Jump to content






Photo

Has anyone given their hamster organic yogurt snacks for (human) babies?


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
14 replies to this topic

#1 Owned

Owned

    Junior Hamster

  • Account Closed
  • PipPip
  • 142 posts

Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:21 PM

I don't like the ingredients I'm seeing for the yogurt drop snacks sold in pet shops, and because of that, I'm thinking about getting some of these.

This particular product is also fortified with vitamin D, which I think is a good idea.

I'm wondering, has anyone ever tried this brand of yogurt drop snacks (or something similar), and if so, did your hamsters like it?




#2 Taxonomist

Taxonomist

    Ultimate Hamster Clone

  • Moderator Team
  • 2,727 posts

Posted 29 March 2012 - 01:01 PM

I don't like the ingredients I'm seeing for the yogurt drop snacks sold in pet shops, and because of that, I'm thinking about getting some of these.

This particular product is also fortified with vitamin D, which I think is a good idea.

I'm wondering, has anyone ever tried this brand of yogurt drop snacks (or something similar), and if so, did your hamsters like it?


As far as I am aware, yogurt drops in any form are completely unnecessary and not really healthy for hamsters. Several reasons for this:

1) Hamsters, like all adult mammals (besides humans, lol :D ) are lactose-intolerant. They have no need for dairy products like yogurt.
2) If pouched, yogurt treats can melt and gum up the cheek pouches.
3) Yogurt treats, including the ones you linked to, are super-sugary. Not good for any hamsters. I see you have dwarf hamsters, so this is especially important, because dwarfs are prone to diabetes.

I would advise you to skip the yogurt drops entirely, and instead opt for safe, low-sugar veggies like broccoli and the like. There's a good "Safe Foods List" pinned in this forum that has some details about the types of things that dwarfs can and cannot have: http://hamsterhideout.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=41940

Hope this helps!

#3 Owned

Owned

    Junior Hamster

  • Account Closed
  • PipPip
  • 142 posts

Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:32 PM

Hello Taxonomist, and thanks for your reply.

(1) Firstly, I should say that while I agree that there's no "need" for yogurt drops, per se, I'm looking at yogurt drop treats as a vehicle to deliver probiotics, vitamin D and possibly other nutrients that I'd like to add to their diet.

Second, can you cite any credible references in support of your claim that hamsters are "lactose intolerant"? I see lots of people authoritatively and endlessly repeating that claim, always without backing it up. As such, it's just another undocumented "story", as far as I'm concerned.

I've given my hamsters baby cereal with 2% milk, and I've seen no signs of lactose intolerance. Moreover, the research I've done indicates that hamsters are not only NOT lactose intolerant, but in many cases prefer it.


Physiol Behav. 1992 Jul;52(1):59-63.
Voluntary lactose ingestion in gerbils, rats, mice, and golden hamsters.
DiBattista D.
SourcePsychology Department, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract
Over a period of 20 days, adult male gerbils, rats, mice, and hamsters were allowed to choose between tap water and a sugar solution (either sucrose, glucose, or lactose) presented in increasing concentrations (maximum concentration = 24% weight/volume). Rats, mice, and hamsters preferred both glucose and sucrose solutions to water across a wide range of concentrations; gerbils preferred sucrose solutions at concentrations of 8% and above, but preferences for glucose solutions were not significant. Gerbils, mice, and rats did not prefer lactose solutions to water at any concentration, and actually preferred water at higher lactose concentrations; in contrast, hamsters preferred lactose solutions to water at concentrations of 4% and above, and never preferred water to lactose solutions. As solution concentrations increased, all species consumed increasing amounts of glucose and sucrose (i.e., solute). The lactose intake of gerbils, rats, and mice tended to remain quite low even as solution concentration increased; in contrast, the lactose intake of hamsters was substantially greater than that of other species and increased to a maximum of 1.95 g/100 g body weight/day at the 24% concentration. These results indicate that gerbils and mice, like rats, have a low preference for lactose and consume very little of this disaccharide, and confirm that golden hamsters are exceptional in demonstrating both a preference for lactose solutions and an apparent tolerance to the effects of ingestion of substantial amounts of lactose.

