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Can Gerbils Eat Apples? (The Honest Truth)

can gerbils eat apples

Remember the old English proverb, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? It was a smart saying that motivated many people to eat more apples, so they wouldn’t need to see the doctor. While apples on their own don’t make you completely healthy, eating a combination of healthy fruits, vegetables, seeds, and grains, can lead to a more healthy lifestyle. 

We all know that apples are good for us, but can gerbils eat apples? If so, do they enjoy them, and just how much is safe? Let’s find out if you can keep your gerbil from frequent vet visits with a healthy fruit like the apple!

Can Gerbils Eat Apples?

Gerbils can eat apples, as they are a healthy and refreshing fruit containing a number of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. Apples are linked to a lower risk of obesity and are good for gut health. 

Your gerbil can only eat apples in moderate amounts because they are high in sugar and made up of about 85% water. Also, apple seeds are dangerous for gerbils because they contain cyanide which is poisonous.

Do Gerbils Like Apples?

Yes, gerbils do enjoy apples because they love to eat a variety of fruits. Most fruits have a sweet, refreshing taste, and apples are no different! While gerbils generally eat plant roots in their natural habitat, they definitely won’t resist fruits if they come across them.

As delicious as they are, fruits should not be the main part of their diet, but rather a supplement to their main intake of pellet food along with smaller amounts of fruits and vegetables. 

Are Apples a Healthy Fruit For Gerbils?

In general, apples are healthy fruits. Humans eat and enjoy them on a regular basis which leads to better health when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Gerbils too can enjoy apples, because they are healthy for these animals in small amounts. 

What makes apples a healthy fruit overall, are the following reasons:

Nutritious for Gerbils

Apples, like blueberries, are nutrient-dense foods that are beneficial to your gerbil’s overall health. A few essential nutrients in apples include:

Vitamin A – As kids, we were always told that vitamin A was good for our eyes and our moms would get us to eat a bunch of carrots. Well, your gerbil can enjoy apples and get a healthy dose of this fantastic vitamin too!

Vitamin E – This is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s great for vision, the brain, and the skin. It also has antioxidant properties. Research has shown that it helps to lower the risk of heart disease. 

Fiber – Even though gerbils don’t need excess fiber due to the size of the stomach, a little doesn’t hurt. When they munch on a slice of apple, it does help with digestion and gut health. 

Magnesium – Studies have shown that magnesium deprivation in gerbils can lead to seizures. However, by adding this essential mineral to their diet, this risk is removed. This is one important benefit for gerbils that apples provide! 

nutritional benefits apples

Has Cancer-Fighting Antioxidants

Who doesn’t want their pet to live longer? Antioxidants are known for their powerful effects on eliminating free radicals which damage cells and lead to diseases. Apples are packed with helpful antioxidants which fight specific cancers and can prolong life. 


According to Glenway Animal Hospital, gerbils need a high-fiber diet to keep their digestive juices flowing. Apples contain a relatively high amount of fiber which should keep your gerbil pooping on the regular!

Risks of Gerbils Eating Apples

While apples have several benefits for gerbils, there are some risks that pet owners should be aware of. By knowing these risks, you can keep your gerbil healthy and away from any dangers.


Gerbils need clean, fresh water daily in a water bottle. They should have access to water throughout the day. However, gerbils do not need a lot of it, so if taken in excess, it causes diarrhea. 

Diarrhea can be harmless for the most part but left untreated, your gerbil will become dehydrated. Apples contain a lot of water, which is one reason to limit the amount of fruit given to your gerbil.


Acid is contained in many fruits and it’s generally harmless in small amounts. You may have tried a fruit and felt a little tingle in your mouth – well, that might be the acid you’re feeling. Gerbils can feel discomfort or even pain from the acid contained in apples. If your pet overeats, it can damage the sensitive lining in his mouth and even cause painful ulcers.


Apples are a sweet, tangy fruit that your gerbil will love to eat. However, don’t feed him too much, because this can cause harm. Your gerbil’s digestive system can’t process sugar when too much enters the system. Also, there are other risks of eating too much sugar such as obesity and diabetes. 

Can Gerbils Eat Apple Seeds?

Gerbils should NEVER under any circumstances eat apple seeds, as they are poisonous to them. Even in small amounts, ingesting these seeds will kill your gerbil. When preparing an apple snack for your pet, always remove the apple seeds beforehand to avoid accidental poisoning. 

Can Gerbils Eat Apples Skin?

