June 15, 2020

Can Hamsters Eat Grapes?

Risks & Benefits

Veterinarian Dr. Edele Grey, DVM
Published by Emma Hughes

Vet Approved

Nature designed these cute little furballs to eat a mixture of green stuff and protein. Hamsters will happily eat seeds, grain, grasses, fruits and vegetables, and some insects. They love to stuff themselves silly and will constantly beg for more.

Can Hamsters Eat Grapes?

Yes, hamsters can eat grapes. When fed in moderation, grapes can be a healthy treat offering nutrients like Vitamins C and K. Still, the high sugar content in grapes may lead to obesity, diabetes, and digestive upsets like diarrhea, so follow our feeding instructions. Grape seeds are a choking hazard to hamsters and should be removed.

Grapes are known to be toxic to other pets, such as dogs and cats. But not so for hamsters. The only fruits hamsters really shouldn't eat are citruses, such as oranges and lemons. So yes, they can definitely eat grapes.

Both red and green grapes are okay for hamsters to eat. However, all hamsters, regardless of breed, have a very sensitive digestive system. Grapes are okay to feed, but the when and how much is a different issue. Some hamsters may be better off without grapes altogether.

Nutritionally balanced hamster food is essential for your pet’s well-being. Keep your hammy safe by choosing a high-quality, vet-approved hamster mix.

Health Benefits: Are Grapes Good For Hamsters?

Your hamster will likely appreciate any and every type of grape, green or red.

Grapes can be a healthy, beneficial food for your furry pet. 

Good Source Of Vitamins And Minerals

Hamsters require several nutrients in their diet to remain healthy. Grapes are a good source of some of these. For starters, they contain a healthy dose of vitamin C. This is essential in helping your hamster maintain a strong immune system, and a prolonged lack of this vitamin can lead to scurvy in hamsters.

Grapes are also an excellent source of vitamin K. This is a vitamin that helps in strengthening bones. In addition to C and K, grapes also contain some B-complex vitamins. These are in smaller quantities, but they still do their share in keeping your hamster healthy. They will help to maintain your hamster's nervous system and energy levels.

This fruit will supply your hamster with some useful minerals. It contains copper, calcium, and iron. The first two help in boosting immunity and maintaining healthy bones, while iron is an essential part of your hamster's diet. If insufficient, it could lead to anemia.

grapes

Contains Useful Antioxidants

Antioxidants should also be a part of every hamster's diet. They work to boost the immune system and prevent inflammation. They're also helpful in preventing heart problems, help to lower blood sugar and prevent diabetes.

Most of us feed ready-made store-bought food mixes to our hamsters. These foods may not have sufficient antioxidants. Grapes contain several of these powerful chemicals. As an additional treat, they will boost your pet's overall health and immunity.

The Verdict

Grapes can be a healthy, beneficial food for your furry pet. They offer a good mix of essential vitamins and minerals. Their high antioxidant content also helps to support a hamster's health. Your hamster's digestion will also benefit from the fiber found in this fruit. Hamsters love variety, and grapes will contribute to a tasty, balanced diet for them.

Health Risks: Are Grapes Bad For Hamsters?

Overall, grapes are a good, healthy source of many essential nutrients for your hamster. While downright toxic to other pets such as dogs, grapes will not poison your hamster.

There is no evidence of grape skins, flesh, or seeds being poisonous to hamsters. There are, however, good reasons to feed them to your pet in moderation. 

High Sugar Content

Being a fruit, grapes contain quite a bit of sugar. It is also the main reason hamsters love to eat them. But high sugar diets are bad for hamsters much the same way they are bad for humans.

Many hamsters are prone to obesity and diabetes, and eating too much sugar can make your hamster gain unhealthy weight. In the long term, it can also lead to diabetes. For this reason, their sugar intake needs to be carefully controlled. It is best not to feed your hamster too much fruit, grapes included.

If your hamster is overweight or has diabetes, it is best to avoid feeding grapes altogether. Instead, your vet can recommend a suitable diet and treats for your furry friend.

Related reading: Best Hamster Treats - Top Vet-Approved Choices in 2021

Potential Stomach Upsets

We've already mentioned that hamsters have very sensitive digestive systems. They can get upset quite easily, and this usually results in diarrhea.

Grapes are high in fructose, a natural sugar that can cause gas.

They also contain a lot of tannins. When consumed in high doses, tannins are likely to upset the stomach. Feed your hamster grapes in small amounts to prevent diarrhea.

If your hamster is eating grapes for the first time, start really small. Give a tiny piece and observe for a few hours. If your hamster starts chewing on a bit of bedding, loses appetite, or looks lethargic, be warned, these are all signs that the grape doesn't agree with its sensitive tummy.

Choking Hazard

Hamsters are tiny creatures with big appetites. They will take whatever tasty treat you offer, no questions asked. A larger grape fed whole and uncut may give your hamster some trouble. Grapes that have seeds can also pose a risk.

