Humans eat many snack foods and while some of these are safe to give to your hamster, there are others that can make them ill or even kill them. One of the most popular snacks among humans is chocolate. There is a vast array of different chocolate treats that humans can buy with various textures and flavors. While this is a delicious snack for humans, is it safe to give this to your hamster for a treat?
Can Hamsters Eat Chocolate?
Unfortunately, chocolate is not a sweet treat that you can share with your hamster. This food is extremely dangerous and potentially fatal for hamsters. Therefore, you must never feed your hamster chocolate, even in small quantities.
Why Is Chocolate Dangerous for Hamsters?
There are several reasons that chocolate is dangerous for hamsters. The first is that chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is toxic to hamsters. Even a small amount of theobromine can potentially kill your pet. Hamsters cannot metabolize this chemical and it can remain in their system for up to 24 hours. Symptoms of theobromine poising include epileptic seizures, hyperactivity, and heart attacks. Dark chocolate has a higher level of theobromine than milk chocolate.
The second reason that chocolate is dangerous for hamsters is that it has a high fat and sugar content. Sugar causes diarrhea in hamsters and is also bad for their dental health. Fat can also cause digestive problems as hamsters do not process high levels of fat well.
What Happens If Your Hamster Eats Chocolate by Accident?
If you sometimes let your hamster out of the cage or it escapes while cleaning out the cage, it is possible that your hamster may eat some chocolate that you have left lying around.I(f this happens, you are probably wondering what you can do to help your hamster. Unfortunately, there is no anti-toxin for theobromine, so a trip to the vet will not help. It is most likely to affect your pet if it has eaten dark chocolate as this has higher levels of theobromine.
All you can really do to help your pet and reduce the potential effects of theobromine poisoning is to try to dilute the chocolate in their digestive system. You can do this by giving your hamster grains and vegetables to minimize the damage caused. Also, make sure your hamster has plenty of fresh water. If the hamster has only eaten a very small quantity of milk chocolate, it is likely they will recover from the experience.
Chocolate is a delicious snack for humans, but it is something that you should never feed your hamster as it contains a chemical that is toxic to hamsters and has a high fat and sugar content. If your hamster eats it accidentally, you can try to dilute the chocolate in their digestive system but a trip to the vet will not help as there is no antidote for theobromine poisoning.