Healthy and fresh ingredients should be on your hamster’s menu every day.
But what about dandelions?
Whether hamsters tolerate dandelion and to what extent it may even be a delicacy for the small rodents, you will learn in this article.
Are hamsters allowed to eat dandelion?
Yes, hamsters are allowed to eat dandelions. The plant, otherwise known as a weed, enriches the diet and is harmless as long as it is fed in the right amounts. This, in turn, depends on the size of the hamster.
The advantages of dandelion for the hamster
Dandelion is rich in water, provides the hamster with fiber and also contains important micronutrients:
Vitamins and minerals contribute to the supply of vital substances necessary for the normal functioning of body processes.
In addition, there are secondary plant substances that also contribute to maintaining health.
However, in order for your pet to benefit, you must pay attention to the quantity, the preparation of the dandelion and the type of plant parts. Because not all sections of the plant are safe for the hamster.
Above all, the amount of food is crucial!
Potential risks when feeding dandelion
As with any food, too much dandelion can be harmful to your hamster’s health.
Protein, for example, is desperately needed by your hamster in his diet. However, if you feed too much of it, it can damage the kidneys. The situation is similar with dandelion.
Since it is rich in vitamin C, it has a diuretic effect and can cause diarrhea. These are the typical side effects of an oversupply of the important vitamin.
In addition, there are other potential problems:
Oversupply and deficiencies
If the hamster fills its stomach or cheek pouches with the leaves or flowers, it is quickly full afterwards.
As a result, he may not eat anything else. The problem is that other important nutrients are missing.
If this happens only occasionally, you don’t have to worry. However, if dandelions are fed daily, deficiencies can occur. At the same time, the hamster will be oversupplied with the highly concentrated micronutrients from the plant.
Moreover, if your hamster is very fond of dandelion, he may overeat on it and gain considerable weight if given unlimited amounts. Therefore, it makes sense and is recommended that you do not offer the fresh food daily and even then only limited rations.
How much dandelion is optimal?
How much and how often you can feed dandelion depends on the size and weight of your hamster.
A golden hamster weighs between 85 and 150 grams. Dwarf hamsters, on the other hand, only weigh between 20 and 30 grams. This significant difference in body weight should also be reflected in the amount of food.
For golden hamsters and other larger breeds and species, up to three teaspoons of dandelion per week is possible. For dwarf varieties, three teaspoons per animal should be spread over a month.
Fresh dandelion is rich in water and therefore has a larger volume. Even finely chopped or finely chopped, you may therefore give heaped teaspoons of it.
Dried dandelion is more concentrated, but also has a somewhat lower vitamin content. This is because the nutrients are reduced by contact with air, heat and light. Here, therefore, it may only be level teaspoons, so as not to risk over-supply.
Which parts of the dandelion may be fed?
Suitable as food for your hamster are leaves and flowers.
Seeds and roots are not known to cause health problems. You should therefore refrain from feeding them.
How should the dandelion be prepared as hamster food?
Even if the maximum amount is observed, the dandelion can still pose a risk to health. However, this is not due to the substances it contains, but depends on where you harvested the leaves and flowers.
If it comes from the garden or from a wayside, you must expect various dangers. Among them:
Residues of exhaust fumes
Beetles and other insects
It is therefore imperative that you thoroughly rinse and clean the plant parts before feeding. In addition, you should not pick the dandelion in places where dogs often urinate or where there is a high volume of exhaust fumes.
If the plants are right next to a field, you have to reckon with pesticides. Leaves and flowers are therefore contaminated and must be cleaned all the more thoroughly.
However, it is generally better to grow the plant in a pot. This way it is not exposed to unhealthy influences and is available all year round. So even in winter you can offer the vitamin-rich green food. Nevertheless, wash it to remove dust and other residues, for example.
Cutting flowers and leaves into small pieces is not absolutely necessary as long as they are very small.
For larger leaves, it makes sense to chop them up. Otherwise, his hamster may choke on them. This risk exists primarily if he likes the fresh food very much and therefore tries to eat it as quickly as possible.
You can feed dandelion as mentioned both fresh and dried.
Due to the high water content, it may be a little more in the fresh version than in the dried state.
Measure the chopped leaves or flowers in advance with a teaspoon so as not to exceed the recommended amount. Ideally, you should also note down how much you have fed and when. This will help you keep track of how often you feed.
Overall, it is a good idea to keep a simple list of what you are feeding. That way, you’ll know if you’re providing a balanced mix and varied feeds. This will help keep the animals healthy.
In addition, the following tips can help you:
- small amount to test:
With dandelion and any other new food, you should offer a very small amount at first. Because not every hamster likes and tolerates all foods.
Therefore, make sure that your hamster does not just stuff the green food into his cheek pockets and check afterwards whether your hamster suffers from nausea, pain or diarrhea.
- feed from the hand
Since dandelions are a change of pace for many hamsters and therefore a special treat, you should feed them directly from your hand. This will give you positive evidence and your animal will become tamer.
Tip: Especially if your hamster is afraid of you, this approach is worth its weight in gold!
Of course, this only works if your hamster likes to eat dandelions.
- remove leftovers
Leaves with a very high moisture content can start to mold. Therefore, remove leftover food immediately to prevent contamination of the cage.
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