Hamster cages should be a safe and healthy haven for their occupants and this means a daily supply of seeds, grain, fresh fruit and vegetables. But did you know some seeds, fruits and vegetables are poisonous to them? There are also many houseplants that could seriously poison them. This article reviews some advice from experts on which of the commoner foods and houseplants can hurt your hamster. This can be a handy reference for keeping their diet safe and knowing which houseplants to keep out of their reach in the home and garden.
Common Foods Felt To Harm Hamsters
The UK’s sadly now defunct Hamster Society produced an amazing online list of plants which they stated were poisonous to hamsters. The list includes some surprising everyday fruit and vegetable items, as does advice from the USA’s well known animal care charity, the ASPCA. Did you know that alfalfa, almond pits, apple seeds, avocado, cherry pits, chives, eggplant, elderberries, garlic, grapes, horse chestnuts, mushrooms, onions, peach pits, potatoes raisins, rhubarb and tomatoes are all harmful for them? (1, 2). NEVER try to improvise with human foods or plants from the home or garden. The safest way is to have your vet to provide a diet sheet of safe foods. Establishing a good diet is vital, as is knowing which common houseplants may poison pets.
Common Poisonous Houseplants And Items In Bouquets/Arrangements
Again, the Hamster Society included houseplants as well as garden plants in their warning list , The ASPCA also add to the knowledge with a few known to cause problems in other animals but not researched specifically in hamsters. This list of evils includes flowers and plants you also might find in a bouquet or floral arrangement. It includes amaryllis, cacti, some roses, chrysanthemum, clematis, cornflower, cyclamen, daffodils, some lilies, some ivy, ferns, holly, irises, mistletoe, poincianas, poppies, peonies, rubber plants and tulips. And that certainly isn’t all of the harmful plants by any means. The safest thing to do is probably to ban all plants, flower arrangements and pollen from coming anywhere your hamster’s living areas.
Common Garden Poisonous Plants For Hamsters
If you were considering giving your hamster an enclosed run in the garden, you must research garden plants in your local areas to see which ones are harmful. Many surprisingly common ones are toxic, for example, the common buttercup contains an acid which harms rabbits – so who knows what it could do to a tiny hamster’s precious body. Other culprits as well as those already mentioned include include azaleas, autumn crocuses, cherry laurel, common privet plants, evergreens, foxgloves, honeysuckle, hyacinths, hydrangeas, some laurels, marigolds, nightshade plants varieties, philodendrons, some oaks, rhododendrons, sweet pea plants and wisteria yew trees (1). Also of course be aware of chemical products used to treat the garden with as these can also be highly toxic.
Finding out more about what common food stuffs are toxic to hamsters could save your little furry friend’s life. Tomatoes, for example, seem like the perfect fresh veggie until you realize how dangerous they could be. Its also crucial to research which more local specialties and plants can be toxic.This article passes on some tips for some of the more common foods which experts hold to be harmful and gives valuable references for further research.
IMPORTANT: THIS ARTICLE PRESENTS A SAMPLE OF EXPERT OPINIONS, IT CANNOT THEREFORE BE EXHAUSTIVE NOR DEFINITIVE – NEVER USE IT IN PLACE OF A VET’S ADVICE. IF YOU SUSPECT FOR ANY REASON YOUR HAMSTER HAS CONSUMED SOMETHING HARMFUL, THIS REQUIRES IMMEDIATE VET CARE.
References – useful starters for further research
1. ASPCA. People Foods To Avoid Feeding Your Pets [online].
2. The Hamster Society. Husbandry – List of Poisonous Plants [online].