Usually, the outer layer of fruits is packed with many vitamins and minerals, sometimes more than the interior of the fruit itself! In some cases, humans don’t like the texture or taste and will discard the skin.

However, you shouldn’t let the skin of apples go to waste on your gerbils. According to Healthline, a raw apple with skin contains up to 332% more vitamin K, 142% more vitamin A, 115% more vitamin C, 20% more calcium, and up to 19% more potassium than a peeled apple”

Still, it is important to remember that apple skin can contain pesticides, so it should be washed properly or sourced organically. If you have your own apple tree, however, feel free to give your gerbil apple skins as a snack. 

Can Gerbils Eat Apple Leaves?

Gerbils usually feed on several plant parts in the wild, many of which humans can’t digest properly. It is safe for gerbils to eat apple leaves as they are not poisonous to them. However, a much better way to give your gerbil sufficient nutrients is to feed them fresh apples. 

Can Gerbils Eat Dried Apple?

Dried apples are a tasty treat for gerbils. These are either dehydrated or baked as apple chips in the oven. They are sweet to the taste and contain little to no water. Also, there is a greater concentration of vitamins contained in dried apples which is more beneficial for your gerbil. Gerbils will enjoy the taste and texture of dried apples and will probably beg for more! However, it’s still better to use fresh apples and only feed him dried apples occasionally. 

Can Gerbils the Eat Stems and Bark of the Apple Tree?

Gerbils can eat the stems and bark of apples as they are perfectly safe for them. Applewood is something that they will especially fancy because rodents enjoy feeding on certain tree barks in the wild. They love the taste and smell a lot, so it’s a nice treat for them.

Applewood is actually sold online as foraging items for small animals like gerbils, guinea pigs, and hedgehogs. Chewing on the apple bark will help to keep your gerbil’s incisors down which is necessary as their teeth continue growing during their lifetime. Try to get organic bark or wood as some trees are sprayed with pesticides. 

Can Gerbils Eat Apple Sauce?

This is another sweet addition to your gerbil’s diet. Apple sauce is fine in moderation if you can make it at home. Avoid using commercial apple sauce which contains added sugar and additives as they are not best for your gerbil’s health. Even when making apple sauce at home, try not to overfeed your gerbil. Fresh apples are much better for your gerbil to eat. 

Can Gerbils Eat Cooked Apples?

Who thought it was a good idea to cook apples anyway? Cooked apples are not the most suitable option for gerbils because fresh ingredients provide the best nourishment. Besides, nutrients are lost in the cooking process so your gerbil is better off eating fresh apples. 

Can Gerbils Eat Fried Apples?

Gerbils should not eat fried apples as it’s not healthy. It contains oil and with that, added fat which is unnecessary for your gerbil to ingest. Too much fat can lead to weight gain and this opens up a host of other health problems for your pet. Listen, if your gerbil eats it once or twice it probably won’t affect him, but it contains virtually no health benefits, so it’s not recommended.

Healthiest Apple Varieties 

Did you know that there are 7,500 apple varieties out there? I know, I was shocked when I learned this too! About 100 varieties are sold commercially in the US, and the healthiest one is ….drumroll please, Granny Smith Apples.

The name does sound kinda funny, but it makes up for that in the health department. It’s a good snack for gerbils because it’s low in sugar, high in fiber and minerals, and improves gut bacteria. Try to purchase organic Granny Smith apples for your gerbil to enjoy in season. 

healthiest apple varieties

How Many Apples Can Gerbils Eat and How Often?

Gerbils should only eat fresh apples once or twice a week and no more. With dehydrated apples, limit this to once or twice a month. This doesn’t mean he should gobble down an entire apple in one sitting though!

 About one teaspoon per serving should be enough for fresh apples and half a teaspoon for dehydrated apples. Remember that apples contain water and sugar, which can cause health problems if eaten in excess. Your gerbil needs a balanced diet which can usually be met through a pellet mix and smaller amounts of fruits and vegetables. 

Can Gerbils Eat Apples? Final Thoughts

So yes, gerbils can eat apples! It’s best that they eat fresh apples, as these have the optimal amount of nutrition. Dried or dehydrated apples are also suitable for gerbils but should be eaten less due to higher concentrations of sugar.

Avoid feeding your gerbil fried apples as they have little nutritional value. Apples can be fed to gerbils about once or twice a week as a healthy snack. Granny Smith Apples are one of the healthiest apples on the list, so try to get these organically. Also, your gerbil will certainly enjoy snacking on applewood frequently.

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