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Our hamster Richmond already has a few things in his cage that he can chew on but, every now and again, we have seen him chewing on the cage bars.
This is definitely not a healthy or good thing for a hamster to be doing as it could result in a broken tooth.
Therefore, I’ve decided recently to look for something different to help alleviate a bit of boredom and to provide something else that he can chew on.
Having done some research to see what’s out there, I’ve found four hamster chews on Amazon that your hamster will not only love to chew on, but they are safe for them to chew on as well.
But if you’re in a hurry, I recommend these Sharllen Apple Sticks on Amazon (#CommissionsEarned), which have proven to be popular with our Syrian hamster Richmond.
First of all though, let’s look into why it’s absolutely essential that hamsters have chews and chew toys to chew on.
Why hamsters need chews and chew toys
Hamster teeth are completely different to our teeth in that they grow continually.
These teeth continue to grow throughout their whole life, a bit like our fingernails in that respect, so it’s important that hamsters chew on things to help wear them down naturally to prevent them from getting too long.
Teeth that never stop growing are called hypsodontal teeth. These teeth have crowns (the part of the tooth that you can see) and are very long, even extending beyond the gums.
In the wild, hamsters grind their teeth down naturally through regular eating and gnawing on things like pine cones and tree branches.
It’s therefore very important for hamsters to have things to chew on in their cage to stop their front incisors from growing too long.
Having plenty of safe things for your hamster to chew on will also mean that your hamster’s teeth don’t need clipping and will save you a trip to the vet!
The consequences of not giving your hamster things to chew on is that their teeth can become overgrown and potentially pierce the roof of their mouth or their cheek pouches.
Long teeth can also inhibit their ability to eat, make them lose weight and they can struggle to close their mouths. There’s also the possibility of mouth infections and abscesses.
In the most severe cases, it’s possible that if they grow too long it could prevent them eating all together and cause them to starve, so it really is up to you to keep your hamster’s teeth in check.
Now that we know why you need hamster chews, let’s look at what’s available.
Recommended hamster chews
There are many different types of chews to choose from so experiment with different types as you might find that your hamster prefers one type of chew over another.
Your hamster may decide to completely ignore one of the chews you have bought them or they may love it, so don’t be afraid to try out different varieties.
Here are my recommendations for hamster chews.
Natural Apple Sticks Small Animals
These are top of the list for me in terms of their safety and the fact that they’re organic.
Your hamster will love to chew on these and will help to keep their teeth clean and trim at the same time.
The sticks are sourced from apple tree branches and completely free of pesticides.
They have a sweet taste to them which your hamster will love and they also come in a variety of thicknesses.
The sticks are available as either a 100g or a 500g bag of sticks which is approximately 90 sticks, so it should keep you going for a while too.
Finally, although this product has been aimed at rabbits, chinchilla and guinea pigs, they are totally suitable for hamsters too.
Click here to get some apple sticks from Amazon (#CommissionsEarned)
Niteangel natural fun pet balls
These Niteangel pet balls are completely hand made and made of natural materials so you won’t find any glue, plastic or metal in them.
You get three balls in a pack, one of them is made from natural seagrass, one of them is a water hyacinth ball and the other is a rattan ball.
These balls are mainly for rabbits and guinea pigs but they are suitable for hamsters too, however they are quite large in size as they measure 2.6 inches in diameter, so you will need a reasonably sized cage.
Your hamster will love to chew on these and will also enjoy pushing them around their cage which will also help to alleviate boredom.
The great thing about these balls is that you can put their favourite treats inside which will further encourage them to gnaw or chew on them.
Click here to get the pet balls from Amazon (#CommissionsEarned)
Ecotrition Small Animal Cheesie Chews
These cheesy chew have got rave reviews on Amazon and your hamster will love them.
They are made from carrots and are therefore fully digestible, they taste like cheese and even have some rice bits in them to help clean your hamster teeth.
Many people on Amazon have said that this is their hamsters favourite treat and some of them have reported that they take it and hide it away in a corner and destroy it within a few days.
Now, I consider this a treat, and I don’t recommend leaving it in your hamster’s cage 24/7, but it’s definitely useful to keep your hamster teeth trim whilst at the same time providing them with something tasty that they can enjoy.
Click here to get the cheesy chews from Amazon (#CommissionsEarned)
Kaytee Small Animal Hanging Chew Toy
This chew toy consists of a number of wooden chews on a metal skewer which you basically hang from your cage and your hamster will have fun reaching up and gnawing on it.
It’s refillable, so if you work out that your hamster doesn’t chew much on the wooden blocks, you can thread on some other treats and chews that have holes in them like these Kaytee Apple Orchard Sticks (Amazon, #CommissionsEarned)
This cage toy measures 11-1/4-inch length by 3-3/4-inch width and also has a bell on the bottom, which is an interesting addition.
This may get slightly annoying after a while but some people have reported in their reviews that they have been able to take the clapper out of the bell in order to silence it.
