If you’ve got a hamster and you’re wondering if hamsters can eat bread, you’re not alone. I had the same question when I first got my Teddy. So I asked around, and then I tried giving Teddy a piece of bread.
Turns out, hamsters are surprisingly much like humans when it comes to food.
So can hamsters eat bread ?
Yes, hamsters can eat bread. They should not have much of it though, because they gain very little nutrition from regular, white bread.
So yes, you can feed your hamster some pieces of bread. But not often, and not many at a time. He will enjoy munching on it, and you can pretend you had morning toast together.
Still, not all breads are created equal. Some are okay for hamsters, other breads should be avoided. The same goes for pasta actually. Let’s get into the details a bit.
Hamsters eat mostly grains
In the wild, hamsters eat mostly grains. This means that their diet consists mostly of grains they find around their environment, and a few veggies they stumble upon.
However given the region hamsters come from – from Syria, all the way into Russia and Mongolia and parts of China – their food is scarce. The terrains in the wilderness in those places do not grow many kinds of food for hamsters.
So, the hammies have to make do with whatever they find. Like grains, a lot of plant seeds, a couple of veggies, maybe even an edible root or two. But grains and seeds are the hamster’s preferred food.
And this is what you will also find in your hamster’s commercial food mix as well.
To tie into the topic at hand, bread is made from different grains that were ground into flour. So, by relation yes bread can be okay for hamsters.
But there are definitely some things you need to consider before your feed your hamster any kind of bread.
How much bread and pasta is safe for your hamster
First off, let’s talk about portion sizes. For humans, bread can be eaten in very large quantities. The health benefits and dangers of eating bread won’t be discussed here.
But I will tell you that hamsters can’t eat as much as humans, even scaled down to their size. Hammies are very greedy little creatures, and they will eat everything you give them.
That does not mean that you should, or that it’s healthy for them, at all.
A word on hamster cheek pouches, be careful what you feed your hammy
An injury to a hammy’s cheek pouch is one of the worst, since it’s not an easy place to fix or get into without hurting the hamster. So best to avoid that problem altogether by not giving your hammy anything sharp, or very big.
The same condition goes for any kind of food that can get sticky. Parts of it will remain stuck in your hamster’s cheek pouches, leading to various diseases and infections.
If the hamster can’t push all the food out of his cheeks, he will not feel alright and keep trying to push it until he hurts himself.
This applies for cooked, sticky pasta, any kind of sauces, anything sweet, or any fluffy parts of bread. Best to feed him things that are dry. Those can’t leave much of a residue in the hamster’s cheeks. He can’t stick his tongue in those cheeks to clean them out, like humans.
How much bread to feed your hamster
When giving your hammy bread, you should focus on the crust. This is the crunchy bit that hamsters will love. But make sure the shell is not overly crunchy, and can’t break into small shards that will cut the hamster’s cheek pouches.
Also, make sure your avoid the white, fluffy part of the bread.
As for how much bread, I usually give my Teddy – adult Syrian hammy – a half inch/1 cm piece every few weeks.
This is partly because there are a lot of extra carbs in the bread, that the hamster does not need.
And partly because he has a lot of grains and seeds in his usual food mix.
How much pasta to feed your hamster
When it comes to pasta, your hammy can eat it as well. But you need to give him very small amounts, and only dry pasta.
This is because your hamster will probably just shove the whole thing into his cheeks. And we’ve just discussed the whole sticky cheeks deal.
So, best to give your hamster dry pasta, in small pieces. Make sure the shapes are small, like a letter from the alphabet pasta. Just make sure the letter isn’t an I or something with sharp parts.
The pasta should not be fed often to your hamster. This is because it has a lot of carbs, like the bread, and the hamster does have carbs coming in from the grains in his food mix.
What kind of bread or pasta hamsters can eat
Ah yes. Hammies can have bread and pasta – but what kind ?
Well, for hamsters, the grains they eat in the wild are great because they’ve got the shell. The shell of the grains has a lot of vitamins and minerals.
When it comes to regular, white bread or pasta, those shells are gone. That’s why they’re so white, because they’ve been processed to remove anything but the inside of the grain. As such, they have a high gluten and carb content, but no other nutritional value.
They’re basically empty carbs. This does not help your hamster. It doesn’t help you either, to be honest.
So the best thing to do, for yourself, and for your hamster – trade up to whole grain. Whole grain bread, pasta, and brown rice.
These still have their shells, mostly, and have much more nutrients. They’re healthier both for yourself and for your hamster.
If you’re wondering, yes, hamsters can have cooked brown rice. Just not more than a couple of grains at a time, since they will hide them in their cheeks.
Aside from all that, the bread must not be sweetened in any way. That excludes the majority of Western bread, like the Toast/French toast square bread, and hot dog buns, or burger buns.
So where does that leave you ? Well, with the rustic looking, European-style wholegrain bread. Those are not usually sweetened, they just have a bit of salt.
Maybe it sounds odd to you, or maybe it’s the bread you usually eat. I’m just telling you which is healthier for your hamster. And ultimately for you too.
The same goes for pasta too. Go for wholegrain pasta, and you’re better off. And you won’t get as sticky a pasta dish either.
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Overfeeding your hamster on bread
Alright then, what if you overfeed your hamster on bread or pasta ? Or if you already did ?
The main problem here is weight gain. For hamsters this is more of an issue, because they won’t have the will to exercise that humans do.
We know why we’d need to shed some weight. Your hamster doesn’t understand the health benefits, though.
An obese hamster will have heart and circulatory problems, and develop joint problems as well. Those are very hard to treat in a hamster, since he is so small.
If your hamster’s already overweight, you need to check out this article right away. You’ll find out the dangers of overfeeding your hamster in more detail, and how to slim him down.
Of all the things to overfeed a hamster on, carbs are the worst idea. A big, fluffy hamster is cute and all, but think about his health. If the running wheel becomes a problem for him, then he is in clear danger.
Commercial food provides a good enough base
You can totally feed your hamster food you have in your pantry and kitchen. However that means his meals won’t always be balanced.
In my opinion, and this is what I’ve been doing with my Teddy since I first got him, it’s best to give your hamster a commercial food mix. Then if you want, you can add a bit of fruit, or veg, or whatever you think is fine in his diet, as an extra.
For more info on what you can safely add to your hamster’s diet, check out this safe foods list.
This one is a good blend, and the whole bag can last your for a couple of months or more. Depending on what kind of hamster you have, and how many you have.
A Syrian hammy needs 2 teaspoons of food mix per day, every day. While Dwarf types are fine with just one teaspoon.
Your hammy will become a picky eater in time, this happens with most of them. Just make sure he gets all of his food.
You can check out the listing on Amazon for this food mix here, and read the reviews as well.
A word from Teddy
I hope you found out what you were looking for here. Us hammies can have a bit of bread and pasta too, just not a lot, and not often. We like peanuts more, to be honest. But we’re happy you want to share your food with us !
If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the articles below.