Apples are one of the most commonly eaten fruits. So, you might be wondering whether it’s safe to feed gerbils apple.
Gerbils cat eat applies. They contain fiber, potassium, vitamin A, and magnesium, which can help reduce the effects of seizures. However, apples are high in sugar and water, which are both bad for gerbils in high quantities. Also, gerbils mustn’t eat apple seeds, as they contain cyanide. Even small doses are enough to kill them.
Vegetables are healthier for gerbils than fruit. Similarly, their main diet should consist of a specially-formulated dry food mix containing all the vitamins and minerals that your pets need.
Can You Feed Gerbils Apples?
Gerbils are omnivores, meaning they can eat and digest a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and plant matter. Apples are no exception.
However, because apples contain lots of sugar and water, you shouldn’t feed them to your gerbils too often. Offering apples every now and then as an occasional treat is fine, but you should try to provide a balanced diet of various fruits, vegetables, and plant matter.
If you choose to allow your gerbil to eat apples, only allow a 25 g slice at a time. Any more than this is far too much and can cause digestive problems.
Do Gerbils Like Apples?
Gerbils enjoy a wide range of fruits, so it’s fair to assume yours will love the taste of a fresh, juicy apple. Gerbils mostly eat plant roots in the wild, but they also enjoy the occasional fruit when they can find one.
As omnivores, captive gerbils enjoy all manner of fruits and vegetables and readily welcome a change in diet from their everyday dry food mix.
That’s why fruits should be seen as a treat as gerbils are likely to abandon their healthy everyday food in favor of something tastier. If they did this, they’d miss out on the vitamins and minerals they need.
Apples Nutritional Information
According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, one apple slice (25g), which is a suitable amount for a gerbil to eat in one go, contains these nutrients:
|Nutrient or Mineral||Amount|
|Vitamin C||1.15 mg|
|Vitamin A||0.75 µg|
|Vitamin K||0.55 µg|
Are Apples Good For Gerbils?
Once the seeds are removed, apples are neither toxic nor poisonous to gerbils. Both the flesh and skin are healthy and contain a range of nutrients that can keep your gerbil healthy, including:
A slice of apple provides a small amount of fiber. Fiber is good for gerbils because it encourages the stomach and intestines to work harder. It also promotes good gut health and helps gerbils produce healthy droppings.
Apples also contain magnesium. In a study published by the Journal of General Psychology, researchers found that gerbils deprived of magnesium had far more seizures than gerbils who ate lots of it.
While seizures can’t be cured, providing gerbils with foods that are rich in magnesium could help prevent them or lessen the effects.
Apples contain pectin, which is a prebiotic that feeds the gut’s beneficial bacteria. It binds substances in the small intestine and bulks out stools, helping with the gerbil’s digestion and promoting the growth of good bacteria. Pectin works alongside fiber to keep everything working properly.
Gerbils need vitamin A for their eyes. Without it, they’re at risk of night blindness. The vitamin is also required for a range of other things, including a robust immune system, the production of healthy white blood cells, and the maintenance of strong bones.
Apples are an excellent source of potassium. This keeps the nervous system strong and healthy and regulates heart and muscle contractions. Not only that, but it can prevent gerbils from developing high blood pressure and supports bone and muscle growth.
Are Apples Bad For Gerbils?
While apples aren’t “bad” in small quantities, they can cause problems if you make them your gerbil’s only fruit source. That’s because of the following reasons:
While gerbils need a small amount of water, they shouldn’t have too much. Their bodies can’t process it properly, so it comes out as diarrhea.
Assuming you’ve already provided your gerbil with a water bottle, frequent apple treats could increase their water intake to unsafe levels. That’s because a standard apple contains approximately 84% water.
As described by a study in the Journal of Mammalogy, gerbils may be able to survive up to 29 days without water, suggesting their bodies work well enough without it.
Just one apple slice (25 g) contains 2.6 g of sugar. While it’s healthier than the refined kind, gerbils shouldn’t have much sugar as their bodies can’t process it properly, making them sick. Similarly, gerbils don’t naturally eat sugar, so it’s not something they’re used to.
Gerbils that are allowed to consume too much sugar through fruit will experience stomach pain and digestive problems. That’s why vegetables are a better source of minerals and nutrients, as they’re much lower in naturally-occurring sugars.
While apples aren’t considered as acidic as other fruits such as strawberries and blueberries, the acidity is likely too much for your gerbil to handle. If it eats too much apple in one go, it may damage the mouth’s sensitive lining.
Acidic fruits can also cause mouth ulcers to become more painful. Similarly, in the worst cases, apples can cause painful stomach ulcers. However, you’re unlikely to give your gerbil enough apple to do that much damage.
Compared to other acidic fruits, apple is a more alkaline option, but only feed your gerbil small chunks every now and then.
Can Gerbils Eat Apple Seeds?
Apple seeds are highly toxic to gerbils. That’s because they contain a compound called amygdalin, which is found in apples and other fruits, such as apricots, cherries, and peaches.
Once chewed and digested, amygdalin converts into cyanide, which is poisonous. Given how small gerbils are, they wouldn’t need to eat a lot of cyanide to die.
Also, as gerbils can’t vomit toxins out of their body, they’re likely to succumb to the effects of cyanide quickly. Before feeding your gerbil apple, make sure the seeds are removed and discarded.
Can Gerbils Eat Green Apples?
Green apples are perfectly healthy for gerbils to eat, including the skin and flesh. In fact, the skin contains more nutrients than the flesh, so leave it on your gerbil’s apple slice.
However, as we’ve already mentioned, you must remove the seeds first. You can cut the slice up into small chunks to make it easier for your gerbil to eat, but it’ll be more than happy to pick the piece up and nibble on it, too.
Can Gerbils Eat Red Apples?
Red apples are similar to green apples in that they’re safe for gerbils to eat. They can be prepared in the same way. Red apples tend to be slightly sweeter than green, so your gerbil might prefer the sugary taste. Offer your gerbil both (at different times) and see which one it likes best.
Can Gerbils Eat Cooking Apples?
Cooking apples are much tarter than red or green apples, so some gerbils may not enjoy the sour taste. They’re also much more acidic, which increases the risk of stomach and digestive problems. To be on the safe side, stick to standard apples – your gerbil’s far more likely to enjoy them, anyway.
Can Gerbils Eat Dried Apple?
Dried apples are an excellent way to remove the water content from fresh apples. That’s because dehydrated apple has had 90-95% of the water removed.
However, some shop-bought varieties contain additives and preservatives that could be harmful to your gerbil’s health.
Instead, try making dried apples at home without adding any ingredients to them. Many recipes suggest coating them in pineapple or lemon juice to preventing the slices from browning, but these items are too acidic for your gerbil. Instead, pop them in a dehydrator and hold back on any added ingredients.
Dehydrating the apples will increase the sugar density, so only feed your gerbil the smallest amount every now and then.
Can Gerbils Have Apple Sauce?
Apple sauce isn’t healthy for gerbils. It has high levels of sugar and lacks the nutrients that come from fresh apples, which can lead to obesity. While part of the purpose of feeding gerbils fruits is so that they can get enjoyment from them, everything gerbils eat should also have nutritional value.
Apples aren’t the worst fruit to feed gerbils. While they contain sugar and water, they also have good levels of other nutrients that can benefit gerbils. As long as you only provide your gerbil with a slice of apple every once in a while, you won’t cause it any harm.