We all cherish having pets of all kinds and Gerbils surely make very charming ones. They’re adorable, they’re fussy, but they are a little clumsy and challenging to take care of, and can be at times confusing as well. The obligations that come with bringing home a Gerbil is evident of their meticulous needs of diet, temperature, housing, and exercise. This, however, does not mean they are not a great addition to one’s house, as they make great pets and they do develop a bond with their owners.
They are energetic and playful creatures that can entertain themselves. Adding knick-knacks like a running wheel can make them happy. They love to run around and gnaw on things. Feeding time for them can also be a fun activity if you spread around the food in their cage. They will scourge for it and eat it.
Keeping gerbil as a pet might be a fun experience, but it is also important to know their dietary needs for them to live a healthy life. And as their caretaker, you must know which foods to pick up for them and which ones to avoid.
If you are here to see if olives are something you should be adding to your diet, you have come to the right place.
What Are A Gerbil’s Dietary Needs?
A Gerbil, which is an omnivorous animal; one which surely requires a healthy and well-balanced diet of a combination of various nutrients regularly. Like every other domestic animal, their necessity is liquid water. An ample amount of clean fresh water is essential to keep your Gerbil’s body in a healthy state as it is needed in almost all bodily functions to thrive. Fibers, Proteins, Vitamins, and Minerals are also vital to maintain them in their prime state. Normally, you would not have to switch to anything else than the snacks from the Pet Store designed for your pet (make sure you give them the right dosage). However, you can now and then treat your pet with some delicacies for them to be happy. These can range from fruits like apples, pears, oranges, and melons; and vegetables such as carrot, pumpkin, and fennel, to seeds and grains, in closely monitored quantities.
Additionally, Fibers are especially necessary for their digestive motility, as it ensures a healthy and smooth digestive system, just like they have in their natural habitat. One thing though you can check off their diet list is Fats, which is not something Gerbils can consume in more than minuscule amounts for reasons this article will discuss in more depth at a later point. This brings us to the question at hand:
Can Gerbils Eat Olives?
Olives are fruits with a bitter flesh, enclosing a hard seed inside with a distinctive green color when unripe. To answer the question appropriately of whether your Gerbil can consume Olives, let us take a look at the nutritional value/contents of this fruit to have an elaborative analysis.
- Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 ounces):-
- Total Energy: 609 kJ (146 kcal)
- Carbohydrates: 3.84 g, with 0.54 g being sugars
- Dietary fiber: 3.3 g
- Fats:15.32 g (Saturated 2.029 g; Monounsaturated 11.314 g; Polyunsaturated 1.307 g)
- Protein: 1.03 g
- Traces of Vitamin B complexes and Vitamin K and a high proportion of Vitamin E
- Minerals: Calcium (5%) 52 mg; Iron (4%) 0.49 mg; Magnesium (3%) 11 mg; Phosphorus (1%) 4 mg; Potassium (1%) 42 mg
As we can observe Olives contain some beneficial nutrients like Proteins and Vitamins that can supplement your Gerbil’s diet as they are important for their daily requirement, but this is completely overshadowed by the fact that it bears a high proportion of fats and salts. High-fat content is extremely unhealthy for your little pet gerbil. The fats will cause your gerbil to gain unhealthy weight and cause more health problems.
The amount of salt can also dehydrate your pet gerbil which is a potential health risk.
So, we can say it is best to avoid these fruits in your Gerbil’s daily diet. You don’t want your pet gerbil’s delicate digestive system to be damaged.
Why is it unhealthy?
As discussed earlier, Gerbils do NOT require fats as they can cause obesity and health issues in the animal. Gerbils cannot tolerate a lot of fat in their diet like us as they are severely prone to obesity. Furthermore, Olives undoubtedly contain a high density of various minerals. Whilst under normal circumstances, minerals are needed for a healthy lifestyle, their presence in excess in the food intake can be detrimental. The excess amount of minerals can strain the kidneys of these fragile animals and can cause them to overwork themselves and end up adversely affecting the animal and its life span. Apart from all of this, Olives are containing a lot of moisture, meaning their high-water content poses a different problem towards their digestive tract. High moisture content in any food they consume is to be evaded as it can make their digestive system upset, this is why the pet store snacks you buy for them are in the form of dry pellets.
It is recommended to get the food mixes specifically made for your pet gerbil. These are available in any pet store and provide all the nutrients your pet gerbil might need. Sometimes, some problems may arise regarding a specific diet and you might want to change it. It is hard for gerbils to switch to a different diet. Consulting the pet store on what they fed the gerbil, might help them understand what to feed them. Should it be needed to change their diet, it must be done gradually and slowly. Getting a professional opinion while making diet changes is necessary to not disturb their little delicate digestive system.
How to feed them Olives?
As mentioned earlier it is not advised to feed your Gerbils olives, but if you must, you should not provide them with olives more than once every two weeks, because as discussed earlier a frequent dosage of this treat will be a causality of all the various health issues they can develop (as we discussed previously). Moreover, the portion or serving size should not be more than 1 teaspoon. These are the advised guidance you should follow when feeding your Gerbil any fresh fruits like Olives, especially since they are high in moisture and can upset their stomach and digestive tracts.
Can you feed them any alternative fruit?
When it comes to Olives, the answer is negative, but it does not mean your Gerbil can not process any fresh fruits. There is a range of fruits they can enjoy as a treat including the fruits mentioned earlier like apples, pear, melons, and oranges. These can be a once a fortnight treat for your beloved pet to cater to their cravings. Whilst this is a great alternative, you still have to follow the 1 teaspoon portion size limit to make sure it does not cause any irregularity in their life cycle.
These fruits can be a treat for your gerbil but only in a moderate amount. Too much fruit can cause health problems like obesity, which can and will lead to further health risks. In making sure your pet gerbil is not being overfed, you can check their weight and if their energy levels are down.
With all the knowledge and analysis we have done, you must avoid feeding your Gerbil any type of Olives. To further summarize and strengthen the result, here follows a summary of the health risks that feeding this fruit poses to your gerbil.
- Upsetting of the Digestive Tract due to excess moisture
- Kidney Failures/Problems due to high mineral content which strains the kidneys into filtering a higher than normal amount of salt and minerals from the blood of the animal.
- Obesity can be very prevalent in domesticated Gerbils if their diet and exercise are not controlled. The high amount of fat in Olives is one of the significant reasons why it can cause Obesity in your Gerbils. Obesity can also affect the lifespan of your Gerbil by around 2 months, and as they don’t live long this is a significant time a pet owner would not want to lose
- Heart Failures is also a possibility as it can be caused by blood clots, blockages, spasms etcetera. Blood clots can be formed due to excess obesity and fat disposal.
In the end, we can say our conclusion is derived from a proper data analysis and is accurate enough for an educated deduction for someone in possession of a Gerbil, to assist them in making sure they can be a better pet owner, both, for the sake of themselves and their pet.
Still, if there are any concerns that you might have regarding your pet’s diet, it is always important to contact a veterinarian and get a professional opinion on any specific diet problems your pet gerbil might have.