Hamsters can drink milk occasionally in small quantities. Milk itself is not toxic, but several risks are associated with it. Excess milk can cause diarrhea and other health issues in hamsters.
However, baby hamsters can drink milk, but they should be nourished by their mother until they are weaned.
But milk can be beneficial for adult hamsters if they have a cold. Milk, warm water, and honey mixed can ease their cold while you take them to the vet.
Keep on reading to know why hamsters shouldn’t drink milk and other risks associated with it.
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Can Hamsters Drink Milk?
Yes, but in small quantities.
Usually, hamster eats nuts, seeds, vegetables, and meat in the wild. They are omnivorous, which theoretically means they can consume milk, but feeding milk to your little bud could be risky.
Milk itself is not toxic for hamsters, but you shouldn’t feed them. Milk is high in fat and calories, which is not ideal for a hamster. They are lactose intolerant, which means the enzyme needed to digest the milk disappears in grown-up hamsters.
Thus, feeding milk could irritate their stomach and lead to diarrhea, lethargy, and weight loss. In fact, milk can also lead to dehydration in small animals such as hamsters.
Is Milk Safe For Hamsters?
Hamsters are omnivore which means they can eat both meat and plants.
If your hamster happens to drink a small amount of milk accidentally, they should be fine.
Milk is not toxic for hamsters, but it’s not a stable food item in hamsters’ diet, and feeding milk can have several consequences.
Milk is high in fat and calories, which can quickly gain some pounds on your little buddy.
Hamsters are lactose intolerant; a sudden dietary change in their diet could upset their stomach resulting in diarrhea, breathing issues, loss of appetite, laziness, and discharge around their eyes or nose.
Thus, feeding milk is probably not life-threatening, but it can indeed cause some bad experiences for your hamster.
Health Benefit Of Dairy For Hamsters
While the dairy product is not recommended for hamsters, they still have some notable health benefits for hamsters.
- Milk is rich in calcium and vitamin D, which can significantly improve your hamster’s bone and tooth health.
- Milk, warm water, and honey can also relieve your hamster’s cough.
- If your hamster has stomach trouble, the probiotics of yogurt can help ease the pain.
You should be highly cautious while feeding milk. Take a spoon of skim milk and let your hamster drink it, and avoid splitting it inside the cage.
And if one or two drops of milk are spitted in the cage, you should right away clean it up. Otherwise, it will spoil quickly, which can stink and have possibilities of illness in your pet.
Why Should Hamsters Not Drink Milk?
In the wild, hamsters eat vegetables, nuts, seeds, and meat, and milk is not a staple part of their diet.
While milk is not toxic for hamsters still; they shouldn’t drink milk as it can cause several health issues.
Here are a few reasons why hamsters shouldn’t drink milk:
Hamsters Are Lactose Intolerant
This is a myth that all hamsters are lactose intolerant. In fact, they have a special pouch in their digestive system to break down the milk’s lactose.
Still, milk is not suitable for hamsters; it spoils too quickly and becomes a house for bacteria.
This means when your hamster drinks the milk, the bacteria can seriously harm your pet’s health and lead to illness and stomach pain.
High in Calories And Fats
The calorie and fat content of milk are too high for a hamster.
Feeding milk to your little hamster could lead to obesity and diabetes, eventually attracting other health issues in the long term.
Usually, hamsters eat about 30 to 58 calories per day depending on their weight, but if they are drinking milk, it’s tough for the owner to track calories in liquid, and you might end up fattening up your pet.
Excessive milk can cause dehydration. Milk is rich in fat and calories, and hamsters couldn’t easily digest it.
Continuously feeding milk could cause several digestive issues, such as diarrhea which is highly dangerous for hamsters.
It causes your hamster to lose a lot of water from their body, leading them to dehydration, which could be fatal in the long run.
So, if you notice your hamster has sunken and dry eyes, is losing weight, urinating less but has a strong odor and color, it’s a sign that they are dehydrated.
In this case, do not try to force your little bud to drink water; instead, you should take your hamster to a vet immediately so they can administer fluids.
Too Much Liquid is Dangerous For A Hamster
Too much liquid could be dangerous for hamsters.
Hamsters are originated from the deserted region, and it’s usually scorching and dry throughout the year.
