Is Spinach Safe For Gerbils? Can They Have It?

Yes, gerbils can have spinach in moderation. They like to munch on different kinds of foods outside their diet. However, spinach is high in water content, which can harm gerbils. Due to this, spinach should only offer in small quantities once in a while.

A staple diet of gerbils should consist of commercial gerbil mix, pellets, and fruits or vegetables as occasional treats.

can gerbils eat spinach

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What Do Gerbils Usually Eat?

  • High-quality gerbil mixseeds, and pellets should be a staple part of their diet.
  • Gerbils can have 10% of their total diet as fruits or vegetables; they have a high nutritional value which helps them balance their diet.
  • While gerbils do not drink much water, they should have access to fresh water 24/7 in their cage, preferably by a pet bottle.
  • You can also sparingly give mealworms, crickets, and other insects a few times a week. They are a good source of protein.

A gerbil’s tooth continuously grows, so giving them something to wear down their teeth naturally is important. Things that gerbils enjoy chewing are – soft wooden items like paper rolls, cardboard, boxes, sofa seat, etc.

Can Gerbils Eat Spinach

Yes, gerbils can have spinach in moderation.

They are small omnivore rodents that eat both plants and animal food products. However, they mostly eat a plant-based diet consisting of various plants, seeds, nuts, and veggies.

They do enjoy treats of various vegetables like spinach. So yes, gerbils can eat spinach in small quantities due to its high water content.

Too much water in a gerbil’s diet can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea, gas, or loose stool; however, you can offer a small number of green veggies like spinach once in a while. Their staple diet should consist of commercial gerbil mix, pellets, and various seeds. Only a small portion of fresh fruits or vegetables should be given as occasional treats.

Cooked Vs. Raw Spinach

Gerbils can have both cooked and raw spinach; however, I prefer raw spinach for various reasons. The cooking process often destroys most of its valuable nutrients, but cooking can remove dirt more efficiently, which is usually tough with regular washing.

Raw spinach has a crunch which is helpful to keep their forever-growing teeth at a notch. 

Cooked Vs. Raw Spinach

However, if you wish to soften the vegetable, you can dip it in hot water for some time and take it off; it removes harmful bacteria and pesticides if it has any.

So, both ways are good, but raw is recommended as it’s the natural way of eating veggies for gerbils.

Keep in mind; spinach contains a high water level which is not suitable for gerbils in large quantities, so if you decide to feed spinach to your gerbils, do it as an occasional treat, and your pet will be fine.

Do Gerbils Enjoy Having Spinach?

Gerbils are omnivores, and they typically eat a diet of grass, plant, grains, seeds, and a variety of vegetables, so it’s obvious that they will enjoy spinach as well. However, not all gerbils have eating habits, so some may like the flavor of spinach while others dislike it. It depends on their individual eating preference.

You can check it by offering a few pieces of spinach and seeing how they react.

Remember, spinach must feed in moderation to your gerbils to avoid health problems such as diarrhea, bloating, and loose stool.

They should primarily eat grass, gerbil mix, and pellets. Fruits or vegetables should only be offered as treats once in a while to provide diversity in their food. It also helps avoid selective feeding.

Is Spinach Safe For Gerbils?

Yes, spinach is safe for gerbils to a certain level. They are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals essential for healthy gerbils; however, you should keep some things in mind before feeding.

Spinach is a highly water-dense vegetable like lettuce, which is a good and bad thing. While water is necessary for gerbils to stay hydrated, too much can lead to digestive issues like diarrhea and loose stool. In the wild, gerbils do not need much water; they mostly get it through their food.

Moreover, spinach has a high pH level which can irritate their mouth or internal stomach, so be aware of it, and this could be a reason your pet isn’t eating spinach. In that case, do not force them.

Lastly, harmful pesticides are used to save corpses from insects, which is highly dangerous for pets. Also, permethrin, a harmful substance commonly found in spinach, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, etc. 

