When it comes to feeding a cat or dog, things are fairly simple. Unfortunately, feeding pocket pets is a bit more difficult, especially if you choose an unlikely companion, like a gerbil. Getting your furry friend’s diet just right is easier than you think. Just follow these guidelines from a professional veterinarian!
Start with the right pellets
Feeding any pet a balanced diet that contains all of the right nutrients is extremely important. When it comes to gerbils, this means a diet of pellets. Food that is specially formulated for these furry critters is the best, but pellet foods for other animals can work well too. Just make sure that you find a rodent chow that is somewhere between 16 and 20 percent protein. Some formulas only contain 12 percent protein, which isn’t enough to keep your pet healthy.
Eating pellets alone can get pretty boring for your gerbil, which is why some pet parents turn to seed mixes instead. Many of these mixtures contain pellets, but they also contain a variety of tasty seeds that are sure to enhance your furry friend’s diet. The problem is, your pet has to eat all of the items in the mix in order to get the vitamins and minerals he needs to stay healthy. Most critters dig through and pick out the tastiest morsels, leaving unappetizing bits behind.
If you do want to feed your gerbil a seed mix, make sure you do so sparingly. You should also pick a mix with fewer sunflower seeds, or pick out most of the sunflower seeds on your own. They are extremely tasty, which means your pet is likely to eat a lot of them, but they’re also high in fat and calories.
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Want to vary your gerbil’s diet without overfeeding him seeds that are full of fat and calories? Give him fresh fruits and vegetables instead! Stick to dark green and yellow vegetables, like broccoli and squash, as they have more nutritional value. Avoid light colored greens, like iceberg lettuce, and don’t feed your critter too many fruits. Fruits are high in sugar, which can be bad for your pet.
Still have questions about your gerbil’s diet? Your local veterinarian can make sure that you’re feeding your pet health the right amount of pellets, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.