I have a pet hamster. I had previously stepped on some chocolate ice cream. As I was letting my hamster run around my room, she stopped and licked the spot of chocolate ice cream on my sock. Just one lick. I know chocolate is bad for hamsters. But will she be okay after consuming that one lick?

1 Answer 1


Long to short: one drop of chocolate ice cream is not enough to harm your hamster.

The dangerous thing in chocolate is called "theobromine" (look at this question for more detail: Does chocolate hurt hamsters?).

How much theobromine can a hamster eat without damage?

I have found an science article about dangerous dose of theobromine for rats, mice and hamsters:

The daily dose of theobromine which produced retrogressive changes in weight patterns and in the morphology of the thymus in both sexes and of the testes in males was approximately 250–300 mg/kg/day in mature rats and approximately 500 mg/kg/day in immature rats. Hamsters and mice were much more resistant to theobromine than were rats. A decrease in growth and in thymic weights occurred only at the highest dose levels of theobromine and testicular and thymic changes were completely absent in hamsters.

For your hamster, it is important how much of this theobromine was in the ice cream, and how much is the hamster's weight.

Hamster's weight is between 25g (1oz, dwarf hamster) and 200g (7oz, Syrian hamster). How much is yours?

The quote says: for mature rats, 250mg/kg/day makes them ill. (They feed them 28 days every day this amount of theobromine.) However, for hamsters this was not a risk, they only get ill "on the highest dose".

250mg/kg/day means 0.25mg per g of body weight.

So, following the article, a 25g hamster can eat 25 * 0.25 = 6,25mg of theobromine (daily for 28 days) without illness. A Syrian hamster can eat up to 50mg without risk.

How much ice cream has the hamster eaten?

This schools chemistry website says:

A gallon (3.8 liters) of ice cream must weigh at least 4.5 pounds, making the minimum density 0.54 gram per milliliter. Better brands have higher densities—up to 0.9 grams per milliliter.

One teaspoon of water approximately holds 5ml water. So one can assume that a drop of water is approximately one milliliter.

One drop of ice cream (one milliliter) then has maximal weight of 0.9g = 900mg.

How much chocolate is in one drop of ice cream?

You can look at your ice cream box, maybe there stands something like "min. 15% real chocolate".

I found a receipt for chocolate ice cream with 300g dark chocolate in 1300g ice cream (this is under 24% of chocolate).

If we follow this, in a drop of 900mg ice cream are 300g/1300g*0.9g = 0.2077g real dark chocolate.

How much theobromine is in this amount of chocolate?

In the table of the above mentioned pet.SE question are 25g (1oz) of dark chocolate noticed with 130mg of theobromine. This is 5.2mg theobromine per one gram of chocolate.

In one drop of ice cream is 0,2077g real chocolate, and with this 5.2mg/g ⋅ 0.2077g = 1.08mg of theobromine.

(Make the calculation from the other side: the most light weight adult hamster (25g) can eat 6.25mg theobromine: 6.25/1.08 = approximately 5.8 ice cream drops without getting ill).

So even with the most heavy (which means highest quality) ice cream and a high amount of dark (!!) chocolate (over 23%), your hamster cannot have enough theobromine within one drop of ice cream to get ill.

  • This is a very detailed and well referenced answer, good job :) Sep 6, 2019 at 12:27
  • 3
    @JamesJenkins Thank you. IT is like the hydrocyanic acid in some common fruits... Yes this acid is dangerous, but the "biggest"* amount of it is in the pip of the fruit and so in very rare cases will be eaten. (* biggest: I vaguely remember a calculation about 2kg of apple pips (without fruit flesh!) are needed to be toxic for a rabbit/guinea pig or something alike) Sep 9, 2019 at 7:22
  • I used chocolate to revive my hamsters when they stop eating due to old age. I give them nutella directly. Two times it revived the hamster and they started eating again and live another 3-4 months. One time it didn't work. I let him go after three days. So, I'd say accidental chocolate wouldn't really hurt. Also, my cousin gave her hamster small pieces of chocolate in spite of all my frowning. The poor thing lived for 36 months, which is quite long for a campbell.
    – ck1987pd
    Apr 19, 2021 at 20:20
  • @CKoca Nutella is not chocolate to be honest. It is made from crushed hazel nuts and a lots of oils, with a tiney part of cacao, if I remember right... Apr 20, 2021 at 3:43

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