Tiny as they may be, gerbils are capable of providing huge amounts of enjoyment and entertainment in your life. And since this cute ball of fur is a part of your family, you would want to provide only the best for them, ensuring their well-being and providing them with the best diet possible.
The food you give will determine your pet’s weight, energy, and happiness. So, it only makes sense that you give look for the best food for gerbil available.
Important Factors To Consider
Gerbils have specific dietary requirements. So, when choosing the best food for gerbils, here are some factors that you need to consider to ensure that you met their necessary dietary needs.
The nutritional content of the food is the most important thing that you need to consider. Below are the listed nutritional needs of a gerbil:
Helps in brainpower and growth of gerbils, protein is the main fuel that drives daily activities. A gerbil needs at least 15 – 18 percent of protein. Less than 15 percent of protein can lead to slower growth. Having too much (over 20 percent) can lead to skin tears, kidney stones, and liver problems.
Fats should never be removed from your gerbil’s food routine. Depending on your gerbil’s age, breed and activity level, gerbils needs at least 3 – 9 percent on their diet. Fat is important for your pet’s energy levels as well as keeping their coat in a lush and healthy condition.
Fiber from veggies and fruits is also important. Gerbils need at least 5 percent of fiber on their diet. If a certain food does not have enough fiber, you can supplement your gerbil with fresh veggies and fruits. Just make sure that these are cleaned properly and are free of pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
Gerbils have different nutritional requirements at different ages. Younger gerbils generally require a bit higher protein to help them grow. The good news is that there are gerbil foods out there specifically formulated for young gerbils so you do not have to manually measure the nutrients you’re giving to your pet.
Sugar can be toxic for your gerbils. Except for treats, you need to always read the label of foods to see if they contain any added sugar.
Sugar can cause racing heart rate, restlessness, and panting as well as other liver-related diseases in gerbils. Thus, sugar is a big NO!
Seed VS. Pellets
Gerbils can live a totally healthy life on either mixed seed food or pellet food with a few veggies and fruits added into their diet. Still, there are some cons to both kinds of foods that can be dealt with when combining them in a healthy way.
Pelleted gerbil foods are great. They have a consistent amount of nutrients so you know exactly what nutrients your pet is getting based on how much food they eat.
Also, its consistency also works in preventing selective feeding in which gerbils pick only certain foods out of their bowl. The problem is that pelleted foods tend to be boring and monotonous and do not encourage foraging behaviors.
Mixed seed is great since they offer diversity. It helps in keeping mealtime interesting and tasty for gerbils. The problem is that most gerbils will do selective feeding.
They will just pick their favorite pieces and leave the rest. This way, your gerbil might be loading up on one nutrient and deficient on the others. In addition, some seed mixes tend to be unhealthy with some ingredients not suitable for your gerbil.
Combining the two kinds of food will ensure that your pet is getting enough nutrients through the pellets while staying engaged and having some diversity with the mixed seed.
Flavor and Aroma
Tiny as they may be, gerbils still have a taste for food. This means that they can taste their food and decide whether they like it or not.
Thus, you will want to read some reviews left by their gerbil owners regarding how their pets have responded to a certain food. It is also a good idea to start with smaller quantities first and making sure if your gerbil likes it or not.
In addition, gerbils also have a decent sense of smell. And while a bad-smelling food will not put off a gerbil completely, it definitely will not help a picky eater to even come close to its meal.
Although brand is not everything, it’s certainly something to consider when purchasing the best food for gerbils. Gerbil foods made by unknown brands are typically cheaper since they lack quality ingredients and have fillers instead.
Meanwhile, reputable brands have spent a lot more in terms of money, time and research in perfecting their recipe. Plus, they will suffer more loss, if their food products are of poor quality.
Crunchy and Chewy
Just like rabbits and hamsters, gerbils are also prone to dental problems. And while you can provide chew toys to your pet, the best way to keep their dental health in check is feeding them with chewy, crunchy foods that should work their teeth and keep them busy for a while.