PMID: 1529014 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

J Comp Psychol. 1991 Mar;105(1):95-102.
Lactose ingestion in the adult golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus).
DiBattista D.
SourcePsychology Department, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract
Adult mammals generally demonstrate a lower preference for the disaccharide sugar lactose than for any other common sugar, and because adults typically have low levels of the intestinal enzyme lactase, lactose ingestion may cause gastrointestinal distress. The lactose intake of adult golden hamsters was examined in three experiments; the main findings were: (a) hamsters allowed to choose between tap water and lactose solutions (maximum concentration = 32% weight/volume) over a 20-day period showed a clear preference for lactose solutions and ingested substantial quantities of lactose (up to 3 g/100 g body weight/day) without noticeable adverse effects; (b) hamsters consuming a single diet with lactose added (maximum concentration = 50%) over a period of days ingested up to 3.42 g/100 g body weight/day of lactose without noticeable adverse effects; © both hamsters with prior exposure to lactose solutions and those without such exposure consumed similar amounts of 32% lactose solution over an 8-day period, suggesting that hamsters' lactose intake does not depend on the occurrence of adaptation. It is suggested that the fermentative capacity of the hamster's pregastric pouch may underlie this animal's unusual tolerance for lactose.

PMID: 2032461 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

(2) Do you have any evidence that yogurt drops can "gum up their cheek pouches"? I would not give my hamsters peanut butter, for example, but my intuitive belief is that yogurt drops would not be a problem. (BTW from what I've read, yogurt drops are even given to hamsters in a laboratory environment).

(3) There is certainly some sugar in there, yes, but I don't know if I would call it "super-sugary".

I'm still researching diabetes in hamsters so I can't say too much about it, yet, but in general, I don't think a little sugar is going to matter as far as risk of diabetes is concerned. Moderation is the key, IMO, and you have to balance the bad with the good. For example, I've tried giving my hamsters berries, and they don't like it very much. If yogurt drops have some blueberry extract, for example, then they would be a source of healthful blueberry anthocyanins that my hamsters would not otherwise get. In any case, as I mentioned above, the vitamin D factor is important, in my view, and far outweighs the sugar. Did you know that sub-optimal vitamin D intake seems to be a risk factor for diabetes?

Curr Drug Targets. 2011 Jan;12(1):61-87.
Vitamin D insufficiency and diabetes risks.
Boucher BJ.
SourceCentre for Diabetes, Barts & The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, Blizard Institute of Cell and Molecular Science, Newart Street, London, E1 2AT, UK. [email protected]

Abstract
Diabetes is an increasing epidemic; hyperglycemia results from lack of insulin or inadequate insulin secretion following increases in insulin resistance. Huge costs are placed upon sufferers and health providers, aggravated as serious and disabling complications develop. Thus, measures to reduce the diabetic burden are public health concerns. Vitamin D, identified ≈100 years ago, promotes calcium absorption and utilization, preventing and curing rickets & osteomalacia. Calcium is necessary for insulin secretion, suggesting vitamin D may contribute to maintaining insulin secretion. Vitamin D, formed in skin in bright sunshine, is scarce in foodstuffs. Data linking hypovitaminosis D to hyperglycemia, type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and metabolic disorders increasing cardiovascular risk [metabolic 'syndrome'] has accumulated over ≈40 years. Many mechanisms are known whereby hypovitaminosis D could be causal, e.g. by increasing insulin resistance, reducing insulin secretion and increasing autoimmune or inflammatory damage to pancreatic islets. Major questions still to be answered are whether increasing vitamin D status to the maximum seen in healthy people would reduce the risk of diabetes, the severity of the disease or of its complications, including cardiovascular disease. These questions urgently require answers. If on-going/ planned RCTs confirm causality, maintenance of adequate vitamin D status at the population level by food-fortification or supplementation would be cost-effective measures likely to reduce the burden and costs of diabetes to individuals and health services. Additionally, vitamin D(2/3) supplementation is cheap but whether some non-hypercalcemia-inducing analogue may prove safer has not yet been addressed at the population level.

