Are Cheerios Safe for Hamsters?

Are cheerios safe for hamsters?

The little round breakfast cereal called Cheerios seems the perfect little snack for any hamster. As many of us eat these from time to time ourselves, it’s an easy food to give to our hamster. Cereals are seen as a good snack for hamsters and the question is, ‘does that include Cheerios? Are Cheerios safe for hamsters to consume? I decided to find out.

Are Cheerios safe for hamsters? 

No, Cheerios are not safe for hamsters especially when given as part of a regular diet. While they won’t instantly die if they eat one, the effects of the high sugar and salt content combined with added preservatives makes Cheerios a pretty bad food for your hamster, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, digestive tract issues and other illnesses. But of course, we want to treat our hamster occasionally, and plain, low salt and sugar version Cheerios will be fine as an occasional treat. 

Are Cheerios safe for hamsters?

Can hamsters eat Cheerios? 

Yes, hamsters can eat Cheerios. As a matter of fact, many people give their hamster Cheerios. The problem is that they are an unhealthy food for hamsters. Therefore, it comes down to what you want to feed your hamster and if you think this should include unhealthy foods as well. There is nothing wrong with a plain Cheerio occasionally, the problem arises when the treat becomes a habit and then a staple food. 

Any kind of Cheerios are a bad food choice as a staple food for hamsters, however, plain Cheerios can be a good snack to give your hamster occasionally.  

You might also like:

How many Cheerios can a hamster eat? 

Your hamster will be able to stuff quite a couple of Cheerios in over the course of a day. However, given how bad Cheerios are for a hamster, they should not be given more than one or two at a time, and even then, only every so often.

Avoid adding milk as well as this will make your treat even less healthy.  Use them as a treat.  

Which Cheerios are best? 

Cheerios are a type of cereal made by General Mills. In the UK Cheerios are sold under the Nestle brand which is in partnership with General Mills in the cereal business. It’s a little round donut shaped cereal which is the perfect shape for your hamster to hold and nibble. There is not just one kind of Cheerio on the market, in fact there is a whole range of different types available. So which one is best for your hamster to snack on?

If you really want to add Cheerios to your hamster’s diet, then stick to the plain Cheerios.  

Have a look at the sugar content in the following Cheerio types.

Cheerio TypeSugar Content per 100g
Multi Grain Cheerios21.2g  
Honey Nut Cheerios 32.9g
Cheerios Banana Nut 33.1g 
Cheerios Yoghurt Burst 30g 
Cheerios Fruity 32.2g 
Fig.1 General Mills Cheerios Sugar Content per 100g Source

This list above shows you that the more processed the Cheerio, the more sugar is added.

If you really want to add Cheerios to your hamster’s diet, then stick to the plain Cheerios to give as a treat once or twice a week.  

How often can I feed my hamster Cheerios? 

If you stick to plain Cheerios, then you can give a couple of Cheerios to your hamster now and then. The most important thing to remember is that Cheerios should not be part of your hamster’s daily diet. This should be a healthy balanced diet, so your hamster doesn’t get ill or dies prematurely. If you want to give your hamster treats, try to make sure these are as healthy as possible most of the time. Think about nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits.  

Of course, we all like treats every so often so it’s understandable that you want to treat your hamster from time to time too. And that’s fine. Just see Cheerios as an occasional treat, not as a treat every time you have your breakfast! 

You might also like:

Can I give my hamster Honey Nut Cheerios? 

Please don’t give your hamster Honey Nut Cheerios as these have the highest level of sugar from all the Cheerios we compared. Stick to plain Cheerios for your hamster, which will benefit your hamster greatly in the long run. If you want to add nuts to your hamster’s diet, then hazelnuts or peanuts are a great choice. Just cut them up in a hamster salad or give them the nuts on their own as a treat. But don’t use processed products claiming to contain nuts as an alternative. The whole food is always better, and it will keep your hamster healthy in the long run. 

Are Cheerios bad for hamsters? 