There is no known evidence of grape seeds being toxic to hamsters. But they can cause the hamster to choke while swallowing them down. It's best to remove any seeds before feeding your hamster some grape. You can also just opt to buy a seedless variety.

Grapes are a good, nutritious addition to a healthy hamster's diet, but only in moderation. They should be fed as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Feeding Guidelines

The bulk of a hamster's diet should consist of grains, grasses, and vegetables. Fruits, being high in sugar, should not be fed excessively. It is recommended to feed your hamster only a teaspoon of fruit at a time. 

A teaspoon of fruit twice a week is sufficient for your hamster.

This is how to prepare a grape for your hamster:

1. Wash the grape to remove any dirt.

2. Peel the skin. Peeling the skin off will ensure no pesticide residue remains.

3. Cut into small pieces and remove the seeds. Once peeled, you can cut the grape into small pieces, removing the seeds, if any.

A teaspoon of fruit twice a week is sufficient for your hamster. More than that, and it will likely cause health problems due to excess sugar.

Let your hamster enjoy its tasty grape, but don't overdo it. It's a good idea to alternate grape with other fruit, such as apple or blueberry.

If your hamster is new to grapes, start with a very small piece. Check that there is no diarrhea or other obvious upset. You can then build up the serving size and frequency over the next few weeks.

Nutrition Facts

Grapes contain a good set of nutrients and are healthy for your hamster in small amounts.

They contain several vitamins and antioxidants that contribute to your pet's good health. They also do not contain anything toxic to a hamster.

Excellent Source Of Vitamins And Minerals

These juicy fruits contain a sizeable amount of vitamin C, providing 18mg per 100 grams. They also have vitamin K, with 14 mcg per 100 grams. These are both vital to your hamster's health.

Grapes also contain 66 IU of vitamin A per 100 grams. It is a smaller quantity, but still a useful addition to your pet's diet. Several B-complex vitamins are also present in small amounts.

Copper and calcium are available; at 0.127mg and 10mg per 100 grams, respectively, they contribute to building immunity and strong bones. There are also 3.6mg of iron per 100 grams of grape.

Iron is also an important nutrient, the lack of which can cause your hamster to become anemic. Magnesium, zinc, and manganese are also important minerals that are found in small amounts in grapes.

Great On Antioxidants

Grapes are a very rich source of a compound called resveratrol. This chemical is a powerful antioxidant. This and other antioxidants found in grapes help to boost the immune system.

Antioxidants help your hamster fight off viral and fungal infections, and are all important in maintaining overall health for your pet.

High Sugar Content

A 100 grams of grapes contains only 69 calories. Protein and fat content is also very low, with 0.72 and 0.16 grams per 100, respectively. It means that the bulk of the energy in grapes comes from carbs.

At 18 grams per 100, that is a lot of sugar. With only 0.2 grams per 100, there is little dietary fiber in grapes. This high-sugar, low-fiber combination, is why your hamster should get only a small serving at a time.

Bottom line: Can Hamsters Have Grapes?

While high on some vital nutrients like vitamin C, grapes also contain a lot of sugar. Hamsters love this fruit, and it is generally good for them. Be sure to remove seeds to prevent choking and give only small servings.

Watch out for tummy upsets. Start very small and build the serving size up gradually. Avoid grapes altogether if your hamster is overweight or suffers from diabetes.

Even if your hamster can eat grapes with no discomfort, do not give too much. Remember to alternate with other fruits to keep the diet balanced. A little goes a long way.

Grapes for Hamsters - FAQ

Can hamsters eat grape seeds?

No, hamsters should not eat grape seeds. There is no evidence that grape seeds are toxic to hamsters, but they can pose a choking hazard and cause an intestinal blockage. Always feed your hamster a seedless variety of grapes or cut the grape in half and remove the seeds before serving.

Vet's Comment

Pocket-pets, hamsters are active little chaps running on their little wheel. Burning off all that energy along with their naturally high metabolic rate, means they can eat quite a lot for their tiny statures. Your fur-friend will gratefully receive the occasional sweet treat, but for their own health, it's up to you to select the best options.

Grapes are safe for hamsters, but they are high in sugar and low in fiber, which is a bad combination for tummy health. Similar to guinea pigs, hamsters have sensitive tummies, so introduce new foods and treats slowly and in small amounts.

High sugar, low fiber foods are likely to cause 'spikes' in your hamster's blood sugar levels, and as these little guys are prone to diabetes, you want to avoid too much of these treats. Remember to buy seedless varieties or remove the seeds as they can present both a choking hazard or obstruct their gut.

- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

Dr. Edele Grey Veterinary Surgeon

Vet-Approved by
Dr. Edele Grey
DVM

Edele Grey, BSc, MVB, PGCertESM, MRCVS was born and raised in Ireland on a farm, so she was destined for veterinary-related work from a young age. Dr. Grey attended the only veterinary university in Ireland, the University College Dublin, and graduated in 2013. Since graduation, Dr. Grey has worked with a range of exotic, companion, and production animal species.

NOTE: Advice provided within this article by FeedingMyPet.com 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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