YOu shouldn’t limit your hamster’s diet to the usual commercially produced hamster food and timothy hay. You should always try to add some healthy vegetables and fruits to the mix, but only as occasional treats. Even so, you should know that not everything that works for you will work for your hamster as well. Even some varieties of fruit might be beneficial for you but affect a hamster’s health.
Oranges are safe for hamsters per se, as they aren’t toxic for a rodent. Even so, it is recommended that you keep them off the pet’s food list, mainly because of their high acidity, which can take a big toll on your hamster’s digestive system. In this article, I will go into detail on the risks and benefits of feeding your pet rodent with oranges and citrus fruits in general.
Aside from their high content of Vitamin C that we’ve all heard of, oranges also come with additional benefits, some of them unknown to most people. Oranges also come packed with insoluble fiber, which helps the digestive function immensely. They also feature Vitamin B6 which helps with balancing the blood pressure and Vitamin A which will improve your eye health and eyesight.
While we can’t deny the positive effects of oranges on the human body, especially due to their high vitamin contents, being so acidic will surely make them unfit for a rodent with such a sensitive digestive system like the hamster. The high acidity levels of not only oranges, but other citrus fruits as well, can have a serious effect on the stomach of rodents, causing diarrhea, digestive problems, but also stomach problems. These fruits can also hurt the pet’s teeth, rapidly degrading them and leading to considerable dental issues. Oranges also come with high amounts of natural sugar, which is bad for both humans and their pets and can lead to both diabetes and dental issues.
This is the case for any fruits from the citrus family, like grapefruit, tangerines, limes, and lemons. These fruits should be removed from your pet’s diet completely.
Orange peels are very tasty and great fibrous food that a hamster can chew on, so many owners will actually use dried orange peels as occasional treats. I would still recommend against dried peels as daily treats, just to be on the safe side, even though they are considerably less acidic and overall better than fresh oranges. If you notice that your hamster really enjoys these as treats, as long as you offer them only from time to time, there shouldn’t be issues in the long run. The peels shouldn’t be completely ingested by your pet. You should try to take them out of its mouth as soon as the hamster is done chewing the white part and is close to the skin of the fruit. The white pith is the best part of the orange peel, coming with a lot of fiber. It is also considered perfectly fine for rodents and their stomachs.
While citrus fruits are considered bad for hamsters due to their high acidic content, there are a lot of fruits that are considered healthy and safe, perfect for a balanced diet. Keep in mind that even fruits considered safe will come with considerable amounts of sugar and can be the root of diabetes or obesity in all animals, including hamsters. You should also make sure that you only go for the freshest of the fruits and that you wash them of any pesticides they might have been sprayed with before giving them to your pet.
Below you will find a list of safe fruits that you can occasionally feed to your hamster:
You should reduce your hamster’s intake of any fruits to a maximum of two to four times per week, mainly due to their high content of sugar, which makes them unfit as regular food. Rancid foods can cause complex stomach issues, so you should watch out for any fruits that have been in the cage for more than 24 hours and remove them ASAP. Keep in mind: Fresh and clean is how the fruits should always be eaten.
Oranges aren’t toxic for rodents like hamsters per see and when given occasionally and in small amounts, they won’t cause too many issues. Even so, you shouldn’t overfeed your pet with these fruits, because all citrus fruits have high amounts of natural sugar, which is very bad for a hamster’s body, and are also very acidic, damaging both the teeth of the rodent, as well as its digestive system. Nobody denies the many benefits that oranges bring to the table, but the same benefits can be obtained from safer alternatives, keeping your hamster healthy.