Yes, Cheerios are bad for hamsters when giving as a staple food or as a daily treat. The better Cheerios to give your hamster are the least processed Cheerios. The simpler the Cheerio, the better it is. Heavily processed cereals have far too much sugar (and salt and preservatives) to process by your hamster’s tiny body. So go for plain whole grain Cheerios rather than honey nut ones for example. And keep it sporadically. 

Can hamsters drink milk? 

Hamsters drink milk from their mom when they are first born as hamsters are mammals. While hamsters are omnivores, meaning they eat food of both plant and animal origin, they don’t naturally drink cow’s milk as it doesn’t have any health benefits for them. In fact, not all hamsters’ digestive systems agree with milk and the fat content can cause too much weight gain. 

However, while milk is not particularly healthy for hamsters, it’s not actually toxic to them either. While plain water is the very best drink for hamsters, giving a hamster milk occasionally, is not going to be a big deal. If you are concerned about the fat content, use fat free milk or water the milk down.  

It’s important to only give milk occasionally, if at all. Your hamster really doesn’t need it to be healthy and water is always the best choice. Giving milk would only satisfy the human feeling of ‘having a treat’, which we of course don’t want to deny our beloved hamster. 

If you are planning on giving your hamster Cheerios as a treat, then you really want to consider if you want to add milk as a treat to the Cheerio treat. There is something called overkill, and this might well be it. First, your hamsters’ teeth are perfectly capable of chewing up a Cheerio. Second, your hamster would probably prefer a solid Cheerio, compared to a soggy one covered with unhealthy milk.  

What human food can hamsters eat? 

There are many human foods hamsters can eat. The least processed foods are always better, both for humans and hamsters. Therefore, vegetables and fruits are good for hamsters, with some exceptions which you will find here. As well as nuts and seeds. On top of that you can feed your hamster some other human foods. 

Here is a small list of human foods you can safely give your hamster: 

  • Hard boiled eggs 
  • Cooked potatoes 
  • Boiled broccoli 
  • Cooked sweet potatoes 
  • Boiled brown rice 
  • Un-spiced cooked chicken breast 
  • Un-salted and un-sweetened popcorn 
  • Whole wheat toast 
  • Unflavored yoghurt 

What cereals are hamsters allowed? 

Grains are eaten all over the world and are a staple food for many. They are a great source of vitamins and minerals. However, when grains are processed, most vitamins and minerals are removed, and mainly carbohydrates are left. These are empty calories; they will fill you up but won’t feed you the nutrients you need. 

On top of that many cereals are fortified with vitamins and lots of salt and sugar as well as preservatives are added.  

If you want to include cereals into your hamster’s diet, then use plain cereals which have the least sugar and salt added. Also avoid any cereals with chocolate. Plain Cornflakes are better than Frosties for example. 

What cereals can I give my hamster? 

Always read the labels on the back of the packaging of any cereal you buy. There are great differences in nutritional content as well as sugar and salt content. Try to find cereals which have the least of everything, basically. Not just for your hamster but also for your family. Here is a list of better cereals to give your hamster and a list of very bad cereals which nobody should ever eat, including your hamster!  


You can safely give your hamster the following cereals as a snack every so often:

  • Plain Cornflakes
  • Bran Flakes
  • Rice Crispies
  • Plain Cheerios
  • Oats
  • Muesli
  • Whole Grain Puffs


You should NEVER give your hamster the following types of cereal:

Any heavy processed cereals like:

  • Frosties
  • Honey Nut Cheerios
  • Chocolate Rice Crispies
  • Cap’n Crunch
  • Golden Crips
  • Krave
  • Special K Fruit and Yoghurt
  • Marshmallow Fruity Pebbles
  • Mega Stuf Oreo O’s

And the list goes on and on as there are just so many unhealthy breakfast cereals on the market, which are bad both for humans AND hamsters, so make sure you read the label!  

What can I give my hamster for breakfast? 

