Aside from dogs and cats, there is a tiny, cute, and adorable creature called “gerbils” that can easily become one of your favorite pets. Almost anyone who gets to see them would want to take them home and care for them.
Their endearing characteristics, entertaining personalities, high energy, and cute voices make them one of the most popular pets. To keep their high energy and healthy bodies, we need to ensure they get the best nutrition and healthy diet. Now, can gerbils eat cheese? Is it healthy for them?
Let’s find out by exploring what gerbils like about cheese. We just want to know if cheese is actually good for your cute and squeaky pets.
What are the typical foods that gerbils eat?
Most of the households choose gerbils as the child’s first pet since it is easy to handle. It is beneficial for children as they are responsible for taking good care of a pet at a very young age.
Typically, gerbils eat fruits and vegetables together with a regular gerbil’s diet with mixed pellets. However, it is not always good to feed them the same variety of foods.
Good thing, gerbils can eat small pieces of cheese like what we have seen in some cartoons where rodents love cheese.
Is it okay to feed gerbils cheese?
Can you feed cheese to gerbils? Yes, it’s okay for gerbils to eat cheese but on an occasional basis and with small portions only. Moderation is the key.
It is important to avoid regularly giving them cheese as it is high in fat and proteins. Aside from that, gerbils are lactose intolerant too. Their digestive system cannot fully process the cheese inside their bodies, and it could make them struggle with digesting the food.
However, on the bright side, cheese can still add value to the gerbil’s nutritional diet as it contains Vitamin A, B2, and B12, calcium, zinc, phosphorus that all offer health benefits.
Too much fat from their food can lead to the obesity of your gerbils. The study claims that milder varieties of cheese that are good for them are the cottage cheese or mild cheddar.
Nutritional Values of 100g of Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a fresh soft, white, and creamy cheese that has a natural process to develop a flavor. It is mild compared with other cheeses. It is from the different levels of pasteurized cow’s milk, such as non-fat, reduced, and regular milk. It comes in varieties of curd, such as small, medium, and large in sizes.
Cottage cheese forms by adding an acid to the milk, resulting in curdling. Usually, cottage cheese is available in lactose-free, sodium-free, cream, and whipped. The nutritional value of cottage cheese varies due to the level of milk fat used and sodium.
Every 100g cottage cheese has an added nutritional value.
- 98 kcal calories
- 3.4g of fats
- 3.4g or 2.7 sugars of carbohydrates
Vitamins and minerals that contains Vitamins A and B12 together with required minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium
When you feed large portions of cottage cheese, you also need to buy low sodium or sodium-free varieties. Overfeeding of high sodium increases health risks for gerbils.
Cottage cheese is a better option for other mild cheese because it offers low fats that your gerbil can cope better with other snacks.
Nutritional Values of 100g Mild Cheddar
Cheddar cheese is the most popular kind of cheese. It is easy to find as it is available almost in all stores. It is an aged cheese that has to mature over a long time.
Aside from humans, gerbils can eat this too. However, it should be a bit milder than the usual cheddar. Its aging process lets the bacteria process lactose. Gerbils can easily digest cheddar. There are many amounts of drained whey before the cheese had been produced. Whey contains most of the lactose.
In every 100g mild cheddar cheese, your gerbils can add nutritional values to their diets like
- 280 kcal of calories
- 31.2g fats
- 6g or 3.2g sugars of carbohydrates
- 30g of proteins
- Vitamins and minerals such as Calcium and vitamin A
Mild cheddar contains high fats. Give your gerbils a small portion of cheddar cheese. Although gerbils can only eat a small amount of these, it still produces an abundantly good source of vitamins and minerals.
What kind of cheese can gerbils eat?
Gerbils can eat cheese, they sure do, and they love it. Since gerbils are a rodent in classification, they are attracted to cheese. However, not all kinds of cheese are essential for cute little gerbils, as cheese contains high fats that can block their digestive system. So, what cheese can gerbils eat?
Types of Cheese for Gerbils
- mild cheddar
- swiss cheese
- cottage cheese
Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano have gone through a process where bacteria dominate the lactose and replace it with lactic acid. Lactic acid is okay with animals that have lactose intolerance since these acids digested. Since gerbils are lactose intolerant, they can eat this cheese but not too much.
Another cheese that gerbils can eat is cottage cheese. It is a fresh one, so it never undergoes in ripening process to develop flavor. It is low in lactose. Lower lactose is better for gerbils.
Do gerbils like cheese?
Like ordinary rodents, gerbils can eat anything. It is because, in the wild, they do not have much food. So, when they find something attractive to them and they know they can eat it, they’re going to take the risk and catch the food.
Gerbils like cheese. It is proven and tested by people who had experienced taking good care of this creature. They like foods abundant in calories. It could be one of the pros of having gerbils as pets.
While cheese is rich in fat and protein, you have to make sure that they should eat only a little part of it and never feed them cheese regularly. Cheese makes them full suddenly, so it is no doubt that eating cheese makes them satisfied.