PMID: 20795936 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Curr Diabetes Rev. 2012 Jan 1;8(1):42-7.
Role of vitamin d in the pathophysiology and treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Stivelman E, Retnakaran R.
SourceLeadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes, Mount Sinai Hospital, 60 Murray Street, Suite L5-039, Mailbox 21, Toronto, ON, Canada M5T3L9. [email protected]

Abstract
The secosteroid vitamin D is best known for its role in calcium regulation and bone metabolism. Recently, however, an emerging body of evidence has suggested that vitamin D may have previously-unrecognized effects on a variety of physiologic processes, including those relating to glucose homeostasis. Indeed, vitamin D insufficiency has been linked with type 2 diabetes (T2DM). In this review, the potential association between vitamin D and T2DM will be evaluated from both a pathophysiologic and clinical perspective. We consider the biologic evidence in support of a mechanistic contribution of vitamin D insufficiency to insulin resistance and beta-cell dysfunction, the two main pathophysiologic defects underlying T2DM. We also evaluate the clinical data linking vitamin D with these metabolic defects and dysglycemia. Finally, interventional studies addressing the effect of vitamin D supplementation on glucose homeostasis are considered. At present, this evolving literature is marked by many conflicting results and methodologic limitations, such that definitive conclusion on the role of vitamin D in T2DM remains elusive. Nevertheless, in light of the widespread prevalence of both vitamin D insufficiency and T2DM, this potential relationship could hold enormous public health implications and hence demands further study to address its unresolved questions.

PMID: 22414057 [PubMed - in process]

Curr Diab Rep. 2008 Oct;8(5):393-8.
Diabetes and the vitamin d connection.
Holick MF.
SourceDepartment of Medicine, Section of Endocrinology, Nutrition, and Diabetes, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, M-1013, Boston, MA 02118, USA. [email protected]

Abstract
Vitamin D deficiency, which is common in children and adults, causes rickets, osteomalacia, and osteoporosis. Most organs and immune cells have a vitamin D receptor, and some also have the capacity to metabolize 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D is a potent immunomodulator that also enhances the production and secretion of several hormones, including insulin. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risk of type 1 diabetes. Glycemic control and insulin resistance are improved when vitamin D deficiency is corrected and calcium supplementation is adequate. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (measure of vitamin D status) of less than 20 ng/mL is vitamin D deficiency and 21 to 29 ng/mL is insufficiency. Children and adults need at least 1000 IU of vitamin D per day to prevent deficiency when there is inadequate sun exposure.

PMID: 18778589 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

#4 Taxonomist

Taxonomist

    Ultimate Hamster Clone

  • Moderator Team
  • 2,727 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 01:22 AM

1) As interesting as those articles are, both of them are about Syrian hamsters, not any species of dwarf hamster. Since Syrians and dwarfs are not all that closely related (different genera), I would be very cautious to apply those findings to any dwarf species. The rats and mice in that study did not consume the lactose, after all. Would dwarf hamsters have? Maybe, maybe not.

2) Anecdotal evidence only, I'm afraid. But honestly? For something that's an unnecessary treat? I personally would not risk it.

3) The very second ingredient on the list of the yogurt drops you linked to is "Naturally milled (organic) sugar." And that does not take into account the additional sugars provided by the fruits in the drops. I would consider that quite sugary, but perhaps your opinion differs.

If you wish to feed your hamster yogurt drops, that's your choice. Personally, I still would not advise it.

#5 Owned

Owned

    Junior Hamster

  • Account Closed
  • PipPip
  • 142 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 03:54 AM

Well as I said, I've been giving my dwarf hamsters baby cereal with milk, and I've seen no adverse effects. I'm also aware of other people giving their dwarf hamsters milk, too, also with no problems; nor have I ever heard of any particular case where there was a problem with milk, cheese or yogurt, in any type of hamster (and I've been looking). Lastly, pet stores sell yogurt drops for hamsters, and I've seen places that sell them by the kilogram, apparently for laboratory use, e.g., this place. (Although as I mentioned, I don't like yogurt drops sold in pet stores).

So on the one hand, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that lactose, in low to moderate amounts at least, is not a problem for *any* hamsters, and on the other hand, as far as I know, there's no evidence whatsoever to the contrary. Case closed, as far as I'm concerned.

BTW, why do you say it's "unnecessary"? For that matter it's "unnecessary" to give a child a chocolate chip cookie once in a while. Let's face it, no food is perfect, but you could do a lot worse than the yogurt drops I linked to.

#6 emilystar

emilystar

    Hamster Clone

  • Members
  • 1,113 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 04:12 AM

The amount of sugar is unhealthy for any hamster, especially dwarfs. They are prone to diabetes and giving them unnecessary sugar can aggravate this. Also they melt in their pouches which can cause it to get stuck.

