hamster and whole grain bread

Can Hamsters Eat Bread? (Whole-Grain vs White Bread)

Hamsters love their foods, and they are always ready to eat or save it in their pouches for later. If you have introduced many fruits and veggies to your hamster and want to try bread next, you need to know whether it is safe for the hamsters and of which kind.

Hamsters can eat bread without harming their health; however, it must be of a particular bread type and the correct portion size. The best kind of bread is whole grain, and best to avoid white bread as it contains a high sugar amount. White bread can cause your hamster to gain weight and could lead to tooth decay. 

Now we know that hamsters can eat whole grain bread, it does not mean you should feed them bread every day. When it comes to the diet of your pet hamster, you need to be very careful of the portion size and how often you treat them. Bread does not offer much nutritional value to the hamsters, so there is no need to feed it regularly. Small pieces of bread a couple of times each week is perfect for your hamster. Also, consider the quality of the bread as well. While some bread is suitable for hamsters, you should avoid white bread due to the sugar content. 

Best Bread

  • Whole Grain

Worse Bread to Avoid 

  • White Bread

Food Habit of Hamsters

In the wild, the hamsters mostly live on grains. That means their natural diet is made of grains that they find in the wild. Along with grains, the wild hamsters also eat the veggies that they stumble upon. 

However, natural food resources are scarce in the region where the hamsters are found in the wild. The terrains of Syria, China, or Russia do not grow much food suitable for the hamsters. So, most of the time, the wild hamsters have to eat whatever food they find in the wild. They live on the food seeds, grains, and occasionally a couple of veggies. 

Portion Warning

Most humans can eat large quantities of bread without developing any health issues. The same is not valid for hamsters. Even if you scaled the amount of bread to their size, the hamsters should not eat that much. As we have already told you, hamsters love their food and often eat food that will harm them. As a responsible hamster owner, you need to understand portion sizes.

It’s essential to control the portion sizes if you do not want them to fall ill. If you fail to do that, your hamster can become obese, develop diabetes, digestive issues, and many other health problems, all of which can lead to death.

Never add anything to the bread, like butter, peanut butter or jam, must be served plain.

Allergies

It is yet another issue that you need to consider before serving your hamster with bread. Like humans, hamsters also suffer from different food allergies, especially gluten allergies. Wheat bread is hypoallergenic and is the safer option that you can treat your hamster. However, if you are thinking about feeding white bread to your hamster, know that there might be some health issues, so it’s best to avoid white bread.

Salt And Sugar

You should also consider the salt and sugar content of the bread. Some bread manufacturers use sugar in their bread. Some of the bread comes with high salt content as well. If you choose to feed this type of bread to your hamster, it can lead to serious health issues. So check the ingredients list of the bread before purchasing it for your pet hamster. 

Amount

Bread is not harmful to your hamster, but you should avoid incorporating it into their diet regularly. If you still want to incorporate bread into their diet, add only a few pieces depending on the size of your pet. While a Syrian hamster can digest more bread, you should not offer the same amount of bread to a dwarf hamster. 

Most of the hamsters in captivity suffer from obesity. As your hamster does not have much scope to burn all the energy, you should steer clear from offering them fattening food like bread that does not provide nutritional value. 

The same goes for diabetes. Even though you can check the genetics of your hamsters, diet can directly influence the genes. So, even if your hamster was not prone to diabetes initially, it can develop diabetes if the diet is not balanced. 

The moral of the story is, you should not be scared if your hamster nibbles on bread crumbs once a month or so. However, it would help if you did not actively feed bread to your hamster.

  • Amount: one small 1cm x 1cm piece a month

Health Benefits of Bread

White bread contains calcium and iron; it does not have other significant vitamins or nutrients. Calcium in bread helps to boost the bone strength of hamsters. It also improves the cardiovascular health of your pet. Iron, on the other hand, helps to strengthen the immunity system of your hamster. 

On the other hand, whole wheat bread has protein and magnesium. The magnesium improves the neurological system of your hamster and strengthens the cardiovascular muscles. The protein enhances the immunity system keeping your hamster fit and healthy. However, most hamsters will get all these nutrients from their well-balanced daily food.

The Health Risks of Overfeeding

So, what happens if you overfeed hamsters on bread? Apart from the weight gain, overfeeding the bread will lead to joint issues and circulatory problems. If your pet is already overweight, you need to consult with veterinary professionals right away.

Recommended read – List of good and bad treats for hamsters

Conclusion

The negative impacts of offering bread to your hamster do surpass all its benefits. If you research a bit, you will find many seeds, veggies, and fruits can provide better nutrients than bread will offer to your hamster, that too with half of the carb load of the bread. All in all, your pet can eat bread pieces once in a blue moon without developing any problems, but it is better not to turn it into a habit.

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