If you unexpectedly run out of food for your gerbils, you will have to give your animals anything you can find in the kitchen. And bread is usually available to everyone. But is bread even suitable for gerbils?
Gerbils can eat bread, but it’s not the healthiest choice. White bread is unhealthy because it contains a lot of salt and sugar, so it should be avoided. Whole wheat or grain bread is better because it contains more vitamins and minerals. However, bread does not meet the nutritional needs of gerbils and should, therefore, be no more than a snack or emergency meal.
By the way, this is also true for most other processed human foods.
If you choose to feed your gerbils bread, do so only occasionally. Otherwise, feed your gerbils a food mix.
Can Gerbils Eat Bread?
Gerbils can eat bread and will eat it if you offer it to them. Gerbils will eat almost anything they are given.
And if they don’t eat it, they at least gnaw on it to sharpen their teeth. So, gerbils eat bread without any significant side effects.
Bread is made from grain, although the type of grain can vary depending on the bread.
In the wild, gerbils eat such grains as part of their regular diet. Thus, cereals and grains are not harmful to gerbils.
However, gerbils should not eat all types of bread. Some breads contain other problematic ingredients that can be toxic.
In the table below, we have compiled what types of bread you can and cannot give your gerbils. Remember, however, that bread should not be a regular meal.
|Type of Bread||Suitable?||Healthy?||Nutritional Info|
|White bread||Yes||No||White bread is made from grains. It is safe but contains too much salt and sugar.|
|Whole-grain bread||Yes||Yes||Whole-grain bread is made from whole-grain flour. This flour is made from whole grain and is therefore better health-wise.|
|Toasted bread||Yes||No||Toasted bread is just as healthy as the bread it is made from. But it is better for your gerbils’ teeth because it is crunchier.|
|Grain bread||Yes||Yes||Similar to whole grain bread, but with added whole grains.|
|Onion bread||No||No||Onions can be toxic to gerbils, so it should be avoided.|
|Tomato bread||Yes||No||Gerbils may eat tomatoes, but they are very acidic. They can cause diarrhea.|
|Garlic bread||No||No||Garlic is toxic to some rodents, including gerbils.|
|Breadsticks||Yes||No||Breadsticks are crunchy, which is good for gerbils’ teeth. However, they are made from white bread high in sugar and salt, which is unhealthy.|
Bread should not be the central part of your gerbils’ diet. Gerbils should eat mainly food mixes that are designed to meet all of your gerbil’s nutritional needs.
You should also especially avoid feeding your gerbils moldy bread.
Do Gerbils Like Bread?
Gerbils will eat almost anything you offer them. And if it’s something inedible, like wood or plastic, they’ll gnaw on it anyway. So if you provide a gerbil bread, it will eat it.
They do seem to like bread, but not more than other foods.
So if you offer your gerbils bread along with other foods, they will not ignore the other foods and only eat the bread.
Gerbils eat bread because it is a nutrient-dense food. While there are many different types of bread, most provide similar amounts of energy. One slice of bread contains about 100 to 150 calories, which is a lot.
Health Benefits of Bread for Gerbils
Bread is made of grains that gerbils eat regularly in the wild. And if you look at the ingredients of gerbil food, you will find that it also contains a lot of grains.
However, bread is not the perfect gerbil food. It also has its disadvantages. The first is that bread is highly processed.
In most breads, most of the grain has been removed. This is the difference between whole wheat bread and regular bread.
White bread also contains many ingredients that you might not expect. For example, it has been bleached to make it bright white.
Can Gerbils Eat White Bread?
White bread, like all breads, is made from grains. These grains are ground and baked with water, creating unleavened bread. People have been baking bread this way for thousands of years.
They may also include additional ingredients such as yeast, oil, baking powder, and leavening agents. With these ingredients, they get something that resembles bread from the store.
The wheat grains used to make white bread are similar to what gerbils eat in the wild. So if you feed your gerbils bread, at least you won’t poison them.
The problem is that when white bread is made, much of the grain is removed. This gives the bread a more profound, almost bitter, and savory taste.
Unfortunately, these parts of the grain contain many nutrients and fiber that are good for both humans and gerbils.