#7 Taxonomist

Taxonomist

    Ultimate Hamster Clone

  • Moderator Team
  • 2,727 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 04:22 AM

Lastly, pet stores sell yogurt drops for hamsters, and I've seen places that sell them by the kilogram, apparently for laboratory use, e.g., this place. (Although as I mentioned, I don't like yogurt drops sold in pet stores).


Pet stores also sell cedar bedding for small animals. And cotton nesting material that can choke them. Sorry, but the "pet stores sell it so it must be okay" argument doesn't really do it for me.

As far as lab use, I don't know. I would have to know what is being tested on the lab animals in question. Are these drops intended for healthy stock? Or are they part of a treatment?

BTW, why do you say it's "unnecessary"? For that matter it's "unnecessary" to give a child a chocolate chip cookie once in a while. Let's face it, no food is perfect, but you could do a lot worse than the yogurt drops I linked to.


Because I think they are. It's my opinion. I can choose not to feed my [hypothetical, never-going-to-exist] kid chocolate chip cookies, and I can choose to not feed my hamster yogurt drops.

Part of the reason is that I don't see yogurt drops as a mere cookie. I see them more as a 2-gallon bucket of ice cream. Will it kill you if you eat a 2-gallon bucket of ice cream (all at once) maybe once a month? No. Is it healthy? No. Is there a better way to satisfy your sweet tooth? Yes.

Rarely, if ever, have I read anything positive about yogurt drops. The general advice has been to either feed very sparingly (1 per month or so) or avoid completely. If they're to be fed that sparingly, why should I feed them at all? I love my hamster, and I want her to be happy...but I also see it as my job to keep her healthy. There are plenty of other tasty things for hamsters that are far healthier than yogurt drops (dried fruits, fresh veggies, various seeds, etc.). So I prefer to feed them instead.

If you have a specific reason for yogurt drops, that's your decision. I think they're unnecessary, and I will never give them to my hamster. That's mine.

#8 Owned

Owned

    Junior Hamster

  • Account Closed
  • PipPip
  • 142 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 05:14 AM

Pet stores also sell cedar bedding for small animals. And cotton nesting material that can choke them. Sorry, but the "pet stores sell it so it must be okay" argument doesn't really do it for me.


You've misconstrued what I was trying to say. I didn't mean to imply that if a pet store sells it, it must be generally good; rather, I was pointing out that with regard to the specific issue of lactose intolerance, given the volume of yogurt drops sold (and presumably fed to hamsters), if there was a problem with lactose intolerance, there would be some evidence of it, which there apparently is not.

As far as lab use, I don't know. I would have to know what is being tested on the lab animals in question. Are these drops intended for healthy stock? Or are they part of a treatment?


See above.

Because I think they are. It's my opinion. I can choose not to feed my [hypothetical, never-going-to-exist] kid chocolate chip cookies, and I can choose to not feed my hamster yogurt drops.


What if you suspected that your hypothetical, never-going-to-exist kid was not getting enough vitamin D, and he could not go out in the sun, and he could or would not not swallow a pill, and the only way you could improve his vitamin D status was to give him a vitamin D laced chocolate chip cookie once in a while?

Part of the reason is that I don't see yogurt drops as a mere cookie. I see them more as a 2-gallon bucket of ice cream.


You're exaggerating.

Will it kill you if you eat a 2-gallon bucket of ice cream (all at once) maybe once a month? No. Is it healthy? No. Is there a better way to satisfy your sweet tooth? Yes.

Rarely, if ever, have I read anything positive about yogurt drops. The general advice has been to either feed very sparingly (1 per month or so) or avoid completely. If they're to be fed that sparingly, why should I feed them at all? I love my hamster, and I want her to be happy...but I also see it as my job to keep her healthy. There are plenty of other tasty things for hamsters that are far healthier than yogurt drops (dried fruits, fresh veggies, various seeds, etc.). So I prefer to feed them instead.

If you have a specific reason for yogurt drops, that's your decision. I think they're unnecessary, and I will never give them to my hamster. That's mine.


How do you know your hamster is getting an optimal amount of vitamin D and what foods do you give her that have significant amounts of vitamin D?

