Can Gerbils Have Cabbage [Things You Must Know]

Can Gerbils Have Cabbage

Yes, gerbils can have cabbage in moderation. They are safe and don’t contain any toxic substances. However, they do not offer significant health benefits to your gerbils except for some vitamins and minerals.

It also provides a chewing experience to your gerbil, which is helpful for their dental health. However, keep in mind cabbage should be given as a treat only. It shouldn’t consider a substitute for their food.

Read to know more.

What Do Gerbils Eat?

According to pdsa, gerbils can have both plant and meat-based food due to their omnivore nature. However, primarily they eat plant-based food, including various seeds, plants, and insects.

They also need fruits and vegetables in small quantities.

In brief, a gerbils diet should have the following:

  • Gerbils should eat grains, seeds, and legumes on a daily basis as it’s their primary food.
  • Fruits and vegetables in small quantities. They 

Also, eggs, boiled or scrambled, mealworms, crickets, lean meat, flowers, and herbs are a great addition to their diet for extra vitamins and minerals. On average, an adult gerbil needs about 10-13% protein, 7-9% fat, and 11-14% fiber in their diet. So, feed treats accordingly.

Can Gerbils Eat Cabbage?

Yes, gerbils can have cabbage, but it’s not recommended. The reason is simple; cabbage contains a high amount of water which is not suitable for gerbils. Excess water in a gerbil’s diet can lead to digestive issues like gas, bloating, or diarrhea.

Thus, you should totally avoid feeding cabbage. If you want to treat your gerbils, opt for some healthy options like sunflower seeds, nuts, and a small number of fruits or vegetables. A high-quality gerbil mix is also a great option.

Your goal should be to feed your fur buddy a balanced and healthy meal while ensuring their safety.

Do Gerbils Like Cabbage?

It depends!

In the wild, gerbils scavenge their food and eat everything they can, including grass, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. However, due to the dry climate environment, they do not get high-water vegetables like cabbage.

Do Gerbils Like Cabbage

Basically, gerbils enjoy having veggies with a bit of a sweet and crunchy texture, and cabbage is one of them, so they’ll surely enjoy chewing cabbages.

However, cabbage is not good for gerbils, so even if they enjoy the taste, you should only offer them sometimes. Gerbils need a high quantity of gerbil mix as a primary food source and fruits or vegetables for additional nutrients.

Is Cabbage Safe For Gerbils?

Cabbage contains no toxic substance, so it’s safe for gerbils. The only thing that would bother your gerbil is the water content. Cabbage has a high amount of water which causes digestive issues like gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

In the wild, gerbils eat dry-based food due to their environment. They don’t really drink much water; most of the water they get is through the food they consume.

So, naturally, their body is adapted to live with low water, and consuming food with high water content, like cabbage, can make them sick.

However, a small bite of cabbage won’t likely make your gerbil sick, but it’s best to avoid feeding them. Stick to their natural dieting habits like seeds, nuts, and low-water fruits or veggies.

Is Cabbage a Healthy Option For Gerbils?

Cabbage is a healthy vegetable filled with vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin C, K, potassium, and fiber, which are essential for us. 

However, gerbils have no particular benefits from eating cabbage except for some vitamins and minerals. It is a leafy vegetable with high water content. As you know, gerbils do not need high water in their diet.

According to Healthline, an ounce cabbage contains:

  • Calories: 25
  • Water: 92g
  • Protein: 1.3g
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Fiber: 2.5g

In addition, cabbage contains a good amount of fiber, potassium, folate, vitamins K, A, etc.

Potential Risks of Cabbage for Gerbils

Gerbils can have cabbage in small quantities; however, it’s not the best choice due to its high water content. Despite their high nutritional value, they will eventually harm your gerbils.

Few things you need to consider before feeding cabbage to your gerbils

High Water Content – 

Cabbages have high water content (92%). However, gerbils are accustomed to eating dry food in the wild due to their environment. Their body cannot handle a large amount of water, so cabbage is not suitable for them.

Too much water content can mess up their sensitive digestive system leading to gas, bloating, or diarrhea. Too much diarrhea will lead to dehydration which can be life-threatening if left unnoticed.

Digestive Issues – 

Cabbage has two compounds, namely sulfurous and raffinose. These are not safe for gerbils. A gerbil that regularly eats cabbage or any other vegetable that has sulfurous will likely experience gas, bloating, and cramps.

