Fruits are a healthy addition to a hamster's diet. Fresh fruit adds water to prevent dehydration and constipation, but dried fruits aren't a good option. Not only are dried fruits sticky, but they're not as healthy as fresh. Due to a hamster's cheek pouches, sticky foods such as dried apricots and raisins should be avoided at all costs. As a responsible pet owner, provide your dwarf hamster with healthier choices that are safe.
Hamsters have two cheek pouches inside their mouth that they use to carry food and nesting material. The cheek pouches are unique in the fact that they don't contain saliva. This keeps food fresh and dry. While not as important in captivity, cheek pouches are still very important to hamsters and used daily to build their nest or hide food to snack on later. That's why you want to take the best care possible of your hamster's cheek pouches.
Sticky Food Dangers
Due to the lack of saliva, sticky foods can get stuck in the cheek pouches. Not only does this prevent the hamster from carrying food and nesting material, but if the food is left in there too long, it will rot and cause an infection. Besides apricots, you should avoid feeding your hamster other dried fruits, candy and any other gooey, sticky foods that could cause impaction in your hamster's cheek pouches.
Fresh Fruit Is Better
Fresh fruit is a healthier option because it has a high water content. The high water content of fresh fruit is essential for preventing dehydration and constipation in hamsters. Feed your hamster a variety of fresh fruits, but introduce them slowly. Introducing too many fruits at once, or too much fruit, can cause diarrhea. You should also take care to clean out any uneaten fruit daily to prevent mold and spoiling. Always wash and peel the fruit thoroughly before feeding to your hamster.
Fruits Hamsters Prefer
Hamsters love fresh fruit and each hamster is different. Try feeding your hamster a different piece of fruit each day. Remember, the piece should be small. You never want to feed your hamster too much fruit or he'll get diarrhea. Some options to try include apples, bananas, pears, peaches, melon and berries. After a bit of trial and error, you'll find out which fruits your hammy prefers. Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables to prevent boredom and provide a variety of nutrients.
Cute little hamster having lunch image by Andrr from Fotolia.com
Amy Brantley has been a writer since 2006, contributing to numerous online publications. She specializes in business, finance, food, decorating and pets.