Can Hamsters Have Celery?
Celery is one of the quintessential vegetable tray staples. Second only to carrot sticks, celery is the go-to option for every veggie platter, and it is one of the most practical produce options to pack on car trips and in kids’ lunch boxes. Celery has a strong, distinctive flavor that a couple of people find off-putting, but most people enjoy it dipped into hummus or ranch, cooked into a wide range of soups, stir fries, and pastas, or even smothered in peanut butter and topped with raisins. Because it is cheap and widely available, it’s one of the go-to healthy snacks for many people.
Celery is one of those foods that our doctors applaud us for eating—they are low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with a ton of the nutrients that help us fight disease and maintain health. Since they are healthy, affordable, and versatile, we often have celery sitting in our refrigerators. When you have pets, the snacks in your refrigerator aren’t just for you! But is celery a safe option to share with your hamster? Fruits and vegetables seem innocent enough, but celery can be awfully strong, and hamsters are awfully tiny. So, can you give your hamster celery?
The answer is yes, hamsters can eat celery in moderation. Our furry friends tend to love fresh foods, and celery is one of the best choices for most of them! This low-calorie, low-fat, high-fiber vegetable is cheap, readily available, has a long shelf life, and is generally well tolerated by adult hamsters. As long as your pet does not eat too much of it, they may even benefit from consuming celery on a regular basis. Just make sure that you give them fresh, crispy celery (no brown or soggy spots!) that has been washed thoroughly—even organic vegetables are covered in pesticides that may damage your hamster’s health in large quantities.
Because celery is rich in antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory compounds, it can protect your pet from a wide range of diseases. While there has not been a lot of research pertaining to the effects of celery on hamster health, many studies have found that consuming antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables correlates with a significantly lower risk of many common ailments, from minor to life-threatening. This is because antioxidants have the unique ability to neutralize particles called free radicals.
Free radicals, which come from environmental factors as well as metabolic processes, carry a very high charge that makes them extremely reactive. When they react with your hamster’s body cells, they can alter DNA and cause genetic mutations. Many genetic mutations don’t amount to much, but some of them later lead to serious health problems such as arthritis, insulin resistance, type two diabetes, and several types of cancer. By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants can prevent these reactions from happening, lowering your pet’s risk of illness.
By reducing inflammation, antioxidant-rich foods like celery may even be able to alleviate symptoms of existing illness. Anti-inflammatory foods can be especially helpful for inflammatory diseases like arthritis; they can reduce swelling, lower pain levels, and improve joint mobility.
Celery is also full of fiber, which can help regulate digestion. Dietary fiber has the ability to fight both constipation and diarrhea because it can soak up water—it can absorb excess fluid in the intestine to alleviate diarrhea, and it can introduce water into the colon to alleviate constipation. If your hamster seems to have a serious or chronic case of digestive problems, take them to the vet instead of giving them fresh fruits and vegetables. Your pet may have a blockage or an underlying health problem that needs veterinary care.
Celery is healthy, but it still should not be given to hamsters in large quantities. Too much celery can cause diarrhea and vomiting, especially if they aren’t used to eating it. Whenever you introduce a new food into your furry friend’s diet, it is important to take it slow. Give them a few bites of celery and wait around 48 hours to see how they respond before increasing their serving size.
Things to Consider
When giving your hamster any fresh fruits or vegetables, make sure to cut them into tiny pieces to prevent choking—and to minimize the chances of food getting stuck in your pet’s cheek pouches. It is also important to remove any fresh produce that they do not eat before it spoils. Hamsters are hoarders, and they may hide food and then try to eat it after it has gone bad. Give your hamster only enough fresh fruits and vegetables as they will eat in one sitting.
In conclusion, celery is a great supplementary food for healthy adult hamsters. It is rich in fiber and antioxidants, affordable, and good for dental health. In order to make your hamster’s celery experience as safe as possible, cut it up into small pieces and make sure to provide it in moderation.