This can be a very uncomfortable and painful situation for gerbils and needs medical attention. If you notice any similar symptoms in your gerbils, immediately stop serving cabbage any further and see a vet.

How To Properly Feed Cabbage To Gerbils

Before offering cabbage to your gerbils, you must remember that they are dry-climate animals and do not need a high water content in their diet. If they eat an excess amount of cabbage leaf, it can lead to digestive issues like gas, diarrhea, or loose stool.

Quick Tip – if possible, opt for organic cabbage as they do not have harmful pesticides and other chemicals. Also, they are high in nutritional value.

Thus, feed only a couple of cabbage to keep them healthy.

Here are some simple steps to prepare cabbage for your gerbils.

  • Start with choosing fresh, organic cabbage as they have the highest nutritional value.
  • Wash the cabbage thoroughly with water; you can use cold or warm water. It will remove most of its dirt and insects if had any.
  • The next step is to remove the outmost layer of the cabbage because most of the time, it’s not clean or churned due to transportation.
  • Slit the cabbage into two and remove the middle part (stalk) and then chop the cabbage into small pieces so that your gerbil can eat easily. It also prevents choking.
  • Serve it as it is, or mixes with another vegetable to make a salad for your gerbils. It will enhance the taste and balance the nutrients.
  • Once your gerbils have finished eating, remove the uneaten food from the cage before it starts stinking.

How Much Cabbage Can Gerbils Eat?

Gerbils shouldn’t have more than 10% of their diet as a treat

Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, K, and fiber which is essential for gerbils. But the worse part of cabbage is they are high in water content (93%-94%) which is not suitable for gerbils.

While a small bite of cabbage won’t likely harm your gerbils, too much can be problematic.

Too much water in a gerbil’s diet can negatively impact its health. For example, gerbils can experience digestive problems due to water content. Their body cannot digest high amounts of water, which may result in gas, bloating, diarrhea. 

Besides, cabbage lacks a wide range of vital nutrients that your gerbil need, so feeding on cabbage might lead to malnourishment.

How Often Should Gerbils Eat Cabbage?

Gerbils can have cabbage once or twice a week. 

Cabbages have a high water content which is not suitable for gerbils. It can harm your gerbil if they eat a good amount of it.

Gerbils feast on various vegetables in the wild, but most are dry or low in water. Cabbage is not a staple food for gerbils; however, it can be given a few times a week.

Gerbils cannot handle high water in their body. This is why cabbage should be given in moderation. Frequently feeding cabbage can cause digestive problems such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and loose stool. 

Thus, avoid feeding cabbage if possible; opt for other healthy treats like eggs, carrots, or gerbil mix. They contain a lot more nutrients than cabbage.

Healthy Alternatives To Cabbage

Gerbils can have cabbage; they are highly nutritious, especially in vitamins C, K, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants, which can be a great addition to their diet. However, cabbage is high in water content which is not suitable for gerbils, but the best thing is there are other healthy options available.

Before you opt for an additional treat, ensure they get all the required nutrients from their regular meal; otherwise, they’ll fill up with treats rather than actual food.

Tip – if you are feeding cabbage to your gerbils for its high nutritional value, opt for commercial gerbil food. They contain all essential nutrients and have zero risk.

Here are some healthy options:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber 
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin

Other treats – grains, nuts, eggs, and insects like mealworms and cricket- are excellent protein sources.

While these are safe for gerbils, they should serve in moderation in small quantities. Too much anything can be harmful to your gerbils. If you are unsure about a particular food, you can always consult your vet. 

Final Thoughts

To summarize, gerbils can eat cabbage, but it’s not recommended. They are high in water content which is not suitable for gerbils. Excess water in the gerbil’s body can result in digestive problems like gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

Moreover, there is no particular health benefit of cabbage for a gerbil. In fact, feeding cabbage can seriously harm your furry friend.

If your gerbil had a bite or two unnoticed, it wouldn’t likely make them sick, but feeding it is not a good idea.

Therefore, keep cabbage for your dinner and feed your gerbils what they should be eating, a variety of seeds, grains, lentils, and an occasional treat of fruit or vegetables.

It’s important to keep their diet balanced with various foods to avoid selective feeding. You can always ask your veterinarian if you have doubts about a particular food.

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