount of bitter almonds or other foods containing cyanide can cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing, lethargy, seizures, and even sudden death.
Therefore, it is important to avoid feeding bitter almonds or any other foods that contain cyanide to hamsters. Instead, hamsters should be fed a balanced diet of commercial hamster food and fresh fruits and vegetables that are safe for them to eat.

Can hamsters eat Unwashed Vegetables

It is not recommended to feed unwashed vegetables to hamsters as they may contain harmful chemicals, pesticides, or other contaminants that could be harmful to your pet’s health. Washing vegetables can help remove any potentially harmful substances and reduce the risk of your hamster ingesting them.
In addition, unwashed vegetables may also harbor harmful bacteria or parasites that could cause digestive problems or other health issues in your hamster. It is important to wash vegetables thoroughly before feeding them to your hamster to ensure that they are clean and safe to eat.
To wash vegetables for your hamster, simply rinse them under running water and gently scrub them with a vegetable brush if necessary. Make sure to remove any dirt, debris, or damaged parts before offering them to your hamster. It is also important to offer vegetables in moderation, as too much can upset your hamster’s digestive system.

Can hamsters eat Peppers, Garlic, And Onions?

While hamsters can eat some vegetables, peppers, garlic, and onions are not recommended for hamsters. These vegetables can cause digestive problems and even be toxic to hamsters when consumed in large amounts.
Peppers, especially spicy ones, can cause irritation in the digestive tract of hamsters, leading to diarrhea or stomach upset. Garlic and onions contain compounds that can be harmful to hamsters in large quantities, potentially causing anemia or damage to their red blood cells.
If you want to offer vegetables to your hamster, it is best to stick to safe options such as carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, or leafy greens like spinach or lettuce. Remember to always introduce new foods gradually and in small amounts to avoid upsetting your hamster’s digestive system.

Can hamsters eat Tomatoes?

Tomatoes are not toxic to hamsters and can be fed to them in moderation as a treat. However, tomatoes are also quite acidic and contain a lot of water, which can upset a hamster’s stomach or cause diarrhea if they eat too much.
To feed tomatoes to your hamster, make sure to wash them thoroughly and remove the stem and leaves. Offer a small piece of tomato as an occasional treat, rather than as a regular part of their diet.
Remember to always introduce new foods gradually and in small amounts, as sudden changes in a hamster’s diet can upset their digestive system. If you notice any signs of digestive upset or unusual behavior after feeding your hamster tomatoes or any other new food, it is best to stop feeding it and consult with a veterinarian.

Can hamsters eat Potatoes And Beans?

Hamsters can eat potatoes in moderation as a treat, but they should not be a regular part of their diet. Potatoes contain a lot of carbohydrates and starch, which can be difficult for hamsters to digest and can cause digestive upset or diarrhea if they eat too much.
Beans, on the other hand, are not recommended for hamsters. Beans are high in protein and fiber, which are not essential nutrients for hamsters and can cause digestive problems if they eat too much.
It is best to stick to safe vegetables and fruits that are recommended for hamsters, such as carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, and leafy greens like spinach or lettuce. Remember to always introduce new foods gradually and in small amounts, as sudden changes in a hamster’s diet can upset their digestive system. If you are unsure about whether a particular food is safe for your hamster, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian.

Top 14+ Dangerous Foods For Hamsters

Processed Sugary Foods

Some fruits & vegetables you may feed as treats to your hamster have naturally-occurring sugar in them. Included in these are skinless nice potatoes, apples, bananas, and so on. Those are fine to provide to your hamster. It’s processed sugars you will need to be concerned about.

Just like refined sugars can enhance our urges and increase our waistlines, they don’t do our hamsters any favors, either. Eating them can cause your hamster to get weight, which may be harmful to its health. Their tooth may also be adversely affected, as your hamster’s chompers could rot. You understand, similar to ours do if we enjoy too much glucose.