#9 Taxonomist

Taxonomist

    Ultimate Hamster Clone

  • Moderator Team
  • 2,727 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 05:37 AM

I have no desire to argue with you about Vitamin D. Seriously, I don't. This isn't worth the time, stress, or frustration. I've offered my opinions and insights. You don't like them. Let's leave it at that.

#10 Owned

Owned

    Junior Hamster

  • Account Closed
  • PipPip
  • 142 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 05:45 AM

I suppose if you're going to continue to insist (without evidence) that hamsters are lactose intolerant, and that a yogurt drop would be like two gallons of ice cream, then I can't see any point to continue, either.

I have no desire to argue with you about Vitamin D. Seriously, I don't. This isn't worth the time, stress, or frustration. I've offered my opinions and insights. You don't like them. Let's leave it at that.



#11 Taxonomist

Taxonomist

    Ultimate Hamster Clone

  • Moderator Team
  • 2,727 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 05:51 AM

I suppose if you're going to continue to insist (without evidence) that hamsters are lactose intolerant, and that a yogurt drop would be like two gallons of ice cream, then I can't see any point to continue, either.


The 5-gallon ice cream comment was more in regards to sugar than dairy.

And I never insisted that a yogurt drop is absolutely, unequivocally, nutritionally the same as 2 gallons of ice cream. I merely said that I personally see them that way. That my opinion. That's how I see them. I apologize if my opinion offends you, but I'm not changing it to suit your preferences.

I'm not saying that you're wrong about lactose intolerance and Vitamin D. I'm not fully convinced that dwarfs would react the same as Syrians to lactose, but I'm not saying it's impossible, either. I cannot make a statement either way.

I wish you luck on your ventures, and I apologize that I did not answer your question.

#12 emilystar

emilystar

    Hamster Clone

  • Members
  • 1,113 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 05:58 AM

Is this about vitamin D? Honestly if you are really that worried about it then take your hamster in the sun for a bit each day. I think messing around with their food is just going to do more harm than good. You really need to consider that you are comparing two different species with different dietary needs.

#13 hammyfriend

hammyfriend

    Veteran Hamster

  • Members
  • 590 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 06:11 AM

Hi Owned!
I am also a natural food advocate, and I do not like giving my hamsters yogurt drops for fear of added sugar and chemicals ect. Plus I really like to add probiotics to my hamsters diet. Admittedly, I don't have dwarf hamsters, I have Syrians, but as an alternative to yogurt drops I mix plain organic yogurt with organic baby food (the stuff in the jars), for a totally natural treat that adds probiotics to the diet. And my hamsters always lap it up, lol.

Just a suggestion :)

MoMo loves squash the best, (I suppose squash may not be the best for dwarfs) but he also gets organic apple sauce and organic mixed berries, pears and other veggies.

#14 Owned

Owned

    Junior Hamster

  • Account Closed
  • PipPip
  • 142 posts

Posted 31 March 2012 - 11:48 AM

Hello Hammyfriend,

I think we're on the same wavelength...

Anyway, when my Hammy got sick and received antibiotics, I tried to give him various berry flavored yogurts, but he really didn't like it. I've since been looking for plain organic yogurt with no sugar added (I want to try mixing it with baby cereal), but I'm having a hard time finding any.

Can I ask, what brand of yogurt do you use?

#15 hammyfriend

hammyfriend

    Veteran Hamster

  • Members
  • 590 posts

Posted 31 March 2012 - 11:58 AM

Can I ask, what brand of yogurt do you use?


Certainly, I use a brand called: "Olympic Organic Probiotic yogurt" plain unsweetened. It's a Canadian brand.

If your regular supermarket doesn't carry organic yogurt, perhaps a health food store might. It may be pricey, but you could purchase a small individual sized yogurt and just cover and put in the fridge. As a side note, my local supermarkets keep organic yogurt/ dairy in a seperate section, so you may not be seeing it with the other yogurt, but it may be in anoter section perhaps...

I always turn to yogurt when my hamsters are on antibiotics. I had one hamster on antibiotics for a month and never got "gut floura disruption", which I think was due to the helpful probiotics in the yogurt. Initially she didn't take to the plain yogurt, but I disguised it with her favorite baby food, which was peas at the time.

Edited by hammyfriend, 31 March 2012 - 12:16 PM.