July 23, 2020

Can Hamsters Eat Celery?

Risks and Benefits

Fact checked by Dr. Leonie McKinlay, DVM
Published by Emma Hughes

Vet Approved

It's a fact not everyone knows, but hamsters are actually omnivores, not herbivores. So while they'll enjoy grasses, seeds, veggies, and fruit, they'll also happily snack on insects and even worms, given a chance.

The main part of your hamster's diet should be a mix of dry grasses and seeds. But veggies have their role to play as well and are an important addition. Not all vegetables are good for your hamster, however. Some are better because they're more nutritious, while others may not be an option altogether because they're toxic.

Can Hamsters Eat Celery?

Yes, hamsters can eat celery. Celery is a healthy and fibrous low-calorie snack for your pet. However, feeding too much celery may cause gastrointestinal upsets and diarrhea, so check our feeding recommendations. Also, the stringy texture is a choking hazard, and celery should be cut into small pieces to be safe for hamsters.

Celery is an excellent vegetable for your hamster to crunch on, with lots of health benefits. Just remember to remove the seed stem from the celery before feeding it to your hamster, because it is bitter.

You should only feed your hamster fresh celery, discarding any that has brown spots, or is showing other signs of being old or rotten. Celery leaves should also be removed. They're not toxic to hamsters, but they have a really strong taste which your hamster probably won't like.

Did you know that 90% of your hamster’s food intake should be high-quality pellets or seed mix? By choosing a healthy hamster food, you will support your pet’s well-being.

Health Benefits: Is Celery Good for Hamsters?

Hamsters need to be fed a variety of veggies in addition to their staple diet of grasses and seeds, and celery is a perfect one. It has lots of good stuff that your hamster can benefit from.

Celery is a great vegetable for your hamster to snack on, as it offers many vitamins and is a great source of fiber.
- Dr. Leonie McKinlay, DVM

  • Great Source of Fiber

Celery is a good source of fiber for your hamster. Fiber should make up a big portion of your hamster's everyday diet, and there's a couple of reasons for this.

Hamsters have teeth that are constantly growing. They need to eat sufficient fiber to help them keep the teeth filed down. Teeth that get too long can cause pain and discomfort to your hamster and may result in a loss of appetite. Celery is very fibrous and will give your hamster a good, beneficial chew.

Fiber is also the key to keeping your hamster's digestive system healthy and functioning well. Fiber helps to break food down in the hamster's stomach as it is churned, enabling nutrients to be released for absorption. It also slows the rate of sugar absorption down, preventing blood sugar spikes.

The green leaves of celery
  • Low on Calories

Hamsters can be very prone to gaining weight and developing related problems such as diabetes and heart issues. It's important to keep their caloric intake within limits. Celery is very low on calories: there are only 14 calories in 100 grams of celery.

You can safely let your hamster snack on a little celery without having to worry about excess calories. Celery also happens to be low on sugar, which is another thing your hamster needs very little of.

  • Rich in Vitamin K

Vitamin K is actually a group of fat-soluble vitamins and plays a vital role in blood clotting. It is very important, as a lack of vitamin K could mean that wounds fail to heal properly, potentially leading to infection.

Celery is a good source of vitamin K. Combined with its low-calorie and high-fiber features, there is no reason not to add some to your hamster's diet if you can get hold of it.

  • Celery Has Essential Vitamin A

Vitamin A is another important nutrient for your pet and is essential to its health. This vitamin does a lot to keep your hamster's eyesight functioning as it should. It is especially true as your hamster gets older.

Another important function of vitamin A is to keep your hamster's skin in top condition. Again, veggies should not be the primary source of your pet's nutrition; a balanced diet is important. But adding a bit of celery will nicely supplement your guinea pig's vitamin A intake.

  • Rich in Potassium

Potassium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body. It is found in muscles, bones, and even red blood cells. Together with sodium, potassium plays a role in regulating muscle contractions and blood pressure.

This mineral is also an electrolyte. It helps maintain bone health by preventing the body from pulling too much calcium from the bones. A lack of potassium can lead to severe medical problems.

Adding a bit of celery to your hamster's diet can help keep its potassium intake at sufficiently good levels.

  • Good Source of Antioxidants

Just a few years back, celery was thought to be one of the less useful vegetables. But recent studies have shown that celery is actually an excellent source of antioxidants. It contains not only betacarotene, vitamin C, and flavonoids, but also 12 other antioxidants.

Together, these antioxidants work to prevent damage to your hamster's internal organs, blood vessels, and all body cells. And your pet gets all this without an excessive amount of sugar or calories because celery is low in both of these.

Health Risks: Is Celery Bad for Hamsters?

We've touted so many reasons why celery is great for your hamster. But don't go rushing off to chop up a whole stalk. Like any food, celery has its downsides, and too much may negate all the goodies your hamster may get out of it.