The Top 10 Best Foods For Gerbils 2020
#1. Oxbow Essentials Hamster & Gerbil Food
A reputable brand, Oxbow offers its premium Hamster & Gerbil Food. Comes in pelleted form, this gerbil food is 100 percent uniform and consistent, preventing the unhealthy selective feeding tendencies of most small animals.
Formulated with the guidance of leading nutritionists and vets, this Oxbow food offers essential nutrients for your pet’s health. It contains a good blend of barley, timothy hay, and oats to help maintain your pet’s proper nutritional level, weight, and quality of life.
Not only is it high in antioxidants, but it is also made of prebiotics and chelated minerals to promote good digestive health and quick absorption. It has no artificial preservatives, seeds, artificial colors, and a high level of sugary fruits that can be dangerous to your pet’s health.
#2. Kaytee Fortified Daily Diet Supreme Treats For Hamsters and Gerbils
A great option that comes at a very affordable price tag, this bag of treats from established brand Kaytee will definitely satisfy your fussy eater. The product contains all the necessary ingredients to provide a healthy and balanced diet for your pet.
The bag is high in natural grains and needs, which are exactly what your gerbil wants for healthy growth. Naturally preserved for ideal freshness, this diet contains no artificial flavors or colors that can cause unwanted harm to your pet’s health.
#3. Sunseed Vita Prima Sunscription Hamster and Gerbil Formula
With a 4.3-star rating, this diet formula from Sunseed is Amazon’s choice for “gerbil food”. If you want a product that combines pellet food with mixed foods, then you will not find a much better mix than this one.
This food mixture contains 14 percent fiber, 4 percent fat and 13 percent protein, making it a healthy choice for your gerbil. The grain-based formula also contains veggies, seeds, pellets, and essential nutrients to keep your pet healthy and happy.
Not only that, but it is also fortified with DHA, omega-3s, and probiotics to bring complete nutrition to your pet. In addition, the different texture and forms included in this bag also promote your gerbil’s dental health.
#4. Wild Harvest Hamster & Gerbil Diet
Wild Harvest a reliable brand dedicated to providing products that offer complete nutrition for all small pets. Using all-natural ingredients, they provide a perfect blend of treats and food to meet the distinct dietary requirements of pets.
The Hamster & Gerbil Advanced Nutrition Diet is a premium and healthy blend of both small animals’ favorite grains, wholesome veggies, crunchy nuts, yummy seeds, and bite-sized fruits. This food mixture provides all the important dietary variety, good nutrition and great taste that your pet will surely crave for.
Not only that, but the blend also contains Flaxseeds for optimum nutrition. Boosted with antioxidant nutrients, this fruity and nutty mix gives essential immunity to diseases and provide overall good nutrition. This 4-pound gerbil food comes with a resealable bag to keep the food fresh for longer.
#5. eCOTRITION Yogies
Yogies! from eCOTRITION serves only to be given as supplementary treats for pampering your little furry pet. This yummy treat is suitable for mice, gerbils, hamsters, and rats and is available in 2 flavors— fruit and cheese.
This particular fruit-flavored treat features real yogurt that is super easy to digest and gives delight to your pet’s taste buds. Made from artificial and natural fruit flavor, your pet will surely keep asking for more.
The downside is that the treat contains artificial fruit flavors which may be unhealthy for your pet. Thus, this product is not recommended to be the sole source of your pet’s diet. You can only feed at least 1 -2 treats to your pet per day and ensure that they eat other complete diet foods.
#6. Supreme Petfoods Gerri Gerbil Food
Supreme Petfoods believes that the best food for gerbils should be highly nutritious but also delicious, making your furry friends wanting more! And their Gerri Gerbil Food Tasty Mix offering is a nutritionally balanced diet that is specifically formulated for gerbils of all sizes and shapes.