White bread also contains a lot of added salt and sugar. Processed sugar is added to help the yeast and make the bread sweeter. Salt is added to round out the flavor.
The problem is that neither is suitable for gerbils.
Can Gerbils Eat Whole-Grain Bread?
You can buy either white or brown whole-grain bread. White whole-grain bread retains all the grains, but it is still bleached with chemicals to make it lighter.
Brown whole-grain bread is not bleached.
Either way, whole-grain bread is much better. It contains more fiber, which is essential for your gerbil to go to the bathroom regularly.
Also, fiber forces the intestines to work harder because it’s hard to process. This is good for overall gut health.
In addition, whole-grain bread also contains more magnesium. Magnesium is a vital mineral that gerbils consume.
If your gerbils suffer from seizures, which many do, magnesium will make them less frequent and less severe.
Whole-grain bread often has seeds sprinkled on it. Seeds are suitable for gerbils in moderation because of their high fat and protein content. Whole-grain bread crusts with seeds make an excellent gerbil snack.
Can Gerbils Eat Grain Bread?
Grain bread is like whole grain bread. The difference is that it contains additional whole grains that give the bread a distinctive flavor.
Because grain bread is made from whole wheat flour, it is similarly healthy to regular whole wheat bread. The crunchy, toasted crust of grain bread makes a good snack.
Can Gerbils Eat Other Types of Bread?
Of course, there are many more types of bread. There are also toast breads and special breads with additives that are popular for grilling, for example.
Can Gerbils Eat Toast?
Toast bread has the same nutritional value as the bread it is made from. If you toast whole wheat or grain bread, then toasting it will make it even better.
This is because gerbils like crunchy foods. Your gerbils would probably rather eat toasted bread than regular bread.
Can Gerbils Eat Onion Bread?
Onion bread is like regular bread but contains pieces of onion. The bread is usually white but can be of any variety. If you have had pets for any time, you may know that onions can be poisonous.
Onions are not quite as toxic to rodents as to other pets. However, they can still cause onion toxicosis if ingested in large quantities.
Therefore, it is better to avoid feeding onion bread to your gerbils.
Can Gerbils Eat Tomato Bread?
Tomatoes are added early in the baking process as part of the baking mix. Sun-dried tomatoes may also be included in the bread or sprinkled on top.
Tomatoes are not toxic to gerbils. However, it is very acidic. This can damage your gerbil’s digestive system and cause diarrhea.
Since tomato bread is usually white bread, it is best to avoid it.
Can Gerbils Eat Garlic Bread?
Garlic bread should not be fed to your gerbils. The bread itself is regular white bread, so that’s not the problem here.
It is the other ingredient, garlic, that is the problem.
Experts suggest that garlic is bad for rodents. In one experiment, rats were fed garlic extract for ten days. Their livers were damaged as a result.
The study found that the effects of garlic were worse if the rats had fasted before the garlic was administered. When the rats fasted for 24 hours, garlic was even lethal.
It is unclear how this affects gerbils. There are no studies specifically looking at the effect of garlic on gerbils.
However, most studies that refer to rats apply to rodents in general. So it is likely that garlic would also harm your gerbils.
Also, garlic bread is made from white bread. As mentioned earlier, white bread is not an ideal food for gerbils because it contains a lot of sugar and salt.
In short, do not feed your gerbil garlic bread.
Can Gerbils Eat Breadsticks?
Breadsticks are the same as any other bread. The only difference is that the dough is stretched longer and thinner to make it crunchy. For maximum crispness, the sticks are baked at high heat.
Whether breadsticks are suitable for your gerbil depends on the variety you buy. If you get plain bread sticks with no additives, they are fine.
However, many brands are sprinkled with salt, cheese, or spices. It is best not to give your gerbils all of these things.
Regular bread sticks without additives are a good snack because of their texture. Their unique crunchiness is lovely to gerbils that need to grind their teeth.
Gerbils like crunchy food like this.
However, the same problems that apply to white bread also apply to breadsticks. Breadsticks contain a lot of sugar and salt, even if they don’t have a coating.
So again, there are healthier snacks out there.
However, this is true for most types of bread. Bread is generally not the healthiest snack for gerbils.
Seeds and nuts are better snacks for gerbils than bread, so choose those foods instead.