If you’re wondering if your hamster can eat parsley, or dill, rosemary, even dandelions, you’re right where you need to be. I asked myself the same thing when my girlfriend was chopping a bunch of parsley the other day, and wondered if Teddy can have some.
Well, we tried giving him a little bit, and we googled and asked other hamster owner friends. This is what we found out, and you can use this list to know what kind of herbs you can give your hamster.
So can hamsters eat herbs like parsley or dill or rosemary ?
Yes, hamsters can eat some herbs. Not all herbs, and not in large quantities. But they can still eat them.
There are safe and unsafe herbs for hamsters, and we’ll look over both lists. Most of these herbs are possibly already in your cupboard (dried and ground up) or maybe in your garden, fresh and green.
For the most part, hamsters rely on grains as their main source of food. So herbs while tasty, should not be given often or in large bunches. A few leaves here and there are enough. Take into account how small the hamster is too.
Now let’s see which herbs are safe for hamsters to eat.
Herbs safe for hamsters to eat
There isn’t much info available on herbs for hamsters, but this is what we found out. There will be herbs and a couple of plants in this article, just to see the general profile hamsters go for. So here are the safe hamster herbs and plants:
- oregano sage
- wheat sprouts
- beetroot (all the plant)
- ribwort plantain
- wormwood plant
- rose petals
We’ve given Teddy (male Syrian hamster) a few leaves of parsley and he ate them right up. Didn’t even pouch them, he just ate them on the spot. Our two guinea pigs love parsley too, so I guess the flavor is mild enough for small animals.
When it comes to flowers, you’ll see hamsters are okay with the short-petal kind of flowers. Like marigold, dandelion, daisy and so on. They’ve got short flowers, and their pollen carriers (stamems if I remember anything from biology classes) are short, unlike for example lilies.
When it comes to how much and how often you can give these herbs and plants to your hamster, there is a caveat. They are indeed safe, but only if given in small amounts, and not often.
Too much can upset the hamster’s stomach. And when it comes to hamster digestive problems, those are very hard to handle since hamster stomachs are fairly different to treat than human stomachs.
You’ll find some of these herbs in the hamster’s food mix too, sometimes. Or possibly in some hamster treats.
A word on mint, though. While it is safe, it definitely needs to be given sparingly and in very small amounts. Too much mint can cause stomach problems even in humans, let alone small hamsters.
Herbs your hamster should never eat
There are such herbs, and sometimes they’re not immediately obvious. So let’s see which herbs aren’t safe for hamsters:
- bay laurel
- lemon grass
- lemon balm
- lemon verbena
- aloe vera plant skin (the gel is fine)
- most flowers (except the ones I mentioned above)
- english ivy or any ivy
There are a few herb-like veggies like garlic, onion, and leek. None of these are safe for hamsters, because they’re too acidic. The same goes for the lemon-related plants mentioned above (like lemongrass), since they release a lemon-like scent, taste, and oil. So there’s the whole ”don’t feed your hamster any citrus” thing again.
Some of these herbs are used in human cuisine, like for example cilantro and cumin are used in most variants of curry. As for aloe vera, most aloe vera plants (and there are hundreds) are unsafe to eat.
Of all the available ones, aloe barbadensis miller is the most common safe one. That being said, the skin of the plant is not good for anyone to eat. The gel, in the other hand, is safe. It’s not tasty, it’s actually bitter-sour but it has great healing properties.
Too much aloe vera can upset the stomach and give your hamster a case of diarrhea. So only give it sparingly, and remember that it oxidizes very fast (it won’t keep for more than a few hours).
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What to feed hamsters (in general)
Usually a hamster’s diet consists of grains and grain-based foods (with lots of fiber), a bit of veggies, some fruits, and some protein whenever the hamster can find a bit. Nuts and peanuts are welcome too.
That being said, most commercial hamster foods have a healthy mix of all food sources. So supplementing the hamster’s food with a few herbs is fine, but not entirely necessary.
You can either leave the food for your hamster in his food bowl, or sprinkle it in his bedding. He’ll forage for it, and it will be a good way to keep his weight under control if he has a problem.
You can read more about what hamsters can eat here, and find the general list of safe and unsafe hamster foods. You probably have some of them in your fridge or pantry already.
Generally, hamsters can eat many things humans eat. Like for example carrots, cucumbers, a bit of salad (or most leafy greens), broccoli, asparagus, boiled plain chicken, plain peanuts, a slice of apple, and so on.
You can find out much more in general hamster care with these 15 essential steps.
A word from Teddy
I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies are very greedy and will eat anything you give us, but there are some herbs we just can’t stand !
If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.