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Old 06-04-2024, 10:45 PM   #1
Skeekers
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Default Couldn't Find Exactly What I Was Looking For

I couldn't really find what I was looking for in the existing threads.

My husband says feeding ONLY rodent type blocks is fine for a hamster. He thinks it's a balanced diet in itself and doesn't even want to give the occasional treat. This stems from a recent trauma we had with one of our hams. She got an abscess on the cheek part on the outside of her pouch and the doctor said he didn't know what caused it. It "might have been anything from a shell poke to a random occurrence." We had surgery twice and she didn't make it the second time. So my husband chooses to believe anything our hams eat that isn't a bland block will kill them.

I've had hamsters with him since 2009 and none have had anything like this before. We would give blocks and a bit of seed mix with fresh veggies and a treat here and there. He doesn't want them having any kind of chew toys either because "they're bad for their health and the blocks do enough." He won't even let me give them those Whimzees chewy things anymore.

I say it's not fair to my precious hams and bland blocks ONLY are not ok but he says I'm going to kill them. Do I just not know what I'm doing anymore?
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Old 06-05-2024, 01:00 AM   #2
Jeir
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Default Re: Couldn't Find Exactly What I Was Looking For

Okay, so...while his heart is in the right, if paranoid, place, your husband is wrong. You are correct.

Without a species-specific diet, your hamster will likely have some form of malnutrition, as hamsters require their own diet and not just 'rodent food'. There are hamster-specific blocks available (Science Selective, I believe), but the few times I've tried them, they were ignored over the normal mix. Hamsters will eat anything when hungry, as we all will, but they do prefer variety, and a good mix with lots of different things will keep them interested and happy.

Without suitable things to chew on, they may resort to chewing on the bars (which IS very bad for them), or if there are no bars, chewing on anything and everything in the cage...or else their constantly growing teeth will grow too long, making it impossible to eat.

I've cared for around 25 hamsters in my life, so far. I've seen cancer, cushings, diabetes, pyo, heart failure...but never had I had an issue with pouches as your hamster did. What happened really, truly was a fluke.

If you're willing to jump through a few hoops and pay the fees, you could try the Rodipet Teddy Hamster Junior mix. It's species-specific, and is made from lots of small seeds and things, that are soft/smooth enough to not cause even a scratch. Or you could try to find a similar style mix off something like Etsy, as it would likely be a lot cheaper. The Harry/Hazel hamster mix is also good for a much, much cheaper option, although more from a nutritional standpoint rather than 'small and soft' one. I've also seen 'Bunny Dream' mix being recommended here a few times, although I don't know of its availability in the US.

As for chew toys, whimzees are 100% the safest things you can find, as they're chewy. Cardboard toys are also very safe, as they soften as they get wet. Willow and cornleaf balls, loofa toys, and even seagrass toys are also 'softer'. But, it's likely every so often even with those toys, your hamster will look for something harder to gnaw on; it's simply instinct. Willow and apple sticks seem to work well with mine, and they're softer woods too.
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Old 06-05-2024, 10:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: Couldn't Find Exactly What I Was Looking For

I guess I didn't add some things. I'll go edit. The rodent style blocks I meant were labeled a "rat and hamster" diet. But I KNOW it's lacking. He also thinks they're too simple to actually enjoy their food and not want variety.

We've had 28 hams together, it's not like he doesn't know these things. He also says he's going to listen to a vet over randos on the internet. Which is fine but we don't have a good pocket pet community here, even with "exotics" vets. We've seen about every ailment that can afflict an inbred ham (even though we adopt not shop, they all come from stores) because there's no breeders to go to here. Our Robo is on the Bunny Dream Dwarf mix but he aparently doesn't like the regular kind for Syrians because it has seeds and "seeds are bad for hamsters".

Thank you for the info
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