Click here to get the Kaytee Small Animal Hanging Chew Toy from Amazon (#CommissionsEarned).
What to look for when buying hamster chews
Not only is it important that hamsters have things to chew on it’s also important to make sure that the things they chew on are safe.
You need to avoid anything that contains plastic or glued together as your hamster could end up ingesting these harmful materials.
Many hamster chews are made of wood but not all wood is safe for your hamster.
Unpainted and untreated wood is the safest option for your hamster. Hamsters particularly enjoy chewing on wood from apple or pear trees.
Never be tempted to use sticks from outside as they could have pesticides or residue from traffic exhausts on them. They could even contain parasites which are particularly prevalent in dead wood.
You also need to avoid woods like Cedar, Oleander and Yew because these woods are toxic for your hamster and should not be given to your pet.
In addition to wood chews, there are other types of chews which are available. Some of them are made of seagrass and some of them are mineral based chews.
Mineral chews are not something that you give to your hamster 24/7.
They should be given to your hamster as a treat because they don’t need any extra minerals or calcium as they get it from their diets.
Other types of chews include edible cheese, like the Ecotrition Small Animal Cheesie Chews (Amazon, #CommissionsEarned) that I recommended earlier, but they should be given to your hamster no more than once a month as a treat.
As an alternative to the chews I have listed, you can also give your hamster whimzee dog chews (Amazon, #CommissionsEarned), cheesy chews or even organic dog biscuits.
Just make sure that they don’t contain garlic, onion, leeks, or spices. You also need to avoid brands that contain animal by-products, ground animal meal or bone meal.
Another idea is to use a whole walnut which is a totally safe nut for hamsters to eat. Whole walnuts have a hard shell and are good for their teeth.
Most hamsters can’t get in them but they will still chew along the edges.
One final alternative is toilet paper roll. Our hamster Richmond tends to ignore it and doesn’t chew on it much but your hamster may love to chew on these.
Just make sure that you cut the tube down the middle to prevent your hamster getting stuck in them
How to get your hamster to chew on their chews.
Some hamsters are big chewers and they love to chew on anything that they can get their paws on.
Others hamsters just don’t chew much at all and it’s hard to get them to chew on anything.
If your hamster is in the latter category, here are a few tips to help you encourage your hamster to chew, which will help them to wear their teeth down naturally and keep them in check before they get too long.
- If you decide to purchase wooden chews, like these Apple Wood Sticks (Amazon, #CommissionsEarned) why not put them in their seed mix. That way they will smell like their regular seed mix and will therefore be more likely to chew on it.
- Another option is to put a very thin layer of peanut butter on the chew from your fingertips. This will leave the scent of peanut butter on the chew and entice your hamster to gnaw on it.
- One final tip is to soak your chews in berry juice. You can use either blueberries, raspberries or strawberries for this. Put the berries in some kind of container and mash them together with some water, then put the chews in to soak.
After they have soaked up the juice, take them out and leave the chew to dry. Your hamster chews will smell like berries and will be more likely to chew on them.
Checking your hamster’s teeth
It’s worth checking your hamster’s teeth once in a while to check if they’re healthy and that they’re the ideal length.
Incisors are the teeth you need to focus on really as they are easier to tell if they’re too long compared to molars. Although molars can grow quite large, it’s rare for hamster molars to get too long.
When hamster incisor teeth get too long, you will see that they begin to curve and will stick out between their lips.
Ideally the top incisors should be about ⅛” and the bottom incisors should be about ¼”.
To check that your hamster’s teeth are a healthy length, use your fingers to gently pull back their pouches and look at their teeth.
Now that you can see your hamster’s teeth, you’re looking to see that their teeth are yellow or orange (not white), that they’re a healthy length and aligned with each other.
Make sure that the teeth aren’t crooked or chipped and that there isn’t anything stuck to them which could prevent them from eating.
If you find that your hamster’s teeth are overgrown, despite providing chews and chew toys for your hamsters, consult your vet who will be able to give your hamster’s teeth a trim.
Trimming your hamster’s teeth is an easy and quick task for any vet to do and your hamster won’t experience any pain.
I would advise against doing this yourself because if you’re not used to doing it, you could miss and seriously hurt or injure your hamster.
So there you go, four chews that I recommend for your hamster that are safe for them too. My personal favorite are these Apple Wood Sticks (Amazon, #CommissionsEarned) because they’re completely natural and sweet tasting for your hamster.
My favorite cheap alternative chew is a whole walnut, which our hamster Richmond loves!
I can’t stress how important it is to keep your hamster’s teeth in check by encouraging them to chew. If your hamster doesn’t chew enough, their teeth will get longer and longer and will eventually need to be clipped by a vet.
It’s also wise to check your hamster’s teeth regularly, so be sure to follow the advice above on how to do this.
If your hamster isn’t a big chewer, then tempt your hamster into chewing by applying a little peanut butter on the chew or soaking the chews in berry juices.