Hamsters are perfectly allowed to eat tomatoes if you take a few precautions.
Otherwise, health hazards can arise, which are quickly very risky for the small and light animals and can even be a danger to life.
In this article you will learn how, when and how much tomato your hamster can eat and what you need to consider in the preparation.
Can hamsters eat tomatoes?
In small quantities you can offer your hamster tomato from time to time. It enriches the menu and even contributes to a healthy diet.
However, the fruit of the nightshade is not completely harmless.
For this reason, you must pay attention to a few things when feeding, which we will tell you in the following chapter.
Why are tomatoes good for hamsters?
Tomatoes are high in water but low in calories. They contain larger amounts of:
secondary plant compounds
Micronutrients, water, and fiber contribute to healthy digestion, hydration, and the normal functioning of vital processes. This is as true for hamsters as it is for you as a human.
Are there any risks to feeding tomatoes?
Yes, although tomatoes are healthy, they pose two risks to your hamster.
First, the high water content can be a hazard. Hamsters require very little liquid. If they eat too much water-rich food or drink too much, it can lead to soft droppings or diarrhea.
In this case, electrolytes and nutrients are lost in addition to fluid.
In very young, old or otherwise weakened animals, this can quickly become a life-threatening condition. In addition, the diarrhea often causes the fur to stick together. This can also be problematic, cause inflammation, prevent defecation or attract insects.
On the other hand, tomatoes, or rather the stalk, leaves and unripe parts, contain solanine. This substance is only slightly toxic to humans.
Due to their small body size and light weight, hamsters can suffer from poisoning symptoms more quickly. Therefore, you must be careful when feeding.
How can the solanine content be kept low?
If you offer tomatoes to your hamster, you should make sure that the solanine content is as low as possible, even in small quantities. The substance is mainly found in:
Therefore, choose only perfectly ripe fruit and remove both the stalk and green parts inside. This also applies to seeds if they have a greenish tinge.
By removing the seeds, you also reduce the water content. This reduces the risk of diarrhea or very soft feces.
If your hamster generally drinks little, you can leave ripe seeds in the tomato.
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Tomatoes are not the only enrichment for your hamster’s diet.
You can also add dandelion or yogurt to your hamster’s diet. In addition, you can make hamster food yourself very easily and quickly if you follow our tips.
How often can hamsters be given tomatoes?
The questions about frequency and quantity are crucial. A good guideline is to offer tomato once a week.
For a dwarf hamster, one piece is enough, equivalent to about half a teaspoon.
For medium hamsters it may be a whole teaspoon. The prerequisite for this, however, is that your animal is already accustomed to fresh food.
Therefore, gradually introduce your hamster to the water-rich food.
Getting your hamster used to tomato – this is how it works
In order for the digestive system to adjust to fresh food with a comparatively high water content, it needs sufficient time for young animals and hamsters that have previously been fed dry food alone.
Therefore, initially offer only a green food, some fruit or vegetables in tiny amounts every day.
In addition, do not combine anything at the beginning, but offer only one fresh food at a time.
This way you can find out if it is tolerated and the amount can be increased gradually if no problems occur.
With tomatoes, it is especially recommended to offer small cocktail or cherry tomatoes and remove the seeds at the beginning. In this way, the water content is reduced and the digestion is not overloaded.
After a while you can also feed the seeds, when the digestive tract has been able to adjust to the balanced and varied diet.
However, do not forget that the main part of the diet should consist of seeds and grasses, and animal protein must also be included.
How to feed tomatoes to hamsters?
Of course, you can just put a piece of tomato in the food bowl. However, this is quite boring for your hamster.
This is because in the wild, animals spend a lot of time finding suitable food. If they can’t do that as a pet, they suffer from the resulting boredom and lack of challenge.
Obsessive-compulsive disorders, (auto) aggression and an increased susceptibility to illness are possible consequences, as is a tendency to obesity.
Therefore, do not only offer your hamster a tasty variety of food. Use our tips to make foraging possible in the cage as well or use the tomato to keep your hamster occupied.
Tomatoes have an aromatic smell and are therefore comparatively easy for your hamster to find. Put a piece under some leaves or grasses.
Cardboard rolls or food toys are also suitable.
In these cases, however, do not feed the seeds. Due to the gelatinous shell, they contain a lot of water and can contaminate the litter or soak cardboard.
Tomato as a lure
If you want to teach your hamster little tricks or just want him to come to you at the call of his name, use tomato as an attractant.
Simply hold it between your fingers or place it on the palm of your hand.
Whether you decide to hide, lure with tomato or use it as a reward for tricks – in any case, you should pay attention to hygiene. The following points are important for this:
Wash the tomato thoroughly beforehand
check after feeding
remove leftovers immediately
Otherwise, insects may be attracted, the fur or bedding will be soiled and the tomato may spoil. Mold and rot pose further dangers to your pet’s health.
Our extra tip: It doesn’t always have to be fresh tomato. Sun-dried tomato without spices or additives can also be used.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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