As with anything, moderation is key. As hamsters are so small, it is easy for them to get dehydrated when they have diarrhea from gastrointestinal upset.
- Dr. Leonie McKinlay, DVM

  • Indigestion

Celery is not known to be toxic to hamsters, but it's still not safe to feed in large quantities. The reason for this is simple. Too much celery can upset your hamster's sensitive digestive system.

If your hamster eats too much celery at once, it may end up with stomach pains. Diarrhea and constipation are also possible. While these are usually not fatal, they're very unpleasant and can cause your pet long hours of discomfort.

  • Over-Frequent Urination

Also, feeding your hamster too much celery may result in it urinating too frequently. If this happens, you'll find your hamster's litter getting excessively smelly rather quickly. A more serious problem, however, is your hamster potentially getting dehydrated.

  • Large Chunks May Cause Choking and Blockages

Celery is very fibrous, and fiber is a good thing for your hamster. Feeding too much, however, especially if you give larger chunks, can cause some problems. Your hamster may end up choking on it, or the larger pieces may end up causing a blockage in your hamster's intestinal tract.

Serving Size and How to Feed?

We've seen that celery is a great, healthy vegetable that you can safely feed to your pet. It's all about the quantity and the frequency, though.

As a word of caution, please don't feed celery to a baby or juvenile hamsters. They will likely find it too hard to chew and digest properly. They are also more likely to suffer from the indigestion issues we talked about than an adult hamster.

  • A Quarter of a Teaspoon at a Time

If you do decide to feed your hamster some celery, be sure to wash it thoroughly first, even if it is organically grown. This will get rid of any dirt and pesticides that may be lingering on it.

Double-check for any soggy or brown spots. Your hamster should eat only fresh, crunchy celery. The leaves and seed stem are edible and are not at all toxic. But hamsters usually don't like the strong, bitter taste, so it's best to remove them too.

Once you have your celery ready, chop off a tiny piece that is the equivalent of a quarter of a teaspoon. It may sound like very little, but your hamster is a tiny animal.

  • Tops Twice a Week

Celery should not be fed to your hamster more than twice a week. It needs to be varied with other vegetables to keep your hamster's diet balanced and healthy.

Nutrition Facts

Celery is a low-calorie, low-sugar, and low-fat vegetable. At the same time, it is very high on fiber.

It is an excellent combination for a hamster's digestive system, and this alone makes it beneficial for your pet.

But celery sweetens the deal by adding lots of vitamin K and potassium. It also contains vitamin A and several of the B complex vitamins, although in smaller quantities. When it comes to minerals, celery contains the entire set of essential ones.

Finally, celery is a rich source of antioxidants such as beta-carotene and several flavonoids. It is also a good source of hydration, being over 95% water.

Bottom line: Can Hamsters Have Celery?

Celery is a wonderful, nutrient-rich vegetable that hamsters of any breed can snack on. It is rich in fiber and will help keep your pet's tummy functioning well. Rich in antioxidants, celery also contains several other essential nutrients, such as vitamin K and potassium.

Just keep in mind that too much celery is not good for your hamster. Celery is too hard to chew for baby and juvenile hamsters, and even adult hamsters should get just a little to avoid painful tummy problems.

Celery is best added as part of a well-balanced, varied diet. Your hamster is happiest eating a mixture of different veggies throughout the week.

Celery for Hamsters - FAQ

Can hamsters eat celery leaves?

Yes, hamsters can eat celery leaves. However, they have a strong taste because they are packed with nutrients, and many hamsters will not eat the leaves because they dislike the flavor. Still, the celery is safe for hamsters to eat in moderation– leaves included.

Vet's Comment

Celery is a great vegetable for your hamster to snack on, as it offers many vitamins and is a great source of fiber.

As with anything, moderation is key. As hamsters are so small, it is easy for them to get dehydrated when they have diarrhea from gastrointestinal upset. For this reason, it's important to feed only small amounts of new foods and no more than a few times a week.

The majority of your hamster's diet should be commercial hamster pellets; these are preferable over a seed mix as most hamsters will not eat all the different types of seeds evenly. Your hamster should also have free access to timothy hay and can get fruits and vegetables (like celery) as a treat. You can also occasionally give your omnivorous pet some boiled egg or mealworms as a special treat.

- Dr. Leonie McKinlay, DVM

Dr. Leonie McKinlay, DVM

Vet-Approved by
Dr. Leonie McKinlay

DVM

Dr. Leonie McKinlay has always had a special fondness for animals and knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a veterinarian. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Calgary and then her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. Since graduation, Dr. McKinlay has been working at the same small animal practice, caring for dogs and cats.

NOTE: Advice provided within this article is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your hamster's specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.

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