While they get most of their nutritional requirements from their regular diet, giving your hamster a treat from time to time can be a great way to show your affection. However, not all human food is safe for hamsters. Some, like chocolate and alcohol, can prove deadly to these tiny mammals.
But how about almonds? Are they safe for the lovely little creatures? Well, you are just about to discover that and even much more about almonds and hamsters.
It’s okay for your hamster to eat almonds. However, that comes with serious precautions. Bitter almonds, salted almonds, and those containing extra oils aren’t good for your furry friend. Otherwise, you can give your hamster almonds and chances are that your pet will love them.
What are Almonds?
Before we get to the core of our today’s topic, it’s important to learn a few things about almonds.
You may have heard of almond milk or almond butter. Well, this is the secret behind them. Almonds are small seeds that come from a plant known as Prunus dulcis. These plants grow in much of North Africa and parts of Asia including Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, and India. The fruit of the plant contains a seed that turns into an edible nut once it ripens.
Almonds are similar to other nuts such as walnuts, pistachios, and cashews. However, almonds contain more nutrients than the rest. Hence, they make a healthy treat, not just for humans but also for their little furry buddies.
Why You Should Give Your Hamster Almonds?
As seen earlier, it’s okay to proceed with precaution when giving almonds to hamsters. But why should you give your furry little friend almonds, to begin with?
Well, you should because these nuts are a great snack for hamsters. They deliver plenty of health benefits to your furry canine. Here are a few of these benefits!
Almonds contain healthy fats and proteins that prove to be beneficial for your pet’s muscles and heart. They not only provide the energy but also maintain a good body temperature throughout winter and summer.
Again, you can count on almonds to lower the cholesterol levels of your hamster. I mean, these treats work to reduce oxidized LDL cholesterol, which is a major cause of heart disease.
In addition, almonds are excellent sources of Vitamin E. This one is important for a healthy skin and fur coat. It also helps your hamster fight stress and battle with the free radicals that cause cancer.
We must also acknowledge that almonds can go a long way to promote the dental health of your little four-legged furry friend, owing to the dietary fiber they contain.
Moreover, almonds are a rich source of protein, fiber, and magnesium. Other nutrients include calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, and potassium. And with all the nutritional content they have, almonds can be an incredible health boost for hamsters.
How Much Almonds Should You Give To Your Pet?
Any hamster food, whether common food or snack needs to be given in moderation. When talking about foods with high-fat content like hamsters, we can’t emphasize enough on the need for moderation. This is because hamsters, just like our other furry friends, love to eat and will keep on eating until their stomachs burst.
And now to the quantity; how much almonds should you give to your hamster?
Now, when it comes to matters of how much food to give to your hamster, it depends on the breed of hamster you have. If it is a Syrian hamster, then your pet can enjoy more almonds than any of the other breeds.
Robo kinds come second in terms of the amount of consumption while the Dwarf hamsters come last meaning that they should eat the least amount of almonds of all hamsters.
Let’s break it down!
How Many Almonds Should A Syrian Hamster Eat?
Since it’s the largest of all varieties of hamsters, the Syrian type is the one that eats the most. So how many almonds should a Syrian hamster have?
Well, one almond should be fine for your beloved pet. Keep in mind that you should only use almonds for treats and not as your regular hamster diet. In fact, though Syrian hamsters can feed on almonds daily, we only recommend them a few days a week.
How Many Almonds Should A Robo Hamster Eat?
When we get to Robo hamster, it’s not about how “many” but how “much”. That’s because this type of hamsters eat less than their Syrian cousins, meaning that they can’t exceed a single almond per day.
Talking of the amount of almonds you should give to Robo hamsters, it’s actually around half of what you’d give their cousins; the Syrian breed. That means you can only offer your Robo friend about half an almond every day.
Again, we don’t recommend that you make almonds a regular part of their diet though.
How Many Almonds Should A Dwarf Hamster Eat?
These are the smallest members of the hamster family. They are way smaller than the average hamster. That means they should take less amount of food than what Syrian and Robo hamsters eat.
So, how many almonds should a Dwarf hamster have? We recommend that you give your furry friend half of an almond per day. And no more than that of course!
And when we say “No More of that”, we actually mean you stick to it. Keep in mind that dwarf hamsters are the most likely to develop health issues such as obesity and diabetes.
Health Risks of Almonds
While there are several health benefits your hamster gets from feeding on almonds, we must also face the fact that this tasty treat can also cause mild to severe health issues.
Large Fat Content:
One is that almonds have a massive fat content. so when fed with a large quantity of it, your furry friend might develop health problems such as obesity, lethargy, and high blood sugar levels.
You don’t want your pocket pet to experience any of these especially because they are life-threatening conditions.
Therefore, just as with sugary fruits and foods, avoid giving excessive amounts of almonds to your pet to avoid making your hamster overweight and to keep them from other threats mentioned.
Plus, almonds can be a choking hazard, especially for the smaller hamster breeds like Robo and Dwarf. Choking is likely to happen when you are feeding your pet almonds together with the shell.
You can avoid such instances by ensuring that you feed your hamster with pre-chopped or crushed almonds for better safety. That should even apply to Syrian hamsters whose intake is an almond a day.
Also, make sure that you keep an eye on your hamster, especially when it’s their first time to eat with almonds. Accidents are more likely to happen the first time they try something new.
Some Almonds Can Make Your Hamster Sick:
It’s good you take note of the “some” in the point above. You see, even though almonds are healthy and very nutritious, it’s worth noting that not all of them are safe to be fed to your furry friend.
A case in point of almonds you should never feed your pet is the salted variety. Salted almonds or the ones containing preservatives and flavors may be safe for humans. However, things aren’t the same for the furry friend.
The high sodium content in salted almonds can cause diarrhea, dehydration, and intoxication when they gobble up these treats. That’s especially if you have a sensitive hamster or one who isn’t used to eating salted nuts at all!
Therefore, ensure that you always give your hammy plain almonds containing no preservatives, flavors, or salts of whatsoever kind.
Some Almonds Are Poisonous:
Again, we have to say “some” because not all almonds are poisonous to hamsters. However, even the safe ones will still cause health problems given a large quantity of them.
The poisonous kind will cause issues even when taken in little amounts. So, what are some of these toxic almonds?
Well, as we stated at the beginning of the article, avoid bitter almonds. That’s because these almonds contain a high concentration of cyanide acid. Cyanide is a chemical compound that the human body cannot metabolize.
So, when consumed in any amount, these chemicals can cause issues such as dizziness, headache, and even nausea to your hamster.
On top of that, this type of almond contains amygdalin which is a neurotoxin. It’s not good for humans either but with your hamster being tinier, this toxin can be very dangerous.
What Other Nuts Can You Give To Your Hamsters?
Nuts are generally a great treat for your hammy. That’s because not only are safe, but they also have a lot of proteins and vitamins that can benefit your pocket pet a lot. And while almond nuts are great, we have other varieties in the nut family that are also a guarantee to be a delight for your pet. They include;
The three types of nuts make for a perfect alternative to almonds. However, always remember that all nuts are calorie-rich and need to be given in moderation to prevent health issues.
In a nutshell, while almonds are good for your hamster’s health, they also have a lot of calories. That means you need to ensure that you give them in moderation to avoid your furry friend from gaining too much weight or developing any other health conditions caused by bulky calorie intake.
Again, avoid salted almonds because of the high sodium content. Plus, don’t go for bitter almonds either because they contain a neurotoxin that can be dangerous to your hamster’s health. Finally, make sure you read the label before choosing any brand of almond nuts to feed your furry friend.