Can hamsters eat almonds: sweet or bitter?

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Can hamsters eat almonds: sweet or bitter?

Almonds are the fruit of a tree native to the Middle East and South Asian countries. It is the edible seed of the tree, which is also widely cultivated. The fruit of this tree is a drupe and is formed on the outside from the husk that contains a hard shell inside which the seed is located. They are sold both with and without shell. Can hamsters eat almonds ? Coming to the consumption of the latter by hamsters, it depends on the type of almond you are giving them.

While sweet almonds may be good for your hamster, bitter ones can be lethal and even kill them.

Tips for feeding hamsters

Dried fruit should be included in the hamster diet. Walnuts, peanuts, and even almonds can work well. However without added salt, and bitter almonds should never be given to hamsters. Hamsters love to gnaw while trying to eat both the core and the edible part of the walnut.

To help your little friend, you can crack and break the ones that are too hard and the rest will do the hamster. In the case of almonds, the shell must always be removed.

Can hamsters eat almonds?

Hamsters are known to prefer tasty treats rather than getting the right nutrition from food. It is completely safe to give sweet almonds to hamsters, but it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to check the type before offering them.

If you find out its bitter almonds, you could kill your hamster. Bitter almonds have a cyanide component, which can be life-threatening. Also, the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows you to add up to 1% bitter almonds to packaged almonds as sweets, so you better not give them bitter ones.

Important facts about almonds

When shopping for almonds for your little friend, there are a few things you should consider:

  1. Always buy unshelled almonds. Non-organic varieties usually contain a small percentage of chemicals, which should always be avoided.
  2. Examine the almonds carefully and remove any that are not perfectly shaped. It needs to be done because irregularly shaped almonds or even shorter ones might be bitter.
  3. Before offering the almonds, leave them in the hot water for 15 minutes. This will soften their peel. By pinching the wider end, you should be able to remove the peel.
  4. It is preferable to only give half an almond a day to your hamster. The high-fat content in almonds could lead to excessive weight gain if they are consumed in large quantities.
  5. Finally, they are a special treat, and not a food to eat every day as a meal for your hamster.

Risks of giving almonds to hamsters

Non-organic varieties of almonds are used to contain pesticides, and consuming any form of a chemical can hurt and even kill the hamster. As mentioned earlier, almonds come in two varieties, sweet and bitter.

Bitter almonds should never be given to your hamster. They contain a toxic amount of prussic acid which is known as hydrogen cyanide which fluctuates between 6% and 8%. This toxic component can be harmful if consumed by your hamster. It can even lead to death.

Even when giving sweet almonds, be sure to remove the peel and shell. Almond peel contains poison and can be fatal to hamsters. So, make sure that what you are giving your beloved pet is free of any harmful substances.

What if my hamster ate bitter almonds?

This is not a good situation at all and you need to seriously worry. A very low amount may not harm, but if it is high it is in serious danger. Give it fresh vegetables and lots of water in such a situation.

If you notice any changes in its movements, such as lethargy or slow reaction, take it to the vet immediately and have it treated. Also, be sure to keep all bitter and sweet almonds away from your pet if not washed and peeled. Also make sure that when you feed it sweet almonds, the quantity is no more than half an almond.

This article is purely informative, at Shelterapet we do not have the right to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We encourage you to take your pet to the vet in case of any kind of discomfort.

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About Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

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