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Can Gerbils Eat Spinach? Is This Green Food Ideal?

can gerbils eat spinach

When the word spinach comes to mind, some often think of the cartoon Popeye the Sailor Man. I watched it once upon a time and found it hilarious. Though it’s a little bitter, it makes for a delicious addition to certain salads and stir-fries. 

Can gerbils eat spinach? After all, it’s a healthy green that humans eat often and gerbils do eat greens as well. Let’s find out if spinach is safe for gerbils or if you should stick to other veggies. 

Can Gerbils Eat Spinach?

gerbil standing

Spinach is completely safe for gerbils to eat as it contains a healthy nutritional profile and nothing that would harm your pet. However, it’s best not to overfeed your gerbil on spinach as it is a bit watery and too much could affect your pet’s health. 

Do Gerbils Like Spinach?

Gerbils enjoy a range of foods inclusive of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and insects. They will eat spinach because leafy greens are something that pet gerbils are used to. Despite this, some gerbils may not like the taste of spinach if it is not their preference. 

Gerbils may like spinach because they enjoy crunchy textures or flavorful foods. If you have spinach in your home, there’s no harm in letting your pet try a bit. Who knows, he might really enjoy it!

Is Spinach a Healthy Choice for Gerbis?

Vegetables are a healthy choice all around; just one taste of spinach will show you how beneficial it is. It’s almost like you can taste the chlorophyll it contains!

It might be an acquired taste for some, but for those who enjoy it, spinach does have a number of nutrients and minerals that are highly desired.

In fact, a cup of raw spinach contains:

  • 7 calories
  • 0.86 g of protein
  • 29.7 mg of calcium
  • 0.81 g of iron
  • 24 mg of magnesium
  • 167 mg of potassium
  • 141 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A
  • 58 mcg of folate

Dark leafy greens like spinach are great for bone health, skin, hair, and vision. Along with this, this veggie contains proteins and vitamins which are essential for proper body functions. 

Iron, for example, aids in transporting oxygen in the blood, supporting the immune system, and even digestion. Magnesium assists with maintaining blood pressure, boosting the immune system, and regulating heartbeat. 

Fiber is another fantastic reason eating spinach is a smart choice. Fiber helps to promote a healthy digestive system which will help your gerbil to have a much easier time pooping!

A great addition to spinach’s nutritional profile is the fact that it contains plant compounds such as:

  • lutein
  • nitrates
  • quercetin
  • zeaxanthin
  • Kaempferol

These plant compounds actually help to reduce inflammation in the body which can cause damage to organs. Spinach therefore can be a healthy addition to your gerbil’s diet once it is eaten in moderation. 

Potential Side Effects of Spinach

While spinach is a super healthy food item, it can cause some issues if it’s eaten in excess. If you plan on feeding spinach to your pet, there are a few things you’ll need to look out for to make sure your pet is safe.


Oxalate is a compound found in spinach that can block the body from absorbing nutrients such as calcium. Unfortunately, oxalate does bind with iron which can block its absorption in the body. It is best to feed your gerbil calcium and iron foods separately. High amounts of oxalate can also impact kidney function. 


Spinach like some other veggies and fruits may contain pesticides. While pesticides have become the norm, they remain an unsafe substance that should not be ingested. Side effects of pesticides include stinging eyes, rashes, blisters, blindness, nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea. In some cases, it may even cause death. The best way to avoid this is to source your spinach organically. 

Water Content

Spinach is made up of 93% water which is great for health and keeps the body hydrated. However, your gerbil is accustomed to a dry diet and does not need much water. Your gerbil can experience discomfort or diarrhea if he eats too much spinach, so be sure to feed this in moderation. 


The flavor of spinach does give an indication of its acidity. This only becomes a problem if you overfeed spinach to your pet. The acidity can affect your gerbil’s mouth as he may experience discomfort or even pain if he eats too much. Acidity may also lead to stomach problems as acid tend to affect the delicate lining of the stomach as well. 

side effects spinach

Can Gerbil’s Eat Raw Spinach?

Spinach is an excellent source of nutrition for your gerbil and he can safely eat it in moderation. However, research has shown that it’s much better to eat spinach that is cooked, rather than the raw version.

Can Gerbil’s Eat Cooked Spinach?

Cooked spinach is a bit healthier than raw spinach because the oxalate is broken down and allows for the absorption of calcium and iron. Also, it’s important to note that steamed and sauteed spinach does not lose any nutrients which is a bonus!

Can Gerbils Eat Spinach?

It’s fine to feed your pet gerbil spinach in moderation. If it’s eaten in excess, it could lead to nutritional deficiencies due to the oxalate content in raw spinach. Of course, cooked spinach is better if you’d like to be sure that your pet is absorbing more minerals. However, despite these issues, spinach offers several benefits as it has a robust nutritional profile. So yes, gerbils can eat spinach as part of a healthy diet. 

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