Hamsters don’t think in terms of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Instead, they like to nibble all day long. This means you don’t need to provide 3 meals a day for your little friend. Besides that, hamsters don’t eat like humans where we have certain foods suitable for breakfast while other types of food would be considered dinner. For hamsters, food is food. Or better said, food is nutrition. So, a hamster will quite happily eat broccoli for breakfast for example and think nothing of it.  

The best way to feed your hamster is to give high quality hamster food pellets from a pet shop. These will have all the vitamins and nutrients your hamster needs daily. You can then add healthy treats like vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. And occasionally less healthy treats like cereals.  

However, cereals should not be a staple food in your hamster’s diet, and most definitely not a daily breakfast choice.


Are cereals good for hamsters? 

Wholegrain cereals can add some vitamins and nutrients to your hamster’s diet, but with added sugar, salt and preservatives, this benefit is minimalized. Therefore, wholegrain cereals can be added to your hamster’s diet as a snack rather than a staple food. You’ll find that hamsters really enjoy nibbling on cereal so overall it’s a great snack to give to your hamster.  

Oats are a great alternative to the many processed cereals you find in the supermarket. Your hamster won’t know the difference as the idea of treats is a human concept. Your hamster will be happy with healthy nutritious food but will happily snack away on some cereal too. 

Can syrian hamsters have rice cereals? 

Yes, syrian hamsters can have rice cereals. Again, stay away from any rice cereals with added chocolate and try to choose a brand with the lowest added sugar and salt. 


Can I give cornflakes to my hamster? 

Plain cornflakes are a snack many hamsters will appreciate. Compared to other cereals they are low in sugar and salt. It’s important to check the labels though. Try to find a cornflake brand which has the least sugar, salt, preservatives and added vitamins.  

You can give your hamster cornflakes as a treat a couple of times a week. Keep the portions small and see cornflakes as a treat not as a breakfast choice for your hamster. 

Your hamster will prefer to eat cornflakes without any milk, so the cornflakes stay crispy. Added milk will make the snack more unhealthy as well. 

You might also like:


Can hamsters eat bacon? 

Bacon is a bad food choice for your hamster. While hamsters are omnivores and will therefore eat meat, the typical breakfast bacon is not a good choice for your hamster at all. The high salt content itself will be detrimental to your hamster’s health. Add the high fat content to the mix and your find yourself with a super unhealthy snack for your little friend.  

If you want to feed your hamster meat, choose a piece of cooked chicken breast, some steak or a mealworm. Don’t flavor the meat you give your hamster, don’t add spices or salt at all.  

Can hamsters eat boiled egg? 

Yes, can have boiled eggs and many hamsters seem to really enjoy it too. Give small quantities of egg and don’t give too much egg yolk as it’s sticky. Give the egg plain without any salt, pepper or other spices. You can also add boiled egg to a hamster salad in which you combine different vegetables and fruit with some seeds. 1-2 teaspoons of hamster salad are a great addition to your hamsters diet.  

Hamsters also like scrambled egg which are made just with milk and don’t have anything else added. 


Can hamsters eat banana? 

Yes, hamsters can eat bananas and they tend to like them too. Because of the high sugar content in bananas, you will want to keep the portions small. Bananas also go off quickly so make sure you remove any leftover banana from your hamster’s cage. Also check your hamster’s store as bacteria growing on rotting food can make your hamster ill.


Can hamsters eat toast? 

Yes, hamsters can eat plain toast, preferably without butter. Use whole grain bread and give small portions. As hamsters absolutely love peanut butter, you can add some to the toast as well for a double treat.  

Conclusion: Are Cheerios safe for hamsters? 

Hamsters can eat Cheerios as a treat but only occasionally as the high salt, sugar, preservatives and added vitamins are bad for your hamster’s health. Only give plain Cheerios as well, the more processed the Cheerios, the unhealthier they are. Only give Cheerios occasionally if at all.  

Top tip: 

Oats are a great grain alternative which is much healthier for your pet. 

Recent Posts