Can Hamsters Eat Grapes? All the Fruits and Foods Your Pet Can (and Can't) Eat

Hamsters, the rodents belonging to the subfamily Cricetinae, have long been cherished as small pets suitable for children to keep.

And although hamsters can eat a variety of things, some foods are far better for them than others. As tiny creatures, they only need about 12 milligrams of food per day, so every morsel counts!

The easiest and safest approach for new owners feeding their hamster is to use a complete ready meal from a pet store. However, every now and then some human foods can work well as treats.

So, can hamsters eat grapes or other fruits? And which foods should be avoided? Newsweek asked the experts.

Can Hamsters Eat Grapes?

Unlike cats, dogs or ferrets grapes are generally safe for hamsters, as there is no link between consumption and kidney damage.

PetParentsPro founder Dr. Sy Woon believes any owners wishing to give their pet a sweet treat should know a little piece of grape will be gratefully received—but only in moderation. With that being said, you should never feed your hamster whole grapes, as the high sugar content can cause diarrhea. Grapes with seeds should also be avoided as these can be a choking hazard.

Woon told Newsweek: "While grapes are not toxic to hamsters per se, due to the high sugar content they can cause some major gastrointestinal upset.

"If you are aware of this risk and wish to give it as an occasional treat, it would be safe to do so."

Anna Ewers Clark, a who works in veterinary research and standards at U.K. pet charity Blue Cross agreed, telling Newsweek: "When giving your hamster a treat you'll need to remember that your hamster is very small, so what seems like a tiny portion for a human is likely to be a huge feast for your hamster friend." To find the correct serving, please consult your veterinarian.

She also warned about feeding hamsters too many treats or extras. "This can mean that your hamster won't eat the correct amount of their hamster pellets, which can lead to nutrient imbalances, weight gain and health problems."

Can Hamsters Eat Grapes Like carrots, grapes
Like carrots, grapes are a healthy and generally safe option for herbivores like hamsters Silense/Getty Images

What Fruits Can Hamsters Eat?

Hamsters are also well known for their love of other fruits, including apples, pears, strawberries and bananas. However, PetCo cautions that these should also be given "in moderation, as a supplement to the regular diet."

Fruits should be washed before use as pesticides can pose a danger to your pet. Make sure to remove them if have not been consumed within 24 hours.

Clark said: "Check your hamster's bed each day and remove any fresh food that hasn't been eaten. Rotten or mouldy food can make your hamster very unwell."

Citrus foods on the other hand, should be avoided as their acidity can cause dental and digestive problems.

Fruits to Give Your Hamster (as a Treat)

  • Apples (only the inside)
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Melon
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries

Fruits to Avoid

  • Apple (seeds and skin)
  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Grapefruits
  • Fruit pits

Which Other Foods Can Hamsters Eat?

Clark believes opting to feed your pet food designed for hamsters is the best way to ensure they get the nutrients they need.

"Your hamster's diet should be a complete, hamster pellet which will provide all they need each day."

She continued: "Fresh vegetables, for example a little sprig of broccoli or a small piece kale, can make great hamster treats. You can also feed them a tiny slice of fruit, such as apple, but remember these are often higher in sugar than vegetables."

The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) also suggests an "ideal hamster diet" will include "small amounts of fresh fruit, vegetables or herbs."

Can Hamsters Eat Grapes
Hamsters can eat a small portion of grape, but not regularly Krezofen/Getty Images

Hamsters are actually omnivores in the wild "which means they can eat fruit, vegetables, and animal products like meat (in the wild this would mostly be insects)", Clark said.

Although vet designed pet foods contain protein, there is an easy a way to supplement their diet — eggs!

According to PetKeen, the eggs must be cooked though. Steer clear of giving your hamster raw egg whites as this can cause hair loss, skin problems and more. The quantity should be discussed with your veterinarian as this depends on the size of your hamster.

Clark said: "If you want to give your hamster some boiled egg, this should only be in small amounts as an occasional treat as it is high in calories for them."

Hamster owners should avoid feeding their pets foods that are "very acidic (for example citrus fruits) or high in fat, sugar or salt," she continued.

Find a complete list of foods hamsters can and can't eat below.

What Hamsters Can Eat

  • Dry pellets
  • Seed mixture
  • Food blocks
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Bok choy
  • Parsley
  • Turnip
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Dandelion greens
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Kale

What Hamster Can't Eat

  • Fruit pits
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Eggplant
  • Chocolate
  • Candy
  • Bread
  • Alcohol
  • Tomato leaves
  • Kidney beans
  • Spiced or seasoned products