Vitamin C: guinea pigs need a lot of it, but in its citrus form it is bad for hamsters. Dairy products are OK for some small animals, but not for others. The alphabetical list below presents most foods that all small animals should avoid. When a food is particularly hazardous to a species, it is noted.
The snack black list
- Alcohol: Toxicity depends on amounts but alcohol can cause death in excess.
- Avocado: Leaves, fruit, seeds and bark contain a toxin known as Persin. Rabbits and mice are particularly vulnerable.
- Caffeine: Can cause heart failure in pets.
- Citrus: Hamsters must avoid high acid foods such as citrus or anything pickled or vinegar based. These foods cause gastro-intestinal upset.
- Chocolate: Contains a chemical called theobromine which is an alkaloid that most pets can’t metabolize quickly. The theobromine can build up and reach a toxic level of concentration, leading to cardiac arrest.
- Dairy: Guinea pigs and ferrets are naturally lactose intolerant so feeding them dairy can cause severe problems.
- Green bananas: Inhibit starch digestion.
- Iceberg lettuce: Can cause calcium absorption problems in rabbits and is hard on the hamster’s liver when fed in excess.
- Licorice: Causes neurological poisoning in rats.
- Nuts and Rawhide: Cannot be digested by ferrets. They will cause an intestinal blockage.
- Onions and garlic: Contain sulfoxides and disulfides which cause anemia.
- Orange juice: Contains d-limonene which can cause kidney cancer in malerats.
- Potatoes and tomatoes: Plants, leaves and stems, contain a poison called solanine which causes severe gastrointestinal problems.
- Raw artichokes, red cabbage and Brussels sprouts: Cause problems with nutrient absorption.
- Raw sweet potato: Can form cyanide in the stomach.
- Rhubarb: Contains oxalates which negatively affect your pet’s urinary, digestive and nervous systems.
- Sticky foods: Any sort of sticky food that can get stuck in a Hamster’s pouch should be avoided.
- Uncooked beans: Attack much needed vitamin A and can cause red blood cell clumping.
- Yeast dough: Can expand in the stomach and cause rupturing. Never feed yeast dough to any pet.
The list above is not a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. As a loving and responsible pet parent you should research any food before giving it to your small animal.