So, naturally, hamsters don’t need much water, and sometimes they can go a long time without water.
On average, hamsters need around 1-2 teaspoons of water every day, and more than that could hurt their digestive system, causing diarrhea and other health issues.
However, if you are concerned that your hamster is drinking less water, you can always check for dehydration.
Gently pinch a delicate part of your hamster’s skin, pull it and let it go; if the skin goes quickly, your hamster isn’t dehydrated, but if it’s going slowly, it’s the sign of dehydration.
In this case, take your hamster to a vet and avoid forcing your hamster to drink more water.
Can Baby Hamsters Drink Milk?
While adult hamsters are lactose intolerant, the baby hamster can still digest milk without an issue, but it should come from their mother and not from any other source.
Cow milk is nutritious but only for calves and not for puppies, kittens, or hamsters.
If you are handling a baby hamster, you should contact a vet and find out which milk is best for the baby hamster.
You can’t simply feed them a cow, goat, or any other milk; it’s not meant for them. Baby hamsters should be fed by their mother only, or specially formulated milk is also available for abandoned baby hamsters.
Can Hamsters Drink Cow Milk?
Hamsters should avoid cow’s milk. The nutrition in cow’s milk is made for calves and not for hamsters or any other animal.
Adult hamsters can drink milk in small quantities, and it won’t probably cause any serious issue, but cow’s milk is rich in fat and calories, which will surely cause an upset stomach.
So, it’s best to avoid milk and only offer clean water for the health of your little buddy.
Can Hamsters Drink Goat Milk?
Goat milk is much lighter than cow’s milk, and it has a low amount of fats and protein and is much easier to digest.
But as I said, a fully grown hamster does not need milk to fulfill its nutritional requirement. The diet usually contains hay, vegetable, fruits, and meat.
However, if you are handling a baby hamster, goat milk can be used in emergencies; it’s less harmful than other milk.
Lastly, consult with a vet before making any changes in your little buddy’s diet; a sudden change could cause discomfort.
Can Hamsters Drink Soy Milk?
Yes, hamsters can drink soy milk.
Soy milk is a plant-based source of protein, and they are lactose-free. This means hamsters can drink and digest soy milk without hurting their stomach.
However, soymilk contains an excess amount of calories and fat, which can lead to obesity and other health issues.
Therefore, soy milk is neither totally safe nor harmful for a hamster. So, if you are feeding soy milk to your little buddy, keep it limited and remember moderation is the key.
Can Hamsters Drink Coconut Milk?
Yes, hamsters can have a small teaspoon of coconut milk once in a while, and it’s highly beneficial and nutritious.
A small amount of coconut milk won’t probably make your hamster sick; avoid as much as possible.
Coconut milk is a natural laxative and can cause diarrhea in hamsters if you feed them more often.
Can Hamsters Drink Milk Every Day?
Adult hamsters shouldn’t drink milk at all; it’s not good for their health. Milk gets spoils quickly, and the germs can lead to diarrhea and other digestive issues.
And diarrhea in small animals quickly leads to dehydration, which can be fatal sometimes.
Thus, avoid feeding milk to your little hamster as much as possible and stick to clean, hygienic water.
What Can Hamsters Drink Besides Water?
Water is best and healthy for hamsters, and I don’t recommend feeding any other liquid to your hamsters.
Any other liquid like milk or canned juice can cause several digestion issues like stomach pain, diarrhea, etc.
Hamsters are originated from semi-desert environments, and they don’t drink a lot of water; a teaspoon of water per day is sufficient for them.
But still, you can treat your little hamster with fresh fruit or vegetable juice once in a while but strictly not the canned one.
To conclude this, milk is not toxic for hamsters, but it should be avoided as much as possible.
Hamsters mainly eat nuts, hay, vegetables, meat, and seed. Hamsters are lactose intolerant, and drinking milk could hurt their stomach.
Milk contains a lot of fat and calories, leading to obesity and other health issues. In addition, it can cause digestive problems, diarrhea, or discomfort.
So, instead of feeding something risky like milk, you should opt for other healthy foods like commercial hamster treats or fresh vegetables.
Lastly, I highly recommend you be cautious before including anything new in your hamster’s diet.
And if there are any issues or concerns after feeding milk to your hamster, you should immediately stop feeding milk to your hamster and consult with your vet.
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