What Kind of Cheese Can Gerbils Eat?

A gerbil surrounded by different types of cheese. The picture is for the article; What types of cheese can a gerbil eat.

Have you ever wondered, with all the cheese varieties out there, which kind is safe for your tiny gerbil friend? It’s a valid curiosity, especially considering the potential dietary restrictions of these small, sensitive creatures.

As you’re probably aware, gerbils are lactose intolerant once they are weaned, leading many to wonder if cheese, a dairy product, is acceptable for them at all. Well, the answer is a bit more complex than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

But don’t worry, we’re about to unravel these complexities, helping you understand what types of cheese can be safely given to your gerbil and in what quantities.

So, are you ready to explore the world of cheese from a gerbil’s perspective?

Key Takeaways

  • Aged cheeses like cheddar, parmesan, Swiss, cottage cheese, and ricotta are safe for gerbils.
  • Aged cