Can Hamsters Have Kale?
It is important to first recognize that just because a food is healthy for us humans, that does not mean our pets are going to consume and digest it the same way. We can sometimes forget how tiny and sensitive their little bodies are, which ultimately require more care when thinking about what to incorporate into their diet.
Can you give your hamster kale?
Answer: Sometimes. Feeding kale to your hamster is not super straightforward and comes with a few disclaimers. Be sure to review this article thoroughly so you understand whether your hamster can consume kale.
First, part of the distinction depends on the breed of hamster you have. If you have a Syrian or Roborovski hamster, they can eat kale. It should only be consumed on occasion and in very small amounts. This is due to the high water and acidic content. You may not think of too much water as being an issue but the combination with the acidic content can make your tiny hamster have digestion issues.
If you have a White Winter Dwarf Hamster, Chinese, or Russian Campbell Dwarf Hamster, they will not be able to consume kale. This is due to these hamsters high risk of developing diabetes. Just the 2.3 grams bit of sugar that kale contains is potentially enough to send one of these little guys into a lifetime of diabetes. If you were unaware of this potential risk, reconsider the foods you have been feeding your hamster and make sure they are low in sugar. Also, consider the size of their body. 2.3 grams of sugar is not much for us, but for a dwarf hamster that is an extraordinary amount.
Kale is primarily made up of water, calcium, phosphorus, acidic content, and just a bit of fat and sugar. That fat and sugar content is what restricts some hamsters from freely being able to consume all the kale they want. So while there are health benefits to kale, it is also important to mention the health risks.
Above we mentioned that Syrian and Roborovski hamsters can consume kale but should be restricted due to the water and acidic content. If your hamster consumes too much it can cause vomiting and / or diarrhea. As a result, they will likely become dehydrated. This dehydration needs to be treated by a vet, otherwise, it will likely turn fatal. If you do notice your hamster experiencing one of these symptoms it is best to take them directly to the vet. Hamsters can be difficult to treat and your vet will be able to rehydrate your hamster quickly with the proper equipment.
There certainly are a few health warnings you should be aware of, but there are great benefits as well. For those hamsters that can consume kale, green or purple kale can be a great treat. Similar to other leafy vegetables like spinach, dandelions, and lettuce, they can provide your little guy with tons of vitamin A and water.
Things to Consider
We talked a bit above about regulating how much kale you give your hamster. Moderation is best and using it as a treat weekly or bi-weekly will allow your pet to get the nutrients without overdoing it. The amount may depend upon the size of your hamster. If you are considering seeking out kale in hamster food or treats, know kale has not made its way to too many pet treats. You may find a bit in cat food but that is about where it ends.
No reason to fear, kale is a simple food item to prepare for your pet. Simply wash the leaves thoroughly and feed raw. Your hamster will enjoy making his way through the leave on his own without any help.
Depending upon the breed of hamster you have, kale can possibly make a great occasional snack for your pet hamster. Be sure to wash and feed in moderation to prevent pesticides and an upset stomach. Otherwise, it can be a great item to have in your home for when you or your pet needs a little pick-me-up.