Pet Consider

Can Hamsters Eat Asparagus?

Can Hamsters Have Asparagus?

Though we enjoyed food as children, most of us make our great culinary discoveries once we reach adulthood and learn how to enjoy fruits and vegetables. One of the great vegetarian discoveries of adulthood is asparagus, a spring vegetable that serves as the perfect side dish to any of our favorite delicate spring dinners. Fresh, sweet green asparagus is bound to please any dinner guests who are old enough to vote—and, best of all, it’s healthy! This is one of the few green vegetables that really tastes like a treat for both our taste buds and the rest of our body.

We generally throw asparagus and other vegetables into the ‘healthy’ category, but when we have to find ways to treat nonhuman animals, all bets are off. Intuition tells us that our trusted superfoods are just as healthy for our pets as they are for us, but five minutes of research reveals how dangerous our intuition can be. After all, some of the healthiest foods we eat are actually toxic to our pets! This is even scarier for those of us who share our homes with small animals, who only need to eat a tiny amount of a toxic food to suffer life-threatening side effects. If we have to watch out for dogs who eat grapes and garlic, can we really trust our hamsters with asparagus? 
 
Can you give your hamster asparagus?

Good news: the answer is yes, hamsters can eat asparagus in moderation. While it is true that some of the fruits and vegetables we consume regularly are dangerous for hamsters, asparagus appears to be perfectly safe—there is nothing in asparagus that would directly cause toxicity for your furry friend. So, if you’ve already given your hamster a generous helping of asparagus, don’t sweat it. Just make sure to practice moderation when feeding asparagus and any other vegetables to your hamster; feeding them too much can cause digestive issues, nutritional imbalances, and weight gain.

Health Benefits?

asparagusIn small quantities, asparagus can complement your hamster’s diet very well. These sweet green vegetables are high in many important micronutrients, including Vitamin K, copper, folate, and Vitamin C. They also contain small amounts of zinc, iron, phosphorous, and even Vitamin E, all of which can help support a healthy body. Like other vegetables, asparagus works fabulously as a treat because it is mildly flavored, usually easy to digest, and low in fat and calories. Asparagus is a safe, healthy way to treat your hamster to one of the delicate flavors of spring produce.

Vitamin K is believed to help support hamster reproductive health, but this vitamin is also known for its key role in the process of blood clotting. This vitamin is a requirement for blood clotting—if your hamster sustains an injury or needs to recover from a surgical procedure, Vitamin K will help facilitate the process. Fortunately, Vitamin K deficiency is not too common in hamsters, but it can’t hurt to add a little boost to your hamster’s diet while they are recovering!

Vitamin C is important for healing and immunity, too. Unlike dogs and cats, hamsters cannot synthesize Vitamin C on their own, so they have to meet their needs by getting it from their food. If your hamster does not consume adequate Vitamin C, they may develop a disease called scurvy. This illness can cause unpleasant symptoms like extreme and chronic fatigue, depression, weight loss, and adversity to touch (they may squeak loudly or try to run away). Severe scurvy can even paralyze your poor pet’s hind legs, which will leave them hopping or dragging their stiff hind legs behind them.

Things to Consider

If you think your hamster has any nutritional deficiency, consult a veterinarian! They should meet all of their nutrient needs by eating a high quality hamster mix from the pet store— you should not use fresh fruits and vegetables to try to compensate for any nutritional deficiencies. If your vet determines that their diet is lacking, they will most likely prescribe a dietary supplement. Asparagus is not a substitute for proper veterinary care, and it will not be enough to compensate for an overall poor diet.

Asparagus is loaded with vitamins, but it should not serve as a dietary staple for your hamster. Feeding your hamster too much asparagus can cause digestive problems, including stomach ache, diarrhea, and constipation. Too many fresh fruits and vegetables can cause weight gain, too. Even though asparagus is relatively low in calories (especially compared to other treats), it still provides some energy, and that energy can add up quickly for such tiny animals. If your hamster is already overweight or suffering from digestive issues, steer clear of the fresh fruits and vegetables.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, asparagus is a safe hamster treat that can provide a little nutritional boost, but it should not make up a large part of your pet’s caloric intake. You should only give your hamster one small chunk of asparagus per day—maximum.

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