Is your hamster extra special? Of course! Do you want to show your hamster some extra love by providing treats? Which should you use? Store bought or homemade? Depending on the type of treat, we like to give our hamsters mainly homemade treats. But there are a few store bought treats we prefer as well. So, which ones are best for your hamster?
Vanity treats may contain little nutrition. Just like store-bought treats for humans can be bad, the same can be true with hamster treats. Those colorful small animal treats packaged to mock assorted human treats could be very bad for your little critter. Remember that the more colorful the treat, the more dyes were likely used to create it. Also consider the texture. Is the substance natural? Sure these treats may smell and look good. But are they really the best choice for your hamster?
Watch the ingredients. The only ingredients that should be in your hamster's treats are those that come from nature. There is no reason to give hamsters chemical or sugar-induced treats. Not all hamsters have the same dietary needs. Ask your vet for a list of foods that are appropriate for your hamster. Read the labels of store-bought treats. Also watch what you put into homemade treats. Any treat containing anything other than what's on that list should be avoided.
Fruity treats may sound good, but could be bad. Especially avoid sugar, even in some fruits, if you have dwarf hamsters. Fruit should be limited to an occasional treat in many hamsters. But dwarf hamsters are most susceptible to diabetes. There are only certain fruits that dwarf hamsters should have access to and those should only be given on a limited basis. Many store-bought hamster treats contain fruit ingredients that could be dangerous to your pet.
Can my hamster have hay? Timothy and alfalfa are common hays given as treats to small animals. Should hamsters have hay? Yes. Hay is safe for most hamsters. Though again, you should consult with your hamster's vet for proper nutrition geared toward that animal. Each animal has its own needs. Obviously in this instance, store-bought hay as a treat makes more sense than growing and drying it yourself. Small animals do not consume enough for harvesting your own to make sense.
Stick to natural-looking treats. One rule of thumb that we always follow with both homemade and store-bought treats is sticking to authentic snacks. If we go store-bought, our hamsters will get things like natural trail mix formulated for hamster diets, dried vegetables, and other things that are not altered. Store-bought does not necessarily mean a treat is bad. But when you are not hand-picking each ingredient yourself, you just need to be more cautious for the health and safety of your pet.
*Information herein is based on the author's personal experiences as a hamster owner and is not meant to replace the advice of a professional. Always consult an appropriately-licensed animal care specialist for the health of your animals.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network