You should immediately contact your vet if you notice any of the above signs. However, you can prevent this by simply washing spinach thoroughly a few times.

Things To Consider When Feeding Spinach

Even though spinach is a healthy treat for gerbils, there are some potential risks of feeding spinach to your gerbils. If you don’t provide spinach in a limited quantity, your gerbils could face some serious health problems.

Things To Consider When Feeding Spinach

Gerbils need a balanced diet of grass, seeds, and pellets. They must get all the required nutrients from their regular meal, and treats should be added to enhance their eating experience with some nutrients.

You should consider a few things before feeding it to your gerbils.

Water – 

Every spinach leaf comprises 93% water, which is good for keeping your pet hydrated, but too much can be harmful. As gerbils are a deserted species, they do not need high water in their diet. Most of the water they consume is thru their food. They have a sensitive digestive system, and excess water can cause diarrhea and loose stool leading to dehydration.

Pesticides – 

As spinach is grown in an open field, there are high chances of being contaminated or highly pesticides to keep them safe. These can be extremely harmful to gerbils and might cause digestion and other severe health issues like vomiting, diarrhea, seizure, or unease breathing.

Also, a toxic chemical called permethrin is found in spinach. While a small amount won’t likely make your gerbils sick, it can be dangerous if fed in large quantities. Thus, I highly recommend you thoroughly wash spinach or any vegetable before serving it to your pet.

High Oxalate –

Another issue would be oxalate; spinach contains a high level of oxalate, which is harmful to the body. It prevents the absorption of calcium, so it can lead to several health issues. So, be careful and feed your pets only a tiny amount of spinach.

Is Spinach Healthy For Gerbils?

Yes, spinach contains healthy vitamins and minerals such as vitamins K and A, iron, potassium, fiber, and other essential nutrients. These are highly beneficial for gerbils, but they also contain a high dose of water.

Too much water is not good for gerbils. It can cause digestive distress like diarrhea, bloating, or loose stool. Frequent diarrhea will lead to dehydration which is a severe condition for pets.

According to medicalnewstoday, a cup of spinach contains:

  • Calories: 7
  • Water: 93%
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fiber: 0.7g
  • Calcium: 30mg
  • Vitamin C: 8g
  • Magnesium: 24 mg
  • Potassium: 167 mg

How Often Should Gerbils Have Spinach?

2-3 times a week!

Gerbils can eat spinach in moderation, like a couple of times a week, and not more than that. This is because spinach contains a high water content that is unsuitable for gerbils. Too much water can cause various digestive problems.

If you want to feed spinach daily, just reduce the portion to 1/4th, and they’ll be fine.

Spinach and other vegetables should offer only as a snack or treat to your gerbils occasionally. They should never consider staple food items in their meal.

Also, skipping this vegetable from your gerbil’s diet is fine if they are already eating a well-balanced diet.

If your gerbils have spinach for the first time, you should first offer them a small bite and see how they react. If they experience any adverse effects like diarrhea, loose stool, or bloating, immediately contact your vet.

How Much Is Spinach Can Gerbils Eat?

No doubt, spinach is packed with numerous vitamins and minerals, but it must be fed to your gerbils in moderation to keep their diet balanced.

Typically gerbils can have less than 10% of their total diet as a treat.

The serving size of spinach also depends on the size, age, and gender of your gerbils. For example, young and growing gerbils may have bigger appetites and require more in their diet, while old fragile will likely eat a small bite.

Overall, you should feed around 1 tablespoon of spinach a few times a week without worrying about unbalancing their diet.

Remember, spinach is high in water, so if your gerbils experience a digestive issue such as diarrhea or loose stool after having spinach, stop feeding it further and consult with your local vet.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, spinach is fine to have occasionally. They have a ton of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your pet but also high in water. As you know, gerbils are also referred to as desert rats meaning they do not really need high water to survive. In fact, too much water in their digest can mess up their digestive system, leading to diarrhea, gas, or loose stool, leading to more complications like dehydration.

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