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Can Gerbils Eat Cabbage? Should They Avoid it?

can gerbils eat cabbage

Cabbage is known as a healthy veggie and is used all across the world in various cultures. While there are different types of cabbage, the most commonly known is the leafy green cabbage used in popular recipes. 

You may or may not eat cabbage as some people love it, while others hate it. The question is, can gerbils eat cabbage? 

Gerbils do enjoy various grains, seeds, fruits, and veggies, but not every kind of food is good for them. So let’s find out if gerbils can eat cabbage or if they should stay away from it!

Can Gerbils Eat Cabbage?

Gerbils should not eat cabbage as it is not a safe food for them. While some pet owners feed cabbage to their gerbils, it is not on the recommended food list for these animals. It is one of the vegetables you should avoid feeding your pet as it can cause health problems. 

According to Pet Supplies Plus,Do not give your gerbil cabbage, potatoes, onions, uncooked beans, chocolate, candy or junk food.’ If you would like to keep your gerbil healthy and happy, stick to a high-quality pellet mix and safe vegetables and fruits. 

Do Gerbils Like Cabbage?

Gerbils do enjoy munching on various foods, so vegetables are no different. Cabbage has a crunchy texture when raw, so your gerbils could enjoy the texture, but may not enjoy the taste. However, in this case, since cabbage is not a safe food for gerbils, it’s best not to test it on your pet. 

It is true that some pet owners feed their gerbil cabbage with no negative effects, but the fact remains that there are much better foods for your gerbil to enjoy. This gerbil owner mentioned that ‘mine love cabbage and lettuce’. He does give it in small amounts, but it’s still not recommended. 

Is Cabbage Harmful to Gerbils?

Cabbage can be harmful to gerbils as some pet owners have discovered. For example, a pet owner on this gerbil forum discovered that his gerbils died after eating raw cabbage. The story itself is simply heartbreaking and I had to include it to show that cabbage is not safe for your pet!

The pet owner clearly was not aware of the dangers of cabbage which is why I hope this will make others mindful that cabbage is not suited for gerbils.

good and bad of cabbage

Potential Dangers of Cabbage for Gerbils

Water Content

Gerbils do not need a lot of water. Their bodies are accustomed to eating dry foods and not drinking much water. We do not find many water sources in their natural habitats. However, you should provide water via a water bottle with a sipper tube that they have access to when they need it. 

Cabbage has a high amount of water as do vegetables like lettuce. As a capricious vegetable, cabbage is made up of 92% water, which your gerbil certainly does not need if he already has access to water. 

Too much water can lead to diarrhea in some cases. If this lasts for too long, your gerbil could suffer from dehydration.

Digestive Issues

Gerbils should not eat cabbage because it can lead to digestive problems. Cabbage contains what’s called sulfurous compounds and raffinose, a sugar that can lead to bloating and gas. The high fiber content also does not help, as it can overwhelm your gerbil’s delicate tummy.

These digestive issues can cause discomfort and pain which will leave your gerbil feeling unhappy. If symptoms do not subside, you will need to take your friend to the vet. 

Nutritional Value of Cabbage

Despite cabbage not being a good food option for gerbils, it’s great for humans due to its many health benefits. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals such as potassium, folate, vitamin K, calcium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

According to Very Well Fit, one cup of raw chopped cabbage contains:

  • Calories: 22
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Sodium: 16mg
  • Carbohydrates: 5.2g
  • Fiber: 2.2g
  • Sugars: 2.9g
  • Protein: 1.1g
  • Potassium: 151mg
  • Folate: 38.3mcg
  • Vitamin K: 67.6mcg
  • Vitamin C: 32.6mg

Cabbage is great as it contributes to:

  • Brain health
  • Good Vision
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Inflammation
  • Digestion
  • Cholesterol levels

Despite its many benefits, some people can be allergic to cabbage and it can also interfere with blood thinners. So, cabbage is safe for humans for the most part, but gerbils should not eat it.

Better Alternatives for Gerbils

Gerbils should eat a variety of grains, seeds, fruits, and vegetables to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. These foods will allow them to get a variety of nutrients and minerals. Gerbils can eat seeds such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and mixed seeds. 

Fruits that gerbils can enjoy include melon, banana, and apple among others. They can also enjoy vegetables such as carrots, lettuce, and cucumber. 

Can Gerbils Eat Cabbage?

Gerbils should not eat cabbage because it can cause health issues in these small animals. The water content is way too high and the high fiber can result in gas which is painful for your pet. Some pet owners have fed raw cabbage to their gerbils which resulted in the death of the pet, while others have fed their pets with no negative results.

Since there are healthier options for your pet to eat, it’s best to stick with these options and never introduce cabbage. This is because you won’t be sure of the outcome or what your gerbil will experience after eating even a small amount of this vegetable.

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