Time to read 7 minutes
Apples are undoubtedly many people’s favorites and are one of the most commonly eaten fruits worldwide. Humans and different kinds of pets both love to get a bite now and then. So, you may be wondering, can gerbils eat apples? Are they safe for gerbils?
Let’s find out
The short answer, Gerbils can eat apples, where it’s an absolute must. Apples are not toxic to gerbils and are packed with man vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, fiber, potassium, and magnesium. These vitamins and minerals are quite helpful in reducing the effects of seizures. Conversely, apples are high in sugar and water, and high consumption may not be healthy for gerbils.
In addition, as we’ve mentioned in several articles here and here, pets, specifically, gerbils should not eat apple seeds because, as we’ve stated, apple seeds contain cyanide. When consumed, even small doses are enough to kill them.
Vegetables are healthier for gerbils than fruits. Again, their main diet should consist of a specially formulated dry food mixture that contains all the vitamins and minerals your pet needs.
Can gerbils eat apples safely?
Gerbils are omnivores, which means they can eat and digest various fruits, vegetables, and plants. Apples are no exception.
However, because apples contain a lot of sugar and water, you should not feed them to your gerbils very often. Offering apples from time to time as an occasional treat is fine, but you should try to offer a balanced diet of a variety of fruits, vegetables, and plant matter.
If you decide to allow your gerbil to eat apples, limit them to about 25 grams at a time. More than this amount is too much and may cause digestive problems. We’ll find out about these digestive problems and why we should avoid them soon.
Do gerbils like apples?
Gerbils love a variety of fruits, so it is safe to assume that your gerbil will enjoy the taste of fresh, juicy apples. Gerbils eat mostly plant roots in the wild but will occasionally eat fruit.
As omnivores, captive gerbils enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables and are happy to accept a change in diet from their daily dry food mix.
This is why fruit should be considered a treat, as gerbils are likely to forgo healthy daily foods in favor of more palatable options. If they do, they will miss out on needed vitamins and minerals.
Apple Nutrition Information
According to the USDA, one apple slice (25g), the right amount for a gerbil to eat in one sitting, contains the following nutrients.
Are apples suitable for gerbils?
Apples can be a wonderful addition to your pet’s diet, as long it is done right. Once the apple seeds are removed and disposed of, apples are neither toxic nor poisonous to gerbils or other pets. The outer flesh and skin are healthy and contain a range of nutrients that can keep gerbils healthy.
Can gerbils eat apples? -The benefits
Let’s talk about all the health benefits of apples for gerbils, and these include:
A small slice of apple provides some amount of fiber. Fiber is generally suitable for many pets, and gerbils are not excluded. This is because a good fiber amount encourages the gut to work effectively. It also promotes good intestinal health and helps gerbils produce healthy feces.
Apples also contain magnesium. In a study which was published in the Journal of General Psychology, researchers found that gerbils that were deficient in magnesium had many more seizures than gerbils that consumed large amounts of magnesium.
Although you cannot cure seizures, providing gerbils with a magnesium-rich diet can help prevent or mitigate their effects.
Apples contain pectin, a prebiotic that nourishes the beneficial bacteria in the intestine. Pectins bind substances in the small intestine and make feces larger, helping gerbils digest and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. Pectin works with fiber to keep everything working properly.
Gerbils need vitamin A for their eyes, and without it, they are at risk for night blindness. They also need the vitamin for a host of other things, including
- a robust immune system,
- the production of healthy white blood cells to fight off infections,
- the maintenance of healthy bones.
Apples are a great source of potassium. Potassium helps keep the nervous system strong and healthy and regulates heart and muscle contractions. Not only that, but it prevents gerbils from developing high blood pressure and supports bone and muscle growth.
Are apples bad for gerbils?
While small amounts of apples are not “bad,” they can cause problems if used as the only source of fruit for gerbils. This is because of the following reasons.
Gerbils need small amounts of water; they should not have too much. Their bodies can’t process high-water food contents properly, so as an adverse reaction, they may have diarrhea, further leading to dehydration.
Assuming you’ve provided your gerbil with a water bottle, frequent apple snacks may increase their water intake to unsafe levels. That’s because a standard apple contains about 83-84% water.
As described in a study in the Journal of Mammalogy, gerbils can survive up to 29 days without water, suggesting that their bodies can function without water.
