Bamboo is a type of extra-large grass that is the largest in the grass family. The plant is evergreen and one of the fastest growing in the world making it a great choice for aforestation.
Hamsters have ever-growing teeth that need to be worn down regularly to prevent painful overgrowth. This need makes them require something to chew on constantly.
You could provide them with crunchy veggies like cucumbers and broccoli to chew on. Alternatively, you can offer them sticks to chew on.
Not all sticks will be safe so you will need to be careful when picking the right type for your pet. This brings us to bamboo and whether this giant grass is right for hamsters. Keep reading to find out.
Is bamboo safe for hamsters?
Bamboo is safe for hamsters but some types of bamboo may be unsafe. Store-bought bamboo is generally safer for your pet compared to wild bamboo which could contain harmful bacteria. Bamboo sticks are good to chew snacks for hamsters as they are filled with fiber and are good for weight management as they contain low calories.
Which type of bamboo should be given to hamsters?
Bamboo is found in a wide variety of over 1000 species. You should always be very keen when getting bamboo for your pet.
Wild bamboo can contain harmful bacteria and should not be given to hamsters. Some plants will even look like bamboo when in actuality they are not bamboo while others will even have the bamboo name.
For example, there is heavenly bamboo which is a flowering shrub and not bamboo. Lucky bamboo is another plant that looks like bamboo and is named bamboo but in actuality, it’s a type of water lily.
Not only is wild bamboo unsafe, sometimes store-bought bamboo can be labeled incorrectly making it unsafe. You could get the wrong kind of bamboo or chemically treated bamboo that’s toxic for your pet.
Some can even be coated or waxed. Always purchase your bamboo from reputable pet stores so that you are sure that they are selling you the right product.
Why is bamboo good for hamsters?
Bamboo is good for hamsters because it’s generally a safe plant for them. Reasons you should get bamboo for your pet are:
Hamsters need to maintain the length of their teeth to avoid overgrowing them which brings about other problems. Bamboos serve as good chewing sticks that are hard enough to gnaw at and wear down the teeth without damaging them.
High fiber content
Though bamboo should never replace your pet’s diet, it still serves as a good treaty snack that’s filled with fiber. Fiber aids in digestion.
Hamsters require fiber content in their diet depending on their age. As they grow older, they need more fiber.
Chewing on bamboo will not only wear down their teeth but also provide them with fiber which can help in digestion.
Hamsters can get obese fast if they are fed on foods with high calories. Giving them bamboo is safe as bamboo is very low in calories.
Fiber is a filling nutrient and it makes one feel full for longer. The fiber and low calories in bamboo combined make it good for weight management.
If your pet is trying to lose weight or you don’t want them gaining any unhealthy weight, bamboo will be a good chewing toy that will aid in weight management.
Bamboo alternatives for hamsters
Real bamboo is generally safe unless it’s contaminated with bacteria or chemicals. Wild bamboo or store-bought bamboo that you are not sure of can be unsafe too.
Bamboo alternatives that are just as good or even better for your pet are:
Instead of bamboo, you can buy chew sticks specially made for hamsters. They are affordable and generally safe for your pet.
Chew sticks are made from applewood, balsa wood, or willow wood.
Natural twigs and branches
Instead of buying chew sticks or bamboo, you could still offer natural plants to them. Twigs and branches of trees that are safe for them to eat like pears and apples are good alternatives.
Ensure that the trees were not sprayed before as pesticides can bring about health issues to your pet.
Did you know that hamsters can safely have a dog treat? Not just any treats but hard dog biscuits that are flavorless are great chewy treats for hamsters too.
Crunchy fruits and veggies
Sometimes you don’t need to look far for things that your pet can chew on. Crunchy fruits like apples and veggies like carrots work just fine. Remember to remove seeds from apples as they are toxic.
Things to avoid
You should always avoid buying your pet a cage made of wood. This is because hamsters chew on anything and everything.
They will chew on the wood with their sharp teeth and you wouldn’t want accidents happening where your pet could get hurt by a falling cage.
Switch their toys often. A bored pet will begin chewing on their cage items and bars.
This is going to ruin their teeth and although they will grow back, they will take some time. Give them healthy chew toys instead and change their toys often to prevent them from getting bored.
Bamboo comes in many varieties and it’s easy to confuse it with other similar looking plants.
Safe bamboo should be bought in reputable stores instead of just any regular store that can easily mislabel the grass.
Wild bamboo should be avoided as it could be contaminated. Some bamboo could be waxed or coated making it toxic.
Store-bought bamboo sticks specially made for hamsters are okay for your pet. Other safe alternatives are chew sticks made of apple or balsa wood.
Natural twigs from trees that haven’t been sprayed with toxic chemicals are good for chewing too.
If your pet doesn’t like chewing on wood, you can offer them dog biscuits that are unflavoured or crunchy fruits and veggies.
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