Can hamsters drink milk? Doctor-approved facts and risks

Dr. Karen Kanoski photo

Information is current and up-to-date according to the latest veterinary research.

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Hamsters are extremely popular pets because of their small size and low maintenance requirements. However, many animal lovers are unaware of how to properly care for hamsters, especially in regards to their nutrition and diet.

A common question that sparks curiosity among animal lovers and hamster owners is: Can hamsters drink milk?

Since hamsters are mammals, they can technically drink milk, but it’s not the best drink for these rodents, as drinking it after a certain age can pose several health risks.

In this article, we discuss the potential risks associated with drinking hamsters’ milk and more.

The Dividing Hamster

Should Hamsters Drink Milk? Is it good for them?

After birth, baby hamsters feed strictly on their mother’s milk as the main source of nutrients. During this period, baby hamsters can easily digest lactose. However, as they grow and wean, many hamsters lose the ability to digest lactose, leading to lactose intolerance.

Although milk is not toxic to these rodents, drinking it in adulthood can pose several health risks. Because adult hamsters have difficulty digesting lactose, their bodies can react poorly to milk, causing diarrhea and upset stomachs.

Another problem associated with drinking hamster milk is the possibility of the milk spoiling or spilling into your hamster’s cage, creating germs and bacteria, which can easily make your hamster sick.

Hamsters should only drink milk while they are still babies, and it should only be from their mother. After they grow, it is best for hamsters not to drink milk.

A pitcher and a glass of milk outside
Image credit: Couleur, Pixabay

Potential risks associated with drinking hamsters’ milk

1. Indigestion

One of the biggest health risks associated with drinking hamster milk is digestive upset. In most cases, drinking milk can Causes diarrhea, upset stomach, and abdominal pain.

If persistent, diarrhea can eventually lead to more health problems, such as dehydration, so it’s best to keep milk out of your hamster’s diet. Hamsters are particularly sensitive to the effects of diarrhea, so anything that upsets their stomachs should be avoided.


2. Nutritional imbalance

Hamsters are tiny creatures, and even a small dietary change can have a big impact on them. Drinking milk can lead to nutritional imbalances, which can further damage their health and cause more problems.

The Dividing Hamster

Which drink is suitable for hamsters?

The only fluid that hamsters do. It is important to drink water daily.. This is essential for proper body function and overall health, which is why your hamster should have constant access to fresh drinking water.

Your pet hamster does not need to be offered any other drinks or fluids.

Are there any substitutes for milk that hamsters can use?

Some people may want to offer milk to their hamsters to supplement their diet and provide them with various minerals and vitamins. However, since drinking milk can upset your hamster’s digestion, it’s best to find a safer alternative.

These items offer plenty of minerals and vitamins that your hamster needs for proper growth:

  • apple
  • Food bugs
  • Romaine lettuce
Milk is being poured into a glass
Image credit: Couleur, Pixabay

The Dividing Hamster

Final thoughts

Hamsters can drink milk because they are mammals. Use milk after birth. However, as they mature, most hamsters lose their ability to digest lactose, making them lactose intolerant.

Therefore, only baby hamsters should drink milk, and only from their mother. Adult hamsters do best without milk in their life stage and should drink water instead.


Featured image credit: Natalia Popova, Shutterstock

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