Hamsters are little gluttons, aren’t they? Notorious eaters – hamsters can fit foods in their mouths that seem borderline impossible due to their size, but they can, and they do. I would have no problem betting the right hamster could fit an entire cherry tomato inside their cheek pouch, but that is not the subject we will touch on today.
Tomatoes are not safe as you would think. You can put them in your hamster’s bowl but in strict moderation.You can meet most of your hamster’s nutritional needs with quality pellet food that you buy at the store, but fruit and vegetables can and should be a component of your hamster’s diet.
Chances are that your pet hamster would enjoy some tomatoes and what’s not to love about them? We, humans, use them for tons of stuff that range from salsa, seasoning, salad, soups, and juices, to name a few. Depending on where you are from, they are delicious fruits or vegetables, but when it comes to hamsters, we must be a tad more cautious than that.
Can I Feed Tomatoes To My Hamster?
For the most part, you can feed your hamster tomatoes as long as they are adults. Nevertheless, it is recommended against babies because tomatoes are very acidic, and this is where the subject broadens as far as safety. The acid in tomatoes could cause your hamster to suffer from diarrhea, which can lead to severe dehydration, which is notably harsher on younger hamsters.
A hamster only needs about a teaspoon’s worth of fruit and vegetables every day, and tomatoes do not possess any individual nutritional value that other foods do not have. Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and celery and fruits like strawberries, peaches, mangoes, apples, and cherries are more than viable replacements for tomatoes. You can certainly add it to their diet, not as a staple but as a rare treat. Too much tomato could dehydrate your hamster and lead to fatal complications if not addressed quickly.
How Much Tomato Could I Feed My Hamster?
We have already established that we can feed them tomatoes and that the serving should be about a teaspoon. However, if you are feeding your hamster tomatoes for the first time, we strongly recommend you closely supervise this event to observe how it reacts. If your hamster does not like it or has a weird reaction to it, then you can remove it from their diet altogether.
Are There Any Downsides To Feeding Tomatoes To My Hamster?
More importantly, it is essential, vital, and paramount that you never feed your hamster tomato leaves, any of its green parts, or green tomatoes in general to your hamster as it will surely make it sick. Leafs and green anything on tomatoes has a concentrated amount of tomatine, an alkaloid that causes digestive track issues and even neurological ones. You can see how there is a latent potential for toxicity in tomatoes as far as hamsters are concerned.
How Should I Feed Tomatoes To My Hamster?
You can feed your hamster some tomatoes the same way you would give it any other treat, and that is by holding it close and ensuring the act is more than just feeding but a way to strengthen the social bond you share with your hamster. Eat some of the tomatoes yourself first to test for taste and any pesticides and feed it to your hamster with the most vigorous certainty that there are no remnants of green on the vegetable.
Are There Symptoms To Watch Out For?
If your hamster happens to love tomatoes, as it can turn out sometimes, then you have to limit its consumption to a few times a week and in minimal quantities to avoid the acid reaching overwhelming levels inside the hamster and causing severe dehydration. A dehydrated hamster will look increasingly lazy and weak. It will be unwilling to eat and will appear to have sunken eyes.
Another symptom would be your hamster skin losing its elasticity due to poor circulation. You can test this by gently pulling on your hamster’s skin and see whether it quickly goes back to its place or it hangs out a little longer. If the latter is happening, then dehydration is definitely among the ailments that your hamster is going through. Any of these symptoms occur after eating a tomato, even if it weren’t a vast amount of it, then perhaps a visit to your veterinarian would be in your pet’s best interest.
Try giving your hamster a tiny little piece of the vegetable and watch over the rodent for about 12 hours to determine if there is any discomfort or any abnormal evacuation. If there seem to be no side effects, then you can trust your hamster won’t have any unwanted and dangerous reaction to it as long as the quantity of the red tomato is minimal. Needless to say, the quality of the tomato and ensuring that it is entirely red is also a strong runner-up on the list to guarantee.
Once your hamster processes the vegetable accordingly and without hiccups, then you can carefully rotate it into its diet about once or twice per week, constantly monitoring that it is never too much and too late.
Does The Size Of My Hamster Matter?
The size of the tomato is an essential factor, but the size of the hamster also is. An average Syrian or Golden hamster could surely eat a slightly more significant portion of tomatoes than other kinds, such as dwarf hamsters, which, as the name suggests, are even smaller than their counterparts.
Green vegetables are generally a great addition to your hamster’s diet, but there is a clear exception with tomatoes. The tomato must be ripe, red, and have all of its leaves and green components stripped away before attempting to feed it to your hamster. It should only be done as a treat and never as an essential ingredient to your hamster’s daily diet. There are many other sources of vitamins that tomatoes possess without all the potentially deadly consequences.
Worth The Risk?
Maybe not, but you would be surprised at the ease and enjoyment your hamster could down a bit of tomato, perhaps no different from the way a lactose-intolerant individual would pay the ultimate price for a double cheese pizza with cheese crust. Without getting too philosophical, it could be that all living things come to yearn for the things that hurt a little bit.
Put mildly, things that kill us make us feel alive, and this is the dilemma that you find yourself in when you choose whether or not tomatoes are an excellent vegetable to feed your hamster with. As a pet owner, I would recommend against it altogether since no actual nutritional benefits accompany these hazardous side effects. There are many other fruits and vegetables that your hamster can enjoy just as much and, if we abstain from ever feeding it tomatoes, it will never come to want. You cannot miss what you never had.
Given all the ways it can go wrong. The lack of a real benefit, even if your hamster can eat tomatoes without any virtual issue, there is no motivation to give this vegetable to your hamster unless your pet likes it. It is the first thing it eats out of the vegetable bowl you place inside the pen, then you may be considering it, but it is not wise to overindulge our pet with this treat.
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.