Green leafy vegetables like kale are rich in vitamins and minerals. Kale is a kind of cabbage. It is a trendy, healthy, and delicious cruciferous vegetable. Recently it has been used in wraps as a low-carb alternative. It’s also good for making vegetable salads, smoothies and juices.
But can hamsters eat kale? Is this vegetable safe for hamsters? Does it have any toxic effects?
Let’s find out the answer.
Can Hamsters Eat Kale?
Yes, hamsters can eat kale given in moderation. It’s a perfect addition to your hamster’s diet.
It’s a nutritious plant that contains a lot of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. A cup of finely chopped kale leaves can be served in 3 meals and it has only 33 calories.
Even so, do not feed your hamster too much of this treat. Too much of anything can be a bad thing.
Hamsters can eat kale, but are the nutrients they get?
If you plan to include kale in your hamster’s meal, you better know the health benefits. Here is a list of the nutrient found in a cup of chopped kale.
- 10302 IU vitamin A
- 547 micrograms of vitamin K
- 299 milligrams potassium
- 8 milligrams magnesium
- 5 micrograms of phosphorus
- 5 micrograms of calcium
- 4 milligrams of vitamin C
- 4 micrograms of folate
- 1-milligram iron
What happens when hamsters eat the right amount of kale?
Here is what happens to a hamster’s body when they eat the right amount of kale.
Reduced cell damage
Free radical are in the body causes cell damage. When hamsters eat kale in moderation, they ingest antioxidants. The antioxidants in kale help to counteract the oxidative damage in the cells.
Increased vitamin C
Like most animals and humans, your pet hamsters cannot produce their vitamin C. It relies on the food it eats for the ascorbic acid that its body needs.
Feeding kale in moderation will result in healthier blood vessels and cell walls. It also promotes fast healing for your pet.
Lack of this vitamin can result in a disease called scurvy. It is a painful disease characterized by weight loss, fur loss, squealing, and weak limbs.
Luckily, kale is rich in vitamin C. Research found that a cup of this treat has vitamin C equivalent to a whole orange. But this also makes them highly acidic, so you need to be careful.
A hamster will have a lower risk of heart disease.
Kale contains magnesium. It lowers the cholesterol level in the body, which eventually helps reduce the risk of heart diseases.
A hamster will have a lower risk of having cancer.
Kale contains sulforaphane. Feeding this vegetable to your pet helps prevent the formation of cancer cells at a molecular level.
A hamster will have increased Vitamin A.
Some believe that kale contains vitamin A. It is inaccurate. Kale has beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant that turns into vitamin A after the body processes it.
A hamster will have improved bone.
The calcium in kale helps your hamster develop strong bones and healthy teeth.
A hamster will have improved eyesight.
Kale has lutein and zeaxanthin, two substances that protect the eyes and keep them healthy. They also reduce the risk of cataracts which makes them good snacks for older hamsters.
What are the potential risks of feeding your hamster excessive amounts of kale?
While kale offers health benefits, it also brings potential risks when hamsters eat too much of it. Here are some of the unwanted side effects of eating excessive amounts of this treat.
Hamsters can have gastric irritations.
Kale contains complex fibers, but while fiber can help the digestive system, too much of it can be harmful. It can cause gastric irritation that can manifest as diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and gassiness.
Hamsters can have kidney stones.
Kale is rich in oxalic acid. This substance accelerates the formation of kidney stones.
You should not feed kale to hamsters that have kidney problems or has had them in the past. It’s best to stick to the strict diet recommended by your vet.
Hamsters can have diabetes.
Kale has fat and sugar content which can cause diabetes and make obesity.
How much kale can hamsters eat?
Moderation is essential when it comes to a treat that you feed your pet. A little too much can hurt your babies. So what is the safe amount of kale for a hamster? And how often should I feed it?
An adult hamster can have one piece of kale leaf the size of its head. You can feed this amount at most twice a week.
If you’re introducing kale to your hamster, it’s good to start small. Give your hamster small amounts and see if it likes it. Some hamsters will not like the slightly bitter taste. If your hamster did not like it, substitute other green foods like spinach and cucumber.
Some hamsters can also have allergies to certain substances in kale. So it’s important to give it in small portions and see if it exhibits any unwanted reactions like upset tummy for the next 12 hours.
How much kale can you feed your baby hamsters?
Baby hamsters should never be fed kale. Their tiny and developing tummies cannot handle it. If you’re raising newborn hamsters, do not feed them solid foods. Their mother’s milk is enough to sustain them for the first two weeks of life.
