Bell peppers are full of essential vitamins and minerals and are very healthy. You should eat bell peppers as often as you can. But can you feed bell peppers to your pet hamster?
Hamsters have lived in the wild for years, during which time they have eaten roughly the same foods. Therefore, it would be best if you aim to mirror their diet in the wild for the hamsters to remain healthy and comfortable as pets.
Bell peppers closely resemble the vegetables hamsters eat in the wild, and their digestive systems are already fine-tuned to them.
Below are other facts related to the inclusion of bell peppers to a hamster’s diet.
Are Bell Peppers Healthy for Hamsters?
Yes, bell peppers are beneficial for your hamster’s health. Unlike the corn-based treats you find in most hamster stores, bell peppers are whole feeds.
Their mild sweetness and vibrant colors are attributed to naturally occurring chemicals that boost your pet’s health. For instance, the bright colors in bell peppers come from carotenoids.
The peppers are high in a carotenoid known as lycopene that might protect your hamster from some types of cancer.
Bell peppers also contain high levels of antioxidants. While hamsters need no antioxidants to support their metabolic processes, they will prove useful in getting rid of the free radicals that these metabolic processes produce.
These free radicals might result in genetic mutations that increase a hamster’s risk of contracting chronic diseases like cancer and arthritis.
Moreover, bell peppers contain high amounts of vitamins, fiber, minerals and iron while boasting low calories. Vitamins boost a hamster’s immunity and eyesight while iron increases the production of healthy red blood cells.
Fiber improves digestion in your hamster since it slows down the process to allow optimal absorption of nutrients and prevents constipation.
Can Hamsters Eat Bell Pepper Seeds?
No, bell pepper seeds are toxic to hamsters. These seeds can also choke the hamster though they seem small and cause indigestion.
When giving your pet bell peppers, strip the seeds and cut away the stem. It would also be best if you then chopped the bell pepper into small cubes that are easy for your hamster to consume.
Which Bell Pepper is Best for Hamsters?
The word ‘bell pepper’ denotes a broad range of vegetables on the market. The most common are chilli, yellow, green and red peppers. The best options for hamsters are the sweet peppers, which include yellow, green and red.
The colors of the sweet bell peppers do not matter since they contain similar amounts of nutrients. They are also all crunchy and sweet. Sweet bell peppers are therefore guaranteed to be instant favorites for your pet.
However, if you are intent on the pepper type with the highest nutritional benefits, settle for the red variety.
This contains the highest amounts of antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamins and carotenoid phytonutrients. Dried and fresh sweet peppers are both excellent options for hamsters
Can Hamsters Eat Hot Peppers?
Hot bell peppers have a few health benefits for humans. For example, they have a chemical known as capsaicin that reduces the risk of heart diseases and ulcers.
Even so, hot peppers are not ideal for hamsters. This is because the animals are less resilient than humans, and the peppers might upset their digestive systems.
The spicy peppers are also too hot for a hamster to digest properly and might cause severe or mild intestinal distress in your pet.
How Often Should you Give Your Hamster Peppers?
While bell peppers are undoubtedly healthy, feeding too much of them to your hamster negatively impacts its health.
This is because the peppers also contain sugar and water, meaning they should not be the primary sources of vitamins, antioxidants fiber and iron for your hamster.
In excess, the water in bell peppers can lead to diarrhea and dehydration in your pet. Dehydration in hamsters is not so easy to treat because of their small sizes and often leads to death.
Sugars, on the other hand, can cause diabetes and obesity in hamsters.
When including bell peppers in your hamster’s diet, do so in moderation. 2-3 servings weekly of small pieces of peppers are enough for your pet.
In this case, the small piece is almost equivalent to half the size of a Robovoski or Syrian hamster’s head. 5 mm of bell pepper per serving is enough for dwarf hamsters.
Start with small servings then slowly increase the portions after seeing how well your pet tolerates the food. You can also decrease the servings if the hamster stores too much of it or leaves some uneaten.
Mix the pepper with other vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cucumber, lettuce and carrots.
The staple food in your hamster’s diet should remain mixed, or high-quality pellet feeds to maintain its nutritional status.
These will deliver the much-needed energy and essential nutrients to keep your hamster energized and healthy.
When you are sure the hamster’s nutritional needs have been met, you can then supplement the diet with bell peppers.
With these guidelines, you know how to include bell peppers in your hamster’s diet. Along with the bell peppers, you should still observe the right feeding habits to keep your hamster happy and healthy. These include:
- Provide fresh water daily.
- Remove all food remnants a few hours after serving. These include fruits, vegetables and powdered foods that can grow moldy or rot.
- Do not overfeed on vegetables since this can lead to diarrhea.
Other than nutritional feeds invest in chewable items like hamster toys, untreated softwood sticks and hay cubes. These will strengthen your pet’s teeth while filing them to keep them from overgrowing.