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Can Gerbils Eat Cheese? The Truth About This Yummy Treat!

can gerbils eat cheese

Some people love cheese, while others absolutely hate it! Let’s face it, cheese is delicious, but I may be biased.  It’s an excellent source of calcium, protein, and fat which are all needed in a healthy and balanced diet. 

Can gerbils eat cheese, however? Is this popular treat safe for them to eat, or should they avoid it at all costs?

Let’s find out!

Can Gerbils Eat Cheese?

Cute gerbil with grain

Gerbils can eat cheese but in small amounts. Unfortunately, gerbils are lactose intolerant which means they cannot fully digest the lactose contained in milk. However, studies have shown that cheese does not contain enough lactose levels to affect gerbils.  However, it’s still best to stay on the safe side and give cheese in small amounts If your gerbil eats too much cheese or milk, you may notice that he has stomach bloating and diarrhea.

Do Gerbils Like Cheese?

Who can resist the delicious cheese flavor? Not your gerbil! Of course gerbils like cheese. They actually enjoy snacking on cheese especially because it has a lot of protein and fat. This will help them to feel full quickly, so there’s no need for them to eat a lot.  It’s one the best foods to use as a treat and they will prefer it over many other foods you provide. 

Why Cheese Can Be Unhealthy for Gerbils

Overall, cheese is a healthy and delicious food for human beings ( the ones who like the taste anyway) but it’s not the best for gerbils in large quantities. 

While lactose might not be a compounding issue for gerbils, the fact that it contains more fats and proteins than they need and does not have enough carbohydrates means that it’s not the healthiest food for them. 

Also, dairy products are not ideal for gerbils, even though they won’t kill or harm them. According to this pet specialist, it’s not best to give gerbils dairy products but stick to grains and seeds which are best for them. 

Health Benefits of Cheese for Gerbils

On the other hand, cheese does have some benefits. When you feed your gerbils cheese as an occasional snack, it can be enjoyable and provide them with some quality nutrients. 

WebMD states that 23 grams of cheese contain:

  • 104 calories
  • 5 grams of protein
  • 9 grams of fat (5 grams saturated)
  • 1 gram of carbohydrates
  • 0 grams of fiber
  • 0.6 grams of sugar
  • 293 milligrams of calcium
  • 468 milligrams of sodium

It does contain beneficial nutrients such as  Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin K, Zinc, and Calcium. It also contains smaller quantities of Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, and Vitamin D, among others. 

Cheese has also been found to help with several bodily functions which include:

  • Contains linoleic acid which may help to prevent obesity
  • Can protect teeth from cavities
  • May be good for heart health
cheese nutrition profile

How Much Cheese Can You Feed a Gerbil?

Since gerbils can enjoy cheese every now and then, just how much can they eat? While there isn’t a prescribed amount of cheese to feed to your gerbil, acknowledging the fat content can help to make the right decision. 

Gerbils should not eat lots of fat or salt and cheese contains these substances in high amounts. 

Your pet should only eat a small portion of cheese on an occasional basis. If he’s fed cheese too often, your gerbil can suffer from high blood pressure, stomach issues, and obesity. 

To avoid this risk, don’t overfeed your gerbil with cheese or dairy. However, a small amount certainly won’t hurt and will bring a little variety to his diet. 

How Often Can You Feed Cheese to Gerbils?

Feeding your gerbils small amounts of cheese once per week should be fine. Try to incorporate cheese along with nutritious foods like his pellet food. This way, your gerbil will still receive quality nutrients and minerals, while enjoying a nice treat.

The best way to keep your gerbil in good health is to avoid all dairy products. However, it is understandable that gerbil owners want their furry friends to enjoy something more exciting at times. 

What Kinds of Cheese Can Gerbils Eat?

There are several types of cheese varieties available. It appears that there might be more than 1800 types of cheese to try. What types of cheese varieties can your gerbil munch on?

Safe cheese varieties include:

  • Cheddar
  • Italian
  • Swiss 
  • Cottage
  • American
  • Gruyere
  • Ricotta
  • Gouda
  • Parmesan
  • Manchego
cheese varieties

Can Gerbils Eat Blue Cheese?

Blue cheese is a semi-soft cheese marble with streaks of blue and green veins of mold. Some people absolutely love blue cheese, particularly because of the salty sharp flavor. While it may be delicious for some, it’s not something to share with your gerbil.

The mold found in blue cheese is toxic to gerbils, so they should under no circumstances eat it. It could cause severe sickness or even death. 

Can Gerbils Eat Mac and Cheese?

Mac and Cheese is a sumptuous and easy meal that can be prepared for kids in just a few minutes. Everyone loves it because while simple, it’s also very tasty! You might have wondered if gerbils can eat Mac and Cheese. Most of these products are processed which means that they aren’t great for your gerbil’s health. Sure, if he tries it once or twice it won’t hurt, but it’s best to avoid this favorite to keep your pet healthy.

Can Gerbils Eat Cheese Puffs?

Cheese puffs are another highly processed product that contains many additives and LOTS of salt. While your gerbil may eat and enjoy cheese puffs, they shouldn’t eat them. As a matter of fact, ‘cheese’ puffs may not even contain real cheese! I know, crazy right?

Can Gerbils Eat Cheese Pizza?

We all love a tasty cheese pizza now and again. It’s filled with decadent cheese, toppings, and grease. As you can already tell, cheese pizza is not the best for gerbils. They contain more fat than regular cheese because pizzas are topped with multiple types of cheese. And a lot of it too! While cheese pizza might be great as a weekend snack for the family, it shouldn’t be given to your gerbil.

Can Gerbils Eat Cheese?

Cheese is safe for gerbils in small amounts. Some gerbil owners feed cheese to their pets with no issues, but if given in excess it can lead to obesity and other health issues. To keep your gerbil in optimal health, it’s best to stick with grains, seeds, and small amounts of fruit.

However, as a pet owner, it is nice to offer a tasty treat that helps you bond with your pet. So give cheese in small amounts if you do choose to treat your gerbil. 

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