Kale is quite the trendy health food these days.
But can hamsters eat kale just like their human counterparts?As hamster owners, we want to keep our hamsters healthy and happy.
Everyone knows that kale is a superfood for people, so it makes sense to wonder if it’s true for hamsters.If you’ve been asking, “Can hamsters eat kale?”, the answer is, well, complicated.
Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and our ultimate verdict.
Can hamsters Eat Kale?
Yes – but only on occasion and only in small amounts.
Kale contains a lot of beneficial nutrients, but it also contains some things that can cause:
- Gastric irritation
- Bladder stones
- Kidney stones
- Other complications
Kale contains high amounts of beta-carotene, carotenoids, calcium, sulforaphane, potassium, magnesium and vitamins C and K.
All of these nutrients are just as beneficial to hamsters as they are to humans.
How Much Kale Can hamsters Eat?
You don’t want to go overboard on feeding your hamster too much kale, mainly due to the fact that kale contains high levels of oxalates which. if accumulated in certain amounts in your hamster’s system, will lead to minor issues such as diarrhea, and more serious problems such as bladder stones and kidney problems.
Most cases of hamster sickness due to over-eating kale are can be solved with simple medicinal treatment, however more serious cases can require hospitalization for proper treatment.As long as you feed your hamster a moderate amount of kale from time to time, kale can be a nice addition to your hamster’s diet and you don’t have anything to worry about.
Health Benefits of Kale for hamsters
Kale can be extremely healthy for hamsters to eat. Not only is it a good source of many vitamins and minerals, kale is also low in calories, which makes it an ideal treat for overweight hamsters who need to watch their diet.
Some of the many health benefits of kale for hamsters include:
- Good source of vitamins A, C, and K
- Good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and copper
- Rich in beta-carotene
- Rich in fiber
- Potential cancer fighting properties
- Improved vision and eye health
Risks of Feeding Kale to hamsters
One of the biggest problems seen in hamsters that eat kale is thallium poisoning.
Thallium is a chemical that is found in many green vegetables, including kale, and it has toxic properties that are bad for both hamsters and humans.
Of course, one would have to eat tons of kale in order to end up with thallium poisoning.
As long as you aren’t feeding your hamster a steady diet of leafy greens, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Giving him a few kale leaves once in a while isn’t going to hurt them, and as mentioned, there are many health benefits.One more warning: if your hamster is prone to kidney stones, they probably should not consume kale.
Kale contains oxalic acid, which has been shown to accelerate the formation of kidney stones.
hamsters who have had kidney stones in the past are usually on specialized diets anyway, which you should not alter without the guidance of a veterinarian.
How to Introduce Kale to your hamster?
Many hamster owners prefer to take a suggestion from their vet when it comes to how much quantity of kale should be given.
Most veterinarians recommend that hamster should be given kale on a weekly basis.
But, if you are going to provide kale to your pet for the first time, then you should give in very less amount.
Or you can mix kale with your pet favorite treat.While introducing kale to your hamster, monitor your pet reaction. You will get to know whether he/she likes it or not.
If your pet loves it, then you can give this green treat to your hamster occasionally.It is also recommended that don’t give cooked kale to your hamster ever because hamsters can’t digest cooked food. Thus, it can disturb their digestive system very badly.
Always give raw kale that will maintain your hamster health.Before giving kale to your hamster, must wash vegetable properly with fresh water. Removing chemicals or pesticides present in the vegetable is essential.
Feeding unhealthy food can lead your hamsters to suffer from various health problems.
Always clean uneaten kale on a daily basis to prevent bacteria and mold. Also avoid kale with oils, dressings or seasonings for your hamsters.
- Can hamsters eat kale stems too?
You are not alone.Kale stems are one of the vegetable items that gets frequently asked about on the internet.
When we’re cooking kale for ourselves, we tend to discard them because they’re tough and they don’t cook at the same rate at the leaves.
But nutritionally, those stems are just as good as the leaves, and their toughness can help keep your hamsters’ ever-growing teeth in tip-top condition.A small handful of mixed kale leaves and stems is a great addition to your hamsters food bowl.
- Is it better raw or cooked for the stomach of the hamster?
The hamster can eat raw kale, and cooked kale is not recommended for them.
This is because hamsters simply don’t digest cooked foods well in general. Before you give this to the hamster, wash and rinse the leaves to remove any bugs or pesticides.
To sum it up, kale isn’t toxic and can be healthy in regulated amounts. Full of vitamins, fibers and minerals it is a perfectly safe vegetable for your hamster.