This yummy gerbil food mix contains delicious ingredients like carrot, pumpkin seed, wheat, peas, and oats. It also has added vitamins that not only provide a tasty daily diet to your pet but also promote their natural well-being and immunity. In addition, Supreme Petfoods also added some tasty linseed in order to keep your pet’s furry coat and skin in the very best condition.
Suitable for all ages and breeds of gerbil, the Gerri Gerbil Food has the best ever taste without the added sugar that can cause problems on your pet’s health. Not only that, but the variety of food also helps encourage your pet’s natural foraging behavior.
#7. Kaytee Fiesta Hamster & Gerbil Food
Another tasty food treat from reputable brand Kaytee, the Fiesta is a nutritionally fortified gourmet diet for both gerbils and hamsters. It is made of a natural and premium blend of seeds, veggies, grains, and fruits that offer the maximum variety, nutrition and fun meals for small animals.
The Fiesta food contains essential probiotics and prebiotics that support good digestive health and is specially formulated with your small pet in mind. Not only that, but this particular gerbil food mix is also rich in natural antioxidants for overall immune support and health.
The various textures and shapes help encourage the natural foraging behavior of your pet. In addition, it promotes good dental health with the crunchy and chewy texture of the food mixture. Naturally preserved for the ideal freshness, this gourmet diet from Kaytee is available in 3 sizes— 25 pounds, 4.5 pounds, and 2.5 pounds— so you can choose the right amount for your pet’s needs.
#8. Oxbow Garden Select Hamster & Gerbil Food
Oxbow offers another great-tasting but equally nourishing and healthy diet for adorable gerbils and hamsters. The Garden Select is a nutritionally complete diet, specially formulated with gerbils’ and hamsters’ dietary needs in mind.
Featuring a non-GMO formula, this gerbil food contains high-quality and unique garden ingredients that mimic those that are found in your small animal’s natural foraging environment. The food consists of 3 varieties of grass hay to support meal enrichment and variety. Being a pelleted gerbil food, it offers a uniform, balanced and complete formula for your pet’s nutritional needs.
The food contains a good blend of sunflower meal, linseed meal, oat groats, timothy grass, oat grass, whole barley, cane molasses, orchard grass, whole yellow pea, canola oil, yeast culture, hydrolyzed years, carrot powder, banana powder, spinach powder, and tomato powder.
With a complete balance of garden-fresh flavors, this feed contains all essential vitamins and minerals that your pet gerbil needs to live a healthy and happy life. Oxbow offers this nutritional food in 4 sizes— 4 pounds, 3 pounds, 2.5 pounds, and 1.5 pounds— so you can choose one based on your pet’s needs.
#9. Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Food Mix
For over 45 years, Higgins Premium Pet Foods have been manufacturing and producing high quality feeds for small animals. Thus, you can rest assured that they offer only the healthiest food products for your little gerbil.
And this popular food product, the Sunburst Gourmet Food Mix, is specially formulated for the smaller pets. Made without artificial flavorings, colors or preservatives, you do not have to worry about your pet’s health. Designed for gerbil’s nutritional needs, this food blend contains dried mixed fruits, legumes, grains, seeds, nuts and more.
Higgins’s recipe features probiotics and DHA omega-3 for healthy digestive and immune systems. It is also fortified with minerals, vitamins and amino acids for your pet’s overall health. Also, the quadruple air-washed ingredients help reduce dust accumulation that causes the food to get spoiled easily. Plus, it comes with a resealable bag that ensures the food’s freshness when storing.
#10. Kaytee FortiDiet ProHealth
Developed by an animal nutrition expert, the Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health ensures that your pet gets the proper nutrition. Although formulated for hamsters and rats, this food product is also suitable for your lovable gerbils.
It features larger, crunchy pelleted pieces that support good dental health. Not only that, it also contains some colorful flavorful pieces to provide variety for your pet and encourage its natural foraging behavior.
