Cheese is by far one of my favourite things to snack on, even though sometimes it gives me an upset stomach. It’s easy to cut up, it’s perfect on crackers and we almost always have it in the fridge!
It is easy for us as pet parents to get tempted to give our pets human foods, especially if we are having a quick snack ourselves. I know every so often when we have carrots we will cut up little pieces for our chinchilla as we did for our hamster.
Thing is cheese is tricky. It makes some humans feel sick, it’s not good for cats, so will it be the same for hamsters?
Due to the fact that hamsters are part of the subfamily Cricetinae, they must be looked at very differently than us or even cats. This also means that a hamster is considered a rodent and rodents are known for eating cheese!
SO SHOULD HAMSTERS EAT CHEESE?
Hamsters can definitely enjoy cheese, but only on the odd occasion.
WHAT KIND OF CHEESE CAN I FEED MY HAMSTER?
You’re going to want to be careful about what cheese you feed your hamster. First, begin by ensuring that the cheese you have selected is not processed. Processed cheese does not usually sit well with hamsters.
It is also important to make sure that the cheese you select is mild and is low in fat. Avoid any additives, peppers or flavouring to ensure the health of your hamster.
Hamsters are also able to eat cottage cheese.
Absolutely avoid any blue cheese (stilton cheese) as it is extremely toxic to hamsters.
HOW MUCH CHEESE CAN I FEED A HAMSTER?
It is recommended that you feed your hamster a very small piece of cheese at a time. Always start out with very, very little to see how your hamster takes to the cheese.
Monitor your hamster without feeding cheese for the next few days to see whether or not their behaviour changes or whether or not they have any bowel changes. If anything does change, please stop feeding your hamster cheese immediately.
I would recommend using a cheese shredder and feeding your hamster one shred at a time until you are certain that they have no intolerance to cheese.
As with cottage cheese, it is recommended that you feed no more than 1 teaspoon a week of cheese.
HOW OFTEN CAN I FEED MY HAMSTER CHEESE?
It is recommended that you limit the amount of cheese that your hamster gets to a maximum of once per week.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I OVERFEED CHEESE TO MY HAMSTER?
When feeding cheese the biggest worries you’re going to have are diabetes, obesity and diarrhea.
Symptoms as “small” as diarrhea can be fatal to a hamster and may require fluid therapy or other forms of assistance from the vet. Because of this, it’s extremely important that you keep an eye out on your hamster for up to a few days after feeding the cheese.
IS CHEESE CONSIDERED BENEFICIAL FOR HAMSTERS?
While cheese does have some great nutrients in it for hamsters, it is not considered enough for pet parents to add cheese into every hamsters’ diet.
That being said, if you do decide to feed cheese to your hamster on a regular basis make sure not to overfeed. Overfeeding can happen very quickly, especially if your hamster is a big fan of cheese.
Hamsters may even choose to reject their regular feed in favour of cheese. Though this is true, if a hamster is not fed cheese regularly, but instead occasionally, this does not usually happen.
Although cheese is considered safe for hamsters to eat, it is going to be important that you select a mild, low-fat cheese or cottage cheese.
Cheese should always be limited when feeding a hamster. Make sure to always start by feeding a small amount of cheese at first to make sure that your hamster doesn’t have an intolerance to cheese. If you do not notice any changes in your hamster’s behaviour or bowel movements, you may proceed by feeding cheese.
You should never feed more than a few shreds of cheese a week or 1 teaspoon of cottage cheese per week.
If ever you are concerned with your hamster’s health or they are exhibiting inappropriate behaviour or diarrhea make sure that you contact your vet immediately. Diarrhea can often be fatal to a hamster and must receive some vet intervention to ensure the wellbeing of your hamster.
When in doubt, steer away from cheese because there isn’t a whole lot of benefit to feeding it to your hamster. Instead, think about feeding your hamster another snack!
So pet parents, I’m curious, do you feed your hamsters cheese? What did they think of it? Let me know in the comments below!