Adopting a hamster as a pet involves providing them with the appropriate diet, which is typically Timothy hay and hamster food. However, it can also be beneficial if you add healthy fruits and vegetables occasionally as treats, but unfortunately, not all can be safe for this adorable animal. This is when the question arises: Can you give oranges to hamsters, and how often can they eat them? Let’s find out.
Oranges are extremely good for humans because they have vitamin C. However, this highly acidic fruit will cause harmful side effects on your hamster’s sensitive digestive system. It can cause severe diarrhea, digestion issues, and other health concerns such as dental complications and diabetes.
This is why it is necessary to be informed before experimenting with what you think is healthy for your pet. In this case, citric foods are a big no for hamsters. This article will cover the potential effects of giving an orange, orange peel, and any other citrus fruit to a hamster, as well as how often they can eat certain fruits and many more interesting facts that will be beneficial in order to provide them with a healthy diet.
Are Oranges Safe For Hamsters?
Benefits Of Oranges
As you may know, oranges are one of the most popular fruits worldwide, and it also contains various health benefits for humans. One of its main properties is that it is high in fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, and multiple other vitamins and minerals such as thiamine, folate, and potassium.
Also, there is a wide variety of oranges that have different flavors. Some are sweet, and others are very sour. The most common types are mandarin, blood oranges, Valencia, and Navel, which are all part of the citrus family of fruits.
It can help protect your cells from damage, produce collagen, aid the digestive system, prevent kidney stone formation, absorb iron, and boost your immune system. However, these health benefits don’t apply to hamsters.
Even though oranges are incredibly beneficial for humans because they have vitamin C, it is essential to remember that this means that there are high concentrations of citric acid and citrates which can affect a hamster’s digestive system. In addition, this can affect their tooth health by degrading them. Additionally, it contains elevated amounts of sugars which may cause other dental complications and perhaps cause your hamster to develop diabetes.
Since citrus fruits are classified as highly acidic, this can lead to side effects like stomach distress, diarrhea, and other complications. This is why any fruits in the citrus family, such as lemons, tangerines, limes, and grapefruits, should be avoided and left out of your hamster’s diet.
How Often Can Hamsters Eat Oranges?
As said earlier in the article, citrus fruits like oranges should be avoided to prevent hamsters from having digestive issues. Here is when it comes into question how often they can eat it.
Some hamster owners like giving their hamsters small quantities of orange or orange peels. However, even if this is provided in tiny amounts, it is still harmful to them since they are incapable of tolerating the majority of human food.
This is why it is essential to put their safety and health first. Even if it’s tiny portions of oranges, it is better not to take any chances and prevent them from eating them. It would be best if you avoided any citrus family fruits altogether since they may be toxic for them and cause mild to severe stomach irritation.
As an alternative, you can test out new treats to give to your hamsters by making sure they are freshly washed and giving them tiny amounts. Watch out for any side effects or reactions, and if there aren’t any, you can start implementing them into your hamster’s diet.
Can Hamsters Eat Orange Peels?
Orange peels are the skin on the outside of the orange surrounded by the flesh of the fruit’s juice. It also still conserves that sour taste since they are often used in cooking to add more flavor. However, that doesn’t take away the fact that they are still acidic in content. Therefore, it is not recommended to give orange peels to your hamster since it will have the same consequences. Even though some general studies show that hamsters can handle small amounts, veterinarians recommend not incorporating it into hamsters’ diets.
Can Hamsters Eat Mandarin Oranges?
It is unquestionable that Mandarin oranges typically come from a small citrus tree and fall under the Tangerines, Clementines, and Satsumas category, which means they are very similar to regular oranges, except their flavor may differ since they are usually sweeter than regular sour oranges and smaller in size.
From a nutritional perspective, they contain some amount of phosphorus, a higher amount of acidic content, sugar, and calcium, along with being an excellent source of vitamin C. In simpler words, this means that Mandarins aren’t a great alternative to oranges and can still provoke similar health problems because they come from the same fruit family and can be detrimental for the Syrian and Robo species of hamster. Overall, it is not recommended for hamsters to digest these types of fruits and tangerines, lemon, and any other derivative of citrus fruit because the acid it contains can be damaging for these adorable animals.
Healthy Fruits And Diet For Hamsters
We have discussed that any citrus fruit such as oranges, mandarins, tangerines, clementines, lemon, and many others are harmful to hamsters. However, there are some vegetables and fruit that you can give to your pet in order to keep a healthy balanced diet.
Here is a list of alternatives to food to feed your hamster in moderation:
- Fresh Vegetables: Spinach, Romaine lettuce, carrot (in moderation), artichokes, broccoli spears, cauliflower, cucumber, squash, dandelion greens, and any other dark green veggies.
- Fruits: apples (avoid seeds and skin), pears, strawberries, watermelon, and bananas in smaller quantities and less frequently because they are high in sugar. A limit of intake is three to four times a week at most, and the fruits should be fresh and clean.
Some other types of food you can give them are Timothy hay, grains, fresh chlorine-free water, and of course, high-quality hamster food you can buy at the pet shop.
- Citrus Fruit
- Garlic and onions
- Almonds (due to cyanic acid)
- Raw potatoes and beans
- Any sugary or salty food
- Junk food
- Apple seeds
- Peanuts (as an occasional treat)
- Avocado (may cause cardiac glycosides)
- Iceberg lettuce (may provoke liver problems)
- Lemon, lime, tangerine, or any citrus fruit.
- Spicy foods (can lead to indigestion)
- Unwashed fruits and vegetables (because of toxic pesticides)
- Canned foods
To sum up everything stated in the article, it can be concluded that feeding oranges to hamsters can cause severe digestion issues like stomach irritation, diarrhea, and other health concerns like tooth degradation and potential diabetes due to their high concentration of citric acids and sugar.
Another interesting fact is that oranges contain high levels of water, which may cause hamsters to have more water than ten milliliters a day which is the approved amount. So overall, it is not recommended to feed them with citric fruits even if it is provided in small amounts.
Since not all food can be suitable for a hamster’s sensitive tummy, it is best to feed them with hamster pellets or Timothy hay with occasional treats like those recommended on the list.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.