In cartoons and many other forms of media, mice are often depicted as being cheese lovers. This often gives people the impression that all rodents will love cheese. For this reason, many hamster owners like to occasionally give their hamster cheese as a treat to add variety to their diet of pellets and hamster food mixes. However, is cheese a safe food for your hamster to eat and does it have any dietary benefits for these animals?
Can Hamsters Eat Cheese?
In moderation, eating cheese will not do your hamster any harm. However, cheese is high in fat and hamsters find it difficult to digest, so eating too much will give them digestive problems. It is best to give them milder cheeses, such as mild cheddar or cottage cheese.
Nutritional Values of Cheese and How It Benefits a Hamster’s Diet
There are many varieties of cheese from around the world and each of these has different nutritional values. As mild cheddar and cottage cheese are two of the best varieties for hamsters to eat, the nutritional values provided here are for these two varieties.
The nutritional values of 100g mild cheddar are approximately:
- Calories- 280 kcal
- Fat- 31.2g
- Carbohydrate- 6g (3.2g sugars)
- Vitamins and minerals- Vitamin A and calcium
As mild cheddar is high in fat, it is something that you should only give to your hamster occasionally. The benefits of including this in your hamster’s diet are its high protein content and that it is a good source of calcium and vitamin A
The nutritional values of 100g of cottage cheese are:
- Calories-98 kcal
- Fat- 4.3g
- Carbohydrate- 3.4g (2.7g sugars)
- Vitamins and minerals- Vitamins A and B12, calcium, magnesium, and potassium
Cottage cheese is a good source of vitamins A and B12, calcium, and protein. Cottage cheese is a better option than mild cheddar as it is lower in fat, so your hamster’s digestive system can cope better with this treat.
How Much and How Often Can You Feed Cheese to a Hamster?
Cheese is a food that you should only feed to your hamster in moderation. Half a teaspoon of cottage cheese or a small cube of mild cheddar once a week is enough. Never feed your hamster cheese that is moldy as this will make it ill.
If eaten in moderation, the cheese will not cause your hamster any health problems. It is best to choose milder varieties and to give them just a small piece once a week. Any more and you risk your hamster suffering form diarrhea.