Can (And Should) Hamsters Eat Bacon?

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Hamsters are popular pets for many reasons. They’re cute, inexpensive, and relatively easy to take care of. However, there are a few foods you should never give your hamster that could cause serious harm or even death.

Large amounts of salt, sugar, or fat can cause obesity, which impacts the heart and kidneys!

This is not good for hamsters, and as we know some bacon can be very salty and contain a lot of fat. So can hamsters eat bacon?

No! Bacon is bad news for hamsters because it contains large amounts of sodium nitrite! This ingredient is added with the intention of preventing the growth of Clostridium botulinum. However, large amounts can be very unhealthy and pose a risk to your hamster’s health.

Most hamsters will nibble on bacon if you give it to them. “but” you should never feed it to them, no matter how much they like it.

Even if your hamster only eats a small piece and doesn’t get sick first time around, because of the sodium nitrite in bacon it’s just too risky.

If you want to give your hamster some type of meat, stick to lean turkey or chicken instead of bacon and avoid feeding salty or sugary snacks.

Sodium Nitrite In Raw Bacon Can Be Harmful To Hamsters

Sodium nitrite is a preservative used in processed meats like bacon, which prevents bacteria from growing. Prolonged exposure to sodium nitrite in hamsters can cause cancer, also known as hamster cheek pouch tumors.

These are benign and treatable when caught early, but if left untreated they have up to a 90% mortality rate once malignant.

The symptoms of this type of tumor include abnormal weight loss, your hamster may also make wheezing sounds when breathing or any other difficulty breathing or swallowing food.

Also, pinkish-red splotches on the skin may be visible with excessive scratching on the parts of their body.

Bacon can also cause problems for the hamster’s stomach too. “Bacon binding” is a mass of undigested, clumped-together bacon that builds up in the hamster’s stomach causing a blockage.

Bacon binding can lead to serious health problems for your hamster, which may even need surgery to remove it from their stomach!

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Can Hamsters Eat Cooked Bacon?

The same goes for cooked bacon too. It’s a no-no for hamsters. Again, the concern here is the sodium nitrite, which converts to nitrosamines in the intestine and can cause cancer when consumed in large amounts.

Nontoxic levels of cooked bacon won’t be as potent as raw bacon, but it’s best to avoid feeding it altogether if possible.

Even the most commercial types of pre-cooked bacon are preserved with sodium nitrite, which can be dangerous. If your hamster consumes a large amount of this ingredient it can be fatal.

What If A Hamster Eats Bacon Accidentally?

If you’re a pet owner, you probably know how much your pets love to explore the world around them. This can be dangerous and difficult for both the animal and its owner.

It’s very important to make sure that any food like bacon is safely out of reach from your hamster’s curious paws when letting them out of their cage for a run.

But what if my hamster eats bacon by accident?

Take Note: If you’re concerned about your hamster accidentally consuming bacon and you noticed any unusual symptoms in your animal such as Lethargy or loss of weight without an identifiable cause, you should take your let to see the veterinarian immediately.

Once your there an examination should reveal what your pet has eaten and your vet will be able to tell you what to do next.

What Should Hamsters Eat Instead Of Bacon?

A hamster’s diet should be 16 percent protein and 5 percent fat, to help keep your pet healthy. Avoid giving hamster foods that are high in salt like bacon, sugar, or too much fat because these can make your pet sick.

Hamsters naturally eat a mixture of fruit, seeds, nuts, cereals, insect larvae, insects, and crickets. You can also feed your hamster grains like oats whole wheat bread, and veggies!

Things like carrots, lettuce corn kernels broccoli cauliflower are great for their diet however, make sure none of the veggies have been sprayed with pesticides and make sure they eat it in small quantities.

Meat Alternatives

If you are looking for a meat alternative to bacon that your hamster can eat, then try feeding them these meats listed below (make sure the food is cooked first without any seasoning before feeding it to your hamster)

It’s always best to get the freshest possible ingredients and avoid processed foods as much as possible.

Meat Alternatives:

  • Chicken
  • Prawns
  • Shrimp
  • Fish

Conclusion

There are many good commercial diets out there for hamsters that are nutritionally balanced and healthy. But as with any dietary change, make sure to change slowly over time so as not to upset your hamster’s stomach or have diarrhea issues.

Hamsters are primarily herbivores and their diet is typically made up of seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and grains. There isn’t much in a human kitchen that would be appropriate for a hamster to eat which means you should not offer them any type of meat or animal product like bacon.

Remember, If your hamster does happen to eat some bacon somehow then it may cause them issues such as nausea or diarrhea and you should take your pet to see a vet asap as mentioned above.

It’s never recommended to feed your hamster bacon no matter what, not just because of what is said in this article but because of their sensitive digestive system and small stomach capacity it just wouldn’t be good for them.

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