What Kind of Fruit Should You Feed a Chinese Dwarf Hamster?

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What Kind of Fruit Should You Feed a Chinese Dwarf Hamster?
Chinese dwarf hamster (Cute little hamster having lunch image by Andrr from Fotolia.com)

In recent years, Chinese dwarf hamsters have become popular pets for both adults and children. Distinguished from conventional hamsters by their slender body shape and white underbelly, Chinese dwarf hamsters also have unique diet requirements. Fruit plays an important role in your hamster's nutrition: making sure your hamster eats the right type and amount of fruit can be the key to a happy, healthy pet.

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General Diet

While the majority of your Chinese dwarf hamster's diet should be made up of lab blocks or hamster pellets, you should feed your hamster both fruit and vegetables regularly. These foods provide vitamins and nutrients that your hamster may not get by consuming pellets alone. Occasionally, try giving your Chinese dwarf hamster a treat such as breakfast cereal, or even a cricket. You may also wish to supplement your hamster's diet with a vitamin pill.

Best & Worst Fruits

Luckily for their owners, Chinese dwarf hamsters are not very picky about what type of fruit they eat. Chinese dwarf hamsters enjoy eating apples, kiwis, peaches, plums, papayas, melons and most types of berries (blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are all fine). If you plan to serve your Chinese dwarf hamster apples or grapes, be sure to remove the seeds. The only fruit you should not give to your Chinese dwarf hamster is watermelon, as its high water levels can cause digestive problems.

How to Serve

Cut any fruit you serve to your Chinese dwarf hamster into small pieces so that it can easily chew and digest it. Furthermore, Chinese dwarf hamsters love chewing on anything they can find. As a result, you should also use a ceramic food bowl instead of a wooden or plastic one. For a special treat, try hiding the fruit inside of a toilet paper roll: your hamster will have to use his smarts to figure out how to get the treat, keeping his brain healthy and active.

Feeding Amount

Due to their smaller bodies, dwarf hamsters are more susceptible to diabetes than their larger relatives, and Chinese dwarf hamsters are no exception. One cause of diabetes in hamsters is overconsumption of simple sugars such as fructose and glucose, both of which are plentiful in most fruits. As a result, it is extremely important to limit how much fruit you give to your hamsters--fruit should be a treat, not an everyday meal. While every hamster is different, a good rule of thumb is to give your Chinese dwarf hamster fruit once a week or less.

Diabetic Diet

Diabetes is a condition in which a hamster's body does not produce enough of a hormone called insulin, and as a result, is unable to process simple sugars effectively. While diabetes is a very serious health concern in Chinese dwarf hamsters, it can be controlled with careful diet planning. Unfortunately, fruit is one of the foods that diabetic hamsters should absolutely not eat. Try replacing the fruit in your hamster's diet with fresh vegetables such as peppers--tasty, semi-sweet snacks that are both delicious and healthy. Above all, if you think your hamster may have diabetes, contact a veterinarian immediately.

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