Just one slice of apple (25 grams) contains 2.6 grams of sugar. While it is healthier than refined, gerbils should not contain too much sugar because their bodies cannot process it properly, making them sick. Again, gerbils do not naturally eat sugar, so they are not used to eating it.
Gerbils are allowed to consume sugar, although fruits contain too much and can lead to your gerbil developing stomach pains and digestive problems. This is why vegetables are a better source of minerals and nutrients, as they are much lower in natural sugar.
Although apples are not as acidic as other fruits such as strawberries and blueberries, their acidity may be too much for gerbils to handle. If you eat too many apples at once, you may damage the sensitive lining of your mouth.
Acidic fruits can also increase the symptoms of mouth ulcers in your gerbil; they’ll become more painful. Similarly, in the worst-case scenario, apples can lead to painful stomach ulcers. However, it is unlikely that you will be able to give your gerbil enough apples to cause this much damage.
Apples are a more alkaline option than other acidic fruits but should only be fed to gerbils in small pieces from time to time.
Can gerbils eat apple seeds?
Apple seeds are highly toxic to gerbils. That’s because they contain a compound called bitter amygdalin, which is found in apples and other fruits such as apricots, cherries, and peaches.
Once chewed and digested, bitter amygdalin is converted into toxic cyanide. Considering that gerbils are small, they do not need to eat large amounts of cyanide to die.
In addition, because gerbils cannot excrete the toxins from their bodies, they are likely to be affected by cyanide very quickly. Be sure to remove and properly get rid of the seeds before feeding gerbils apples.
Can gerbils eat green apple skin?
Green apples are very healthy for gerbils, both the skin and the pulp. The skin of a green apple contains more nutrients than the flesh, so put it on the gerbil’s apple slices.
However, as we already mentioned, you must remove the seeds first. You can cut the piece into smaller pieces to make it easier for your gerbil to eat, but he will also be happy to pick the music up and nibble on it.
Can gerbils eat red apples?
Red apples are safe for gerbils, too. They can be prepared and served in the same way that green apples are ready. Red apples tend to be a little sweeter than green apples, so your gerbil may prefer the sugary taste. Offer your gerbil (at different times) and see which one it likes best.
Can gerbils eat cooked apples?
Cooked apples are much more acidic than red or green apples, so some gerbils may not like the sour taste. They are also more acidic, which can increase the risk of stomach and digestive problems. Stick to standard apples to be on the safe side – your gerbils are more likely to like them anyway.
Can gerbils eat dried apples?
Dried apples are a wonderful and recommended way to remove the water from fresh apples. That’s because dehydrated apples have 90-95% of the water removed.
However, some store-bought varieties contain additives and preservatives that can be harmful to the health of gerbils.
Instead, try homemade dried apples without adding any ingredients. Many recipes suggest coating them with pineapple or lemon juice to prevent browning of the slices, but these items are too acidic for gerbils. Instead, put them in a dehydrator and keep any added ingredients.
Dehydrating apples will increase the sugar density, so only feed gerbils in minimal amounts from time to time.
Can gerbils eat applesauce?
Applesauce is not healthy for gerbils. It contains high sugar levels and lacks the nutrients of fresh apples, quickly leading to obesity when consumed. While one of the reasons for feeding gerbils fruit is to give them pleasure from it, all food eaten by gerbils should also contain some nutritional value.
Can gerbils eat apple wood and bark
Apple wood and bark are one of the most delicious fruit woods you can give to gerbils. They love the smell and taste of it. Fresh branches are usually the tastiest – so those smaller hard branches/ twigs right at the edge of the tree. Try to avoid those from commercial orchards or allotments where people might spray chemicals on them. Avoid branches that break easily from the tree (as they may have been diseased or dead for a long time) or branches that are covered with lichen or other plant growth (due to pollution), and avoid any branches covered with ivy or mistletoe (as they are toxic to most mammals).
Can gerbils eat apple tree leaves
Appletree leaves are good if young (but not super fresh). Apple leaves can be offered in small quantities, but please avoid anything that looks damaged, diseased, deformed, or anything less than perfect. This is a tree – there are plenty to choose from, so don’t skimp on quality. Avoid those near roads or chemicals, just like the wood itself.
Apples aren’t the worst fruit there is to feed gerbils. They may contain sugar and water, but they also contain plenty of other nutrients beneficial to gerbils. As long as you only give your gerbil a slice of apple every once in a while, you won’t be doing him any harm.
So go ahead and offer some apples to your gerbil.