How much kale can you feed your dwarf hamsters?
Dwarf hamsters are tiny and prone to diabetes and obesity.
Owners should not feed even small amounts of kale to dwarf hamsters because it is acidic and has fat and sugar content. Also, the water content can easily cause stomach problems like diarrhea for dwarf hamsters.
How much kale can you feed your Syrian hamsters and roborovski hamsters?
Syrian and roborovski hamsters are bigger than other hamsters and can eat more. But there are still feeding in eating too much. Feed them according to the recommended amount twice a week.
How to prepare and feed kale to your hamster?
Here are a few easy steps and tips in preparing kale for your little pets.
- Pick fresh kale.
- Wash the leaf thoroughly or soak it in water with salt or vinegar for a few minutes. It kills bacteria and removes bugs, pesticides, and other chemicals used by farmers.
- After soaking, wash them with clean water to remove salt and vinegar.
- Choose the outer edge of the leaf. Don’t include the stalk because it contains a lot of water and may cause diarrhea.
- Cut a small piece the size of your hamster’s head.
- Chop the leaf finely.
- You can mix it with other fruits and vegetables before feeding it to your hamster.
- Do not cook kale or season it with salt and other spices.
Can hamsters eat cooked kale?
This is a little tricky. Yes, hamsters can eat cooked kale but it’s not recommended. Their digestive systems are sensitive and they cannot digest most cooked foods. They can have stomach problems.
But if undercooked or slightly steamed, kale can be safe for hamsters to eat. When cooking food for your hamsters do not put any seasoning like salt. Sodium is very dangerous for small animals like hamsters.
Cooking also reduces the health benefits of kale. This means fewer amounts of nutrients for your pets. Most nutrients disappear quickly when exposed to heat and air. If you do cook them, do not cook them too well. They also dissolve in water so use minimal amounts of water for cooking.
What are healthy alternatives to kale?
If you’re looking for a list of other health food and treats that you can feed your hamsters and alternate with kale, These are collected from recent posts on medical websites.
Herbs and other leafy green
- baby corn
- sweet corn
- carrot and tops
- cooked potato
- beets and tops
- wheat sprouts
- swiss chard
- butter lettuce
- bibb lettuce
- buttercrunch lettuce
- green beans
- summer squash
- winter squash
- bell pepper
- sweet potato
What should a hamster’s daily diet contain?
A healthy daily meal for hamsters contains a little bit of everything. This ensures that they get all the vitamins and minerals their bodies need to function well.
A commercial hamster pellet contains all nutrients that a hamster needs. Although fresh organic food is better, some owners do not have access to this food. For busy owners who cannot monitor their pet’s diet, hamster pellets are also convenient.
Giving your hamster pellets is fine. But if you can supplement it with green organic foods, it would be better.
Hamsters should always have a fresh supply of timothy hay. The hay provides them with necessary fibers to aid in their digestion and prevent upset stomachs.
It also helps them wear down their teeth. Hamsters have open-rotted teeth that continually grow throughout their lifetime. Gnawing on hard objects and food like hay helps prevent tooth impaction and other dental problems.
New pet owners may not know that hamsters can eat worms and crickets because are omnivores. in the wild, these are occasionally a part of their diet.
Mealworms are delicious tasty treats for your pet. It’s packed with protein. Mealworms can be eaten alive but friend mealworms are best for hamsters.
Fruit and veggies
Tiny bits of fruits and veggies will complete your hamster’s meal. These food are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which will keep your hamster healthy.
Brid seeds are fun treats for your hamster. Seeds contain calcium and other vitamins needed for growth.
Bird seeds can be covered with hay for your pets to forage.
Of course, hamsters need water. Give your hamster fresh and clean drinking water every day.
After meals, encourage your pet to drink water. It will ease their digestion and prevent constipation. It will also prevent dehydration.
Final thoughts on “can hamsters eat kale?”
Yes, hamsters can eat kale.
This superfood provides a lot of health benefits. This includes improved eyesight and bone health, reduces risks of heart problems and cancer, and reduces cell damage.
Despite this, kale should be given in moderate amounts to prevent any unwanted side effects. The sugar, acids, and fat content of kale can lead to diabetes and diarrhea.
When feeding kale to your hamsters, plain and raw is the way to go. Never add any seasoning and avoid cooking it.
Kale can be fed in small portions. The safe amount is the size of the pet’s head given once or twice a week. Feed your hamster kale with a mix of other fruits and veggies for optimum absorption of vitamins and minerals.
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