The importance of being mindful of what you give your hamsters to eat cannot be overemphasized. Give them the right type of food, and you’ll grow healthy, and happy pets.
But if my choice, or mistake, you become careless about their feeding, you may end up giving them something toxic, which will consequently ruin their life. And I’m sure you don’t want that, except you don’t love your pet hamster, of course.
But can hamsters eat almonds? Yes, they can. Hamsters eat a wide variety of foods we eat as humans, including fresh fruits and vegetables and nuts like almonds.
As much as almonds are beneficial to hamsters, we should be cautious as it can also be just as risky.
Can Hamster Eat Almonds?
My answer is usually yes and no to this question. Hamsters can eat a moderate quantity of just the sweet almonds but never the bitter variety.
It is usually hard to tell almond varieties apart, and eating even one bitter almond can lead to the death of your furry pet.
Health Benefits of Almonds To Hamsters | Why Hamsters Should Eat Almond
Almonds are nutrient-packed and very good for both humans and hamsters. Some of these benefits include;
1. Eating Almonds helps in weight loss
Eating almonds gives a feeling of satiety to the hamster, reducing the amount of food it would normally eat.
This can be linked to the high fiber content of almonds, which is about 26.5%.
2. Almonds Lower Cholesterol Levels
A healthy amount of almond is beneficial to the overall health of your hamster.
Almonds help prevent a spike in the cholesterol levels of hamsters. The control of cholesterol levels helps prevent cholesterol-related diseases such as heart problems and many others.
3. Helps in Controlling Blood sugar
Almond nuts are very rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E is known to control blood sugar by triggering insulin sensitivity.
Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that protects your pet from oxidative damage.
4. Almonds Aids Digestion and Protects the Digestive System
Almonds are high in dietary fiber, which plays a significant role in the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Dietary fiber is known to keep the digestive tract clean and healthy, thereby making food digestion and absorption easy for your hamster. Almonds also contain about 12.5g of this nutrient.
Risks of Feeding Your Hamsters Almonds
As beneficial as almonds are for hamsters, they can pose a significant health risk even to the point of death.
Some of these risks include;
1. Excessive Weight Gain
Almonds causing weight gain is a sharp contrast to the fact that eating almonds help in weight loss.
Almonds contain high amounts of fats, which can lead to excess weight gain. This extra weight can result in obesity, which poses so many health risks.
Almonds should only be consumed in moderation as treats and not as part of their everyday diet.
Even as treats, you should give your hamsters almonds according to their sizes.
Medium and large hamsters should eat a maximum of one almond in a day. At the same time, the smaller hamsters should only be given half an almond in a day.
2. Choking Hazards
Almonds aren’t the easiest things to eat, even for humans, because of their size.
Hamsters can easily choke on almonds, so always be alert whenever you give your hamster almonds as it results in death.
Watch them closely to spot when it looks like they are choking so you can help them.
3. Death by Cyanide Poisoning
Almonds come in sweet and bitter varieties; the bitter type contains a cyanide compound, which is so potent that even one almond, when consumed, can lead to death.
It is important to note that most packed almonds packaged as the sweet variety contain up to 1% of bitter almonds.
Do not fret because it is legal as the US Department of Agriculture allows it.
For the sole reason that it is legal, you must take a couple of essential steps before giving your hamster almonds to eat.
Steps to Take Before Giving Your Hamster Almonds
It is already a fact that almonds are suitable for hamsters on the one hand and poses a health risk on the other.
Therefore, we must do a few things to limit if not mitigate these risks to ensure our pets’ health and well-being.
These steps include;
Always Buy Shell-less Organic Almonds
Organic foods are safer for both you and your hamster as they are chemical-free.
Non-organic almonds may contain chemicals which when ingested by your hamster, can cause grievous harm.
Like those found in pesticides, these chemicals are usually concentrated on the shell, so it is advised to eliminate them.
Carefully Sort the Almonds
Carefully sort through the almonds to remove the bitter ones. Be on the lookout for any irregularly shaped almond.
Any almond that isn’t perfectly shaped like an almond should be, is a suspect. Bitter almonds are usually shorter and broader than the sweet variety.
Soak Almonds in Hot Water to Remove the Skin
Almonds skin usually irritates the belly of hamsters, causing discomfort to your furry ones.
To remove the skin, you have to first soak the almond in hot water for about 15 minutes to loosen the skin.
This makes it easy for the skin to peel off after it cools. All you have to do is pinch it, and it slides right off.
In addition to removing the skin, most cyanide compounds are heat liable, so soaking the almonds in hot water may go a long way in reducing the cyanide concentration just in case you miss one bitter almond.
Avoid Salted Almonds Completely
Salted almonds should also be avoided at all costs, just as bitter almonds are.
Excess salt can lead to salinity poisoning in your pet. This, in many cases, always results in death.
Also, high sodium foods expose your pets to the risk of high blood pressure and organ failure. Kidneys are the organ most susceptible to the effects of high sodium.
Foods are meant to nourish the body, not kill, so be careful of salted almonds.
Almonds for your hamsters should not contain any type of seasoning, oils, additives, or artificial preservatives.
These additives upset their little bellies and make them very uncomfortable. Only give them fresh almonds that are devoid of the things mentioned above.
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Conclusion | Is Almond Good For Hamsters?
Can hamsters eat almonds? Yes, they can, as they can be very beneficial to the hamster.
They also pose serious health risks if your pet hamster eats a bitter variety. So instead of mistakenly feeding your hamster a bitter almond, it is best to consider safer nuts such as: