This food is timothy hay based, which hamsters have no use for in their diet. They simply get little to no nutrition from it.
Additionally, Oxbow is low in protein and fat. It only offers 15% protein and 4.5% fat. Hamsters need, at minimum, 18% protein and 5% fat. There’s a whole lot missing there! Compared to our recommended food, which offers 22% protein and 5.5% fat, you can really see the deficit.
Snak Shak products (sold as Wild Harvest at Walmart) and other similar toys are made of compressed sawdust mixed with honey and peanut butter flavourings. Sometimes they are then filled with a seed mix that is held together with another sugary substance.
The flavourings encourage the hamster to consume to product, and usually very quickly so that the customer has to buy more. The problem is that wood, including sawdust, is not digestible to hamsters. These toys encourage hamsters to eat the sawdust in large quantities.
These products are made of volcanic ash and pose a serious risk of respiratory illness for hamsters. This dust is vital to chinchillas for bathing purposes, but stores have begun to rebrand chinchilla dust as "small animal dust" to cast a wider net and make more money. Sometimes these dust containers even have hamsters on the packaging! Hamsters do benefit from sand baths, but this dust is dangerous for them Be sure you are purchasing SAND, or better yet, use our handy guide.
Pine and cedar beddings were originally used in horse stalls and dog kennels--and that’s where they belong!
The aromatic oils, known as phenols, are toxic to hamsters. These enter the hamster’s airways and cause significant respiratory damage, lung cancers, and eventual death.
There is debate that kiln-dried pine can be safe for hamsters, as the drying process eliminates most of the dangerous phenols. While kiln-dried pine has been used by keepers for decades without incident, it cannot be conclusively stated to be safe. Use at your own risk!
Scented bedding, like unsafe wood bedding, acts as an unnecessary irritant to your hamster's sensitive respiratory system.
These beddings are made to counteract cage odor. However, if you have visited our cage page, you will know that simply choosing a larger cage and cleaning less frequently will help with the same issue--in a safe way too!
This type of bedding is not digestible, so if it is consumed by a hamster (easily happens during grooming), the long fibers may get tangled in the body, causing intestinal blockages and internal bleeding. The other danger is that the long fibers are also able to be tangled around the limbs, cutting off circulation. Many hamsters have either had to undergo medical amputation or have chewed their own limb off to escape the bedding.
Barred wheels are rarely sold any more because of their bad reputation. Hamsters routinely would get feet caught between the bars, causing broken limbs and other bodily damage due to the wheel throwing them about after slipping. Many hamsters also had their heads partially decapitated while trying to exit or enter a spinning wheel and being struck by the crossbar.
Mesh wheels were supposed to be the safer alternative, however, they are not. Hamster feet and toes are still easily trapped in the small holes, leading to injury.
Hamsters should be getting absolutely all the nutrients they need from their diet. That’s why it’s important to pick a high quality food!
Excess salt in the diet has a similar effect to hamsters as it does on humans. Over time, it can lead to kidney damage.
Calcium chews are simply just a pointless product that provides no benefit to your hamster. They are made of crushed shells, limestone, and lots of sugar and flavourings. They are quite large in size, which is the problem--the hamster gets too much sugar and calcium all at once. Calcium in large amounts can lead to kidney stones. If you want to give your hamster a sugary treat, that’s okay but keep it small. Additionally, there are healthier ways of adding calcium to the diet if it is something you are concerned about. Try broccoli, cheese, and tofu!