Protein should be an important part of a gerbil’s diet.
But what are good sources of protein?
Insects are an obvious choice. Not all keepers necessarily have yogurt on the screen.
In this article you will learn if gerbils are allowed to eat yogurt and what is important to keep in mind. We also reveal 3 other excellent sources of protein.
Can gerbils eat yogurt?
Yes, your gerbils can eat yogurt – but only if it is unsweetened and lactose-free. If you pay attention to these two criteria, yogurt is an excellent source of protein and a tasty snack for your gerbils.
Yogurt is especially good for overweight gerbils because it is very low in fat and therefore comparatively low in calories.
These are the advantages of yogurt for gerbils
Yogurt naturally provides a lot of protein and has a relatively low fat content.
If you think it’s gross to feed your gerbils insects – which should actually be part of the diet – then yogurt is a very good alternative.
However, do not overdo it with the amount and especially do not feed your gerbils yogurt every day.
It is best to use organic yogurt and feed it at most once a week, or better yet once a month.
You can also add small pieces of apple or other fruit to the yogurt to make the snack even tastier.
From the portion point of view, it is good if you feed no more than one bottle cap full of yogurt per gerbil.
Risks of yogurt for gerbils
If you follow the tips above, yogurt should not harm your gerbils in any way.
However, you may make a mistake and accidentally feed your gerbils sweetened yogurt as a result.
The high sugar content will make your gerbils get fat faster, but otherwise there will be no problems as long as you feed only a little of the sweetened yogurt.
However, it is certainly no longer healthy!
Since gerbils are naturally lactose intolerant, lactose-containing yogurt can cause digestive problems.
So it is possible that your gerbil has to fight with abdominal pain and/or diarrhea after consumption.
Therefore, make sure that the yogurt really does not contain lactose to spare your pets these problems.
Of course, some gerbils may be more sensitive than others and may not tolerate unsweetened or lactose-free yogurt.
In this case, it is advisable to remove yogurt from the animals’ diet and look for alternatives – mealworms, for example, are very healthy for gerbils and provide plenty of protein.
At the end of this article you will find three alternatives that can also provide animal protein on the menu of your gerbils.
Which yogurt is best for gerbils?
A high-quality organic natural yogurt without any additives is best for feeding.
If this is out of stock, you can also choose organic low-fat quark, which has the same advantages and is also well tolerated by gerbils.
However, make sure that it is free of sugar and lactose! Another alternative is Skyr, but also here it is important to pay attention to the criteria mentioned.
Since the digestive tract of gerbils is very sensitive, it is a good idea to do a little tasting yourself before feeding the yogurt to make sure it is still good.
Do a smell test, look at the consistency, and try a small spoonful if the smell and appearance are normal.
Yogurt feeding tips
Yogurt may or may not be on gerbils’ diets. If you like to feed your gerbils yogurt every now and then, you should start with small amounts and slowly increase the portions.
This way the digestive system can get used to the yogurt and the negative effects will be limited if your gerbil does not tolerate the yogurt at all.
3 other healthy protein sources for your gerbils
- mealworms and crickets
Mealworms and crickets are very healthy for your gerbils and rich in valuable protein.
However, feeder insects also have a rather high calorie content and are therefore rather poorly suited for overweight gerbils.
A healthy, normal-weight gerbil, however, will be very happy about one or the other insect!
Crickets, mealworms and other insects or larvae can be fed two to three times a week, as long as your animals do not gain weight.
- hard boiled eggs
Boiled eggs are also very healthy for your racers in moderation – provided that the egg is really well cooked.
Especially the yolk is rich in protein and many gerbils love the taste of eggs.
So offer your animals a little bit of egg and see how they react to it.
If they like it, you can feed them a piece of egg the size of a thumbnail once a week.
- hard cheese (lactose-free!)
Hard cheese is a healthy treat for your gerbil in smaller amounts.
There is a lot of fat in cheese, which is why it makes you fat quickly and can also lead to digestive problems if it is fed in too large quantities.
Again, make sure you only feed a thumbnail-sized piece about once a week.
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