Vitamins and Minerals in Cheese
Probably no one can resist the temptations of cheese. Everybody knows how delicious this food is, especially when used as a flavor to cakes, pies, pizzas, chips, and other snacks that we enjoyed more because it has cheese.
Every food gets better when it has a dip of cheese. The good thing about the addiction to cheese is it contains vitamins and minerals that are highly beneficial for everyone who loves cheese.
First, it is the best source of calcium. Aside from milk, cheese contains calcium as it is a necessary mineral. It regulates vascular function, nerve transmission, and muscle function.
Another one is cheese contains protein. Gerbils need this nutrient for the regulation, formation, and protection of their body. It is functional, especially in the immune system.
Cheese is high in Vitamin B12, which is the most complex vitamin of all. Feed your gerbils a swiss cheese as it keeps the nervous system healthy.
In general, cheese contains Vitamins A, B2, B5, B6, D, E, K. It also provides phosphorous, selenium, zinc, copper, and magnesium. It makes this food more nutritious than another gerbil’s snack. It is undeniable good for animals.
Health Benefits of Cheese for Gerbils
Cheese does not provide enough nutritional benefits as other foods have. It just plainly comprises of protein and fat, both good for gerbils’ diet.
- When cheese is the only food you give to your gerbils, you are doing it in the wrong way. It would be unhealthy for them.
- They only get the vitamins and minerals through their regular food, and they don’t need alternatives nor supplements like human needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Magnesium is the only mineral a gerbil needs as it plays a vital role for gerbils and effectively functions for brain health. It can block seizures to dwell in gerbils, particularly young gerbils.
- Cheese can also boost the gerbil’s immune system. A restricted and limited cheese consumption for gerbils can help them gain weight since it contains vitamins and minerals.
Side Effects of Cheese for Gerbils
If you are wondering if cheese is inappropriate for your gerbil, the answer is NO. Cheese cannot harm your pet nor poison them. But cheese can cause digestive problems due to regular intake that are painful for your tiny companion.
The digestive problems are due to lactose intolerance. The body can’t digest lactose, which is a kind of sugar that is most common in milk, cheese, and other dairy products.
When a gerbil stops drinking their mother’s milk, they also stop producing lactase.
The lactase goes through the gut without being properly digested, and this may cause flatulence, bloating and cramps, diarrhea, and an extreme feeling of weakness. Like humans, gerbils can encounter these side effects due to the underlying mechanism of intolerance.
These symptoms won’t kill your gerbil. However, these side effects aren’t pleasant to feel. While some owners are confident that these won’t kill their pet, a different level of pain brought by diarrhea can cause infection. It may take further health problems that can cause serious health problems to sudden death.
How Often Should You Feed a Gerbil Cheese
Is cheese allowed for gerbils? Is it a yes? or No? Or perhaps both? But one thing is for sure. It isn’t the healthiest food for gerbils as it contains high-fats that are unhealthy for a gerbil if they eat it too often.
You should only provide small cuts portions of cheese once a week. Consider cheese as a gerbil’s treat. You can also mix other foods that are only essential for gerbils.
Feeding cheese to your gerbil frequently may result in obesity because of the high fat and protein that makes your gerbil quickly gets heavier. Giving cheese once a week will never be a problem.
Avoid feeding dairy products to your gerbil as it is unsuitable for them. Moldy cheese is not allowed as it can make a gerbil ill. Remove leftover cheese from your gerbil’s habitat to ensure they did not eat the cheese as it may have defects like bacteria coming from the household insects.
Generally, cheese is somehow a treat or comfort food for gerbils. They enjoy eating it without being aware that too much is not appropriate for their diet. So typically, you should take full responsibility to maintain a healthy lifestyle for gerbils.
Conduct research on what can you feed your gerbils. They can do well along with fruits and vegetables. So, you might as well check what types of fruits and veggies are appropriate for your pet. Mild varieties of cheese are wise options too.
No matter how delicious cheese is, how gerbils enjoy eating them, be responsible enough to limit this food practice. Try other alternative foods that are nutritious for them. If they do not like it, you can mix it with a little cut of cheese. Just don’t forget only to do this once a week.
They can show effortless cute-fascinating gestures just by seeing them eating, playing, and running. Gerbils are more vocal to their owners than hamsters. They act like a baby, and you need to treat them specially.
Give gerbils the best possible care you can provide them because they are a great companion to keep better than other animals as they are energetic and fun little guys. They establish well an owner-gerbils relationship. If you want more years of bonding, you should create awareness for their health. Ensure they are comfortable in their habitat and that they can do well under your supervision.
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Hezekiah is a pet lover since birth, according to his parents. He started writing for the Pets Checklist in 2020. He is fond of playing with and taking pictures of different friendly animals around his neighborhood. He loves to read and write articles about pets, science, and music.