When you should avoid directly feeding your hamster any sugary chemicals, double-check the packaged foods you give it. Understand that sugar can masquerade as much different titles, including:

  • Monk fruit
  • Sucanat
  • Panocha
  • Golden syrup
  • Treacle
  • Diastatic malt
  • Galactose
  • Maltrose
  • Sucrose
  • Fructose
  • Glucose or glucose solids
  • Corn syrup
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Fruit juice and fruit juice concentrate
  • Brown rice syrup

In the event that you see some of those substances (as well as whatever leads to “sugars”) on the ingredients set of your hamster’s food, it’s time to change brands.

Chips And Other Junk Food

We hope this is going without saying, however your hamster will not want chips, candy, cakes, cookies, or any other junk food. The same applies to your cats, pups, and other home domestic pets. The high sugars and/or sodium content in these food types can result in annoyed stomachs, diarrhea, and dehydration.

There’s also the processed elements, that are no good. These may be hard to break down for little stomachs like your hamster’s. It’s fine if you yourself want to partake in a few processed foods, but keep it from your pet!

Top 14+ Dangerous Foods For Hamsters


Peanuts will often include a toxin known as aflatoxin. The Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus flavus will be the two fungi accountable for making aflatoxins. The fungi choose humid and warm conditions to thrive.

Relating to Dr. Alicia McLaughlin, DVM, aflatoxins can be there in small amounts in virtually any peanut-product you feed. These smaller amounts are enough to kill a hamster. Even though you only give food to a small little bit of a peanut, it could be fatal IF it happens to contain aflatoxins.

Even human-grade peanuts can contain smaller amounts of aflatoxins, and a little amount for one is a big amount for a hamster. Nourishing peanuts to small pets is similar to playing Russian roulette – the majority of the time you’ll be fine, but there’s always an opportunity that maybe it’s deadly.

Fatty Meats

While it’s ok to give food to insects, beef is not really a natural food for hamsters. Relating to Dr. McLaughlin, the chance of obesity, cardiovascular disease, liver organ disease, and kidney disease warrants staying away from meats in your hamster’s diet.

You could attempt smaller amounts of poultry or salmon on rare events – but even those aren’t necessary.

Raw Rhubarb

Unless you’ve found this out the hard way personally, then you will possibly not know that you’re not likely to eat raw rhubarb. Usage can sometimes business lead to uterine contractions, watery diarrhea, and intestinal pain. In the event that you continue steadily to eat it, you could later get an irregular heartrate, bone reduction, and muscle weakness.

This is exactly what happens when people eat rhubarb, incidentally. If the veggie can do this much harm to us, then why give it to your hamster? Any area of the rhubarb-be that the stalk, the ends, or the leaves-should not be fed to your hamster raw. While prepared rhubarb is okay in small amounts, you don’t want to risk it?


We already mentioned that your hamster should be restricted from sugary treats, but we wanted to mention chocolate specifically. Dark chocolate is the worst offender, but obviously you should not feed your hamster any kind of chocolates.

Why is that? Chocolate has theobromine, a bitter alkaloid that naturally occurs in cacao plants. It’s also in the kola nut and tea plant leaves (so keep your hamster away from those, too). In hamsters, theobromine can lead to circulatory issues.

If you’ve had a cat or dog in the past, you already know not to give food to them delicious chocolate. Extend this practice to your hamster as well.

Have A Healthy, Happy Hamster!

As the above information will be a lot to keep an eye on, it’s imperative you need to do so for your hamster’s health. In the event that you don’t feel safe nourishing your hamster something, then don’t get it done.

Keeping them on a straightforward diet of pellets and limited fruits & vegetables won’t trouble them whatsoever. Actually, it’s most likely the best answer for both family pet and owner! Don’t neglect to learn here more in what treats it is possible to give your hamster.

This post was written with help from Dr. Alicia McLaughlin, DVM. Dr. McLaughlin received her DVM level from Oklahoma Condition University and is currently an associate vet at THE GUTS for Parrot and Exotic Pet Medication in Bothell, WA. Dr. McLaughlin is an associate of the American Veterinary Medical Association as well as the Association of Amazing Mammal Veterinarians, among other professional organizations.

Your hamsters’ health depends upon what they eat which is the goal of the post. But imagine if you’re concern about the diseases these hamsters may have. Check out 7 Hamster MEDICAL ISSUES Every Owner Must Know About.

Also, you must know the limitations of what your dog must consume, Have a look at How exactly to Feed Hamsters.

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