This food product is enriched with probiotics and prebiotics that help support optimum digestive functioning. Also, it is loaded with natural antioxidants that support general health and optimum immune support.
Proudly made in the US, this 5 pounds food product is naturally preserved for ideal freshness and comes in a resealable bag for easy storage.
#11. F.M. Brown’s Tropical Carnival Gourmet Treats
F.M. Brown’s original gourmet food, this product is specially formulated for the daily nutritional needs of small animals and pet birds. This food blend is loaded with various exotic delicacies that your pet will surely enjoy.
It contains chunky pieces if fruits such as papaya, pineapple apricot, dates, strawberries, and cantaloupes, providing essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. It also helps encourage activity with crunchy ingredients like walnuts, pine nuts, cashews, almonds and peanuts that require your pet to remove their shells first before eating.
Meanwhile, farm-fresh vegetables are also included like the green peas and carrots that help maintain a healthy immune system. Grains and seeds are also included for the extra boost in carbs, minerals, fiber, and vitamins. Not only healthy, the food product also contains unique treats like colorful pretzels, pasta wagon wheels as well as the ever-nutritious ZOOVITAL biscuits that offer fun colors, flavors, and textures that your pet will love to explore.
It is no doubt that this gourmet food treat is indeed the most varied gerbil food out there. Proudly produced and packaged in the US, you will also feel good knowing that you are feeding your lovable pet locally-produced foods!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How much should I feed to my gerbil?
A: This will depend on the kind of food you buy. Some food has a label that clearly states how much food you’re supposed to feed them daily. In general, gerbils will need about 10 grams daily. You can divide it according to 3 or 4 meals daily.
Q: What can I give my gerbil other than mixed seeds and pelleted foods?
A: Apart from the regular gerbil food you can find in local pet stores, you can also give you pet dried insects, grasshoppers or mealworms. These are high in protein and good for your pet’s health. Just be careful not to overfeed them. In general, one insect per week is enough.
In addition to insects, you can also give your gerbil raw and fresh fruits and veggies as well as dairy products. These include carrot, apricot, apple, cucumber, cooked potato plain yogurt, hard-boiled eggs and a bit of cheese.
Q: What are some ingredients I need to avoid?
A: Acidic fruits such as grapefruits and oranges cause severe diarrhea on gerbils. Veggies and fruits containing too much water such as watermelon, cabbage, and lettuce can have some laxative results on your pet’s health.
Fruit seeds, on the other hand, can cause the death of your pet. Lastly, alcohol, even a single drop, should never go through your pet’s throat since they are fatal on gerbils.
Q: How do I feed my gerbil?
A: The best way to feed your gerbil is to use a heavy ceramic dish that they can’t tip over or even chew. You can place their pelleted food in the dish. If you want to, you can add a bit of seed mixture (at least a teaspoon) to add variety.
Once you see how much your gerbil eats, you can try giving them the amount of food that they can finish in 4 hours. After that, make sure to remove any uneaten food before feeding them again to ensure that your pet does not eat anything soiled or damp.
For treats, you can feed it in a separate dish and remove them after a few hours if uneaten in order to prevent spoilage. You can also feed your gerbil treats by hand, which is a great way to bond and train your pet.
Q: Can gerbil food go bad?
A: Of course! Like any other food, packed gerbil food comes with an expiration date and can go stale. Make sure to throw it out immediately once it goes beyond the best-by dates since it can cause unwanted side effects on your pet’s health.
While these adorable rodents eat a wide variety of food, it does not mean that you should just give them any food. Your pet will stay healthy if you give them the right kinds of food.
And every food that has been reviewed here is suitable and healthy for your gerbil to feast on. While every gerbil has different tastes, there is a good chance that your gerbil will have a favorite among the foods listed above. Nevertheless, all gerbil food above contains all the necessary nutrients that they need to live a healthy and happy life!