Seeds are great snacks for many animals, you will especially see birds fawning over these wonderful foodstuffs! Seeds are easy to find, cheap to buy and, in many cases, quite nutritious. This often leads people to ask if hamsters can eat seeds. More specifically, they ask if hamsters can eat sunflower seeds. So can they? The great news is that hamsters absolutely love sunflower seeds! They can be a great snack for your pet and they can introduce lots of vital nutrients into their diet.
This post will be going over what sunflower seeds are, how you can feed them to your pet and the benefits of giving them to your hamster! We will also look at the quantity that you should give to them and the problems that can occur if you feed them too much. Read on and enjoy!
What are Sunflower Seeds?
Sunflower seeds are the seeds that come from, you guessed it, sunflowers! There are quite a few versions of this seed including sunflower oil seeds, linoleic seeds and oleic seeds! They are normally named after their colour, such as black oil sunflower seeds! 52 million tonnes of these are produced every year and they are extremely popular in Eastern European countries. Ukraine on its own produced 14.2 tonnes in 2018! They can be a fantastic snack for human and animal alike!
Can Hamsters eat Sunflower Seeds?
As stated before, absolutely! These lovely seeds can be a fantastic snack for your pet, they are sure to enjoy them! Obviously you need to keep to a certain amount as you don’t want to overfeed your hamster! Syrian hamsters, Robo hamsters and Dwarf hamsters all love these seeds!
How to feed your hamster Sunflower Seeds?
When you are giving treats, such as this seed, to your pet, always make sure you are holding them or make sure that you are close to them. This is because giving treats to your hamster can strengthen your bond and assist in socializing them. Only give a small amount to your hamster at first, this is to figure out if they like sunflower seeds. There’s no point giving your pet a lot of it if they just ignore it! Your hamster might put the food in their cheek poaches though.
Make sure that you wash the seed beforehand. This gets rid of any of the chemicals that may have been on the seed to protect it whilst it was growing. Pesticides can hurt your hamster’s health.
How many sunflower seeds can you feed your hamster?
The amount of sunflower seeds that a hamster can eat depends on what breed they are! Syrians are larger than Robos and Robos are bigger than Dwarfs. This affects how many seeds they can enjoy! Too many seeds can hurt their health after all!
How many sunflower seeds should Syrian hamsters eat
Syrian hamsters love these seeds, and they can eat around 4 per day! This is because sunflower seeds are quite fattening, you don’t want a fat hamster! It is the perfect amount of seeds for your pet, not too little and not too many!
How many sunflower seeds should Robo hamsters eat
Robos are the middle child of the hamster family! They are smaller than Syrians but bigger than dwarfs! This means that Robos should have a maximum of 2 sunflower seeds a day. This is enough for them to enjoy them but it’s not too many!
How many sunflower seeds should Dwarf Hamsters eat
Dwarf hamsters, such as Winter White dwarf hamsters, Chinese hamsters and Campbell Dwarf hamsters, should only have around 1 sunflower seed every few days. This is because of them being much smaller than Syrian and Robo hamsters. They are very susceptible to obesity which means that you have to only give them a small amount!
Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are seen as quite a healthy snack! They have plenty of benefits for both human and hamster. They contain vitamins and nutrients such as:
- Potassium – This benefits the heart and kidneys which will improve your pet’s overall health
- Iron. This helps your hamster’s blood and ensure that they can grow up nice and strong!
- Magnesium – This helps regulate your pet’s blood pressure
- Calcium – This helps your hamster’s teeth and bones stay nice and healthy
- Vitamin E – This ensures that your hamster’s eyes and skin stay healthy!
Risks of Sunflower Seeds
Although there are many benefits to sunflower seeds, there are a few risks as well. These risks only become a problem if you feed your hamster too many seeds, if you keep the amount small then you will be fine!
- Sunflower seeds contain a lot of fat. Fat can result in your hamster becoming obese and also suffering from diabetes. This can reduce their lifespan
- Sunflower seeds can fill up your hamster. This means that they won’t have a fully diverse nutrient-rich diet.
- Sunflower seeds contain a lot of vitamin C. This can cause diarrhoea in high amounts.
- The salt in salted sunflower seeds can harm your hamster’s health. Keep them away from salted sunflower seeds
What kind of sunflower seeds can hamsters eat?
As stated before, there’s plenty of different types of these lovely seeds. We will be taking you through the main types and if your hamster can eat them!
Striped Sunflower Seeds
Striped sunflower seeds are the most common type of seed, so it is obvious that hamsters can absolutely eat them! Our pets love these seeds but you always need to remember to keep them to a minimum!
Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
Black oil sunflower seeds are absolutely safe for your hamster. They have the same nutrients as all of the rest and can be fed in exactly the same amount. Just remember that they contain the same risks as well, so keep the amount to a minimum.
Shelled Sunflower Seeds
Shelled and unshelled sunflower seeds are both fine for your pet. The shelled variety may provide more entertainment for your hamster as they attempt to remove the shell, and this can improve their bone health as well. However, both types are absolutely fine, as long as they are given in the right amount.
Salted Sunflower Seeds
Can hamsters eat salted sunflower seeds? We don’t recommend the salted variety of this seed for your hamster. This is because hamsters shouldn’t be having much salt at all, we can’t recommend it because of that! Salt for hamsters can result in high blood pressure and an overall lowered lifespan.
Conclusion – Can Hamsters Eat Sunflower Seeds?
So, hamsters can absolutely enjoy these delicious seeds! You should feed Syrians more than dwarfs and dwarfs more than Robos. This helps to maintain the health of your hamsters! Striped and black oil sunflower seeds are fine, so are shelled seeds. Just stay away from the salted variety! This food has a lot of added benefits including magnesium and vitamin E but it does contain a lot of fat. So be careful!
Has your hamster eaten sunflower seeds before? How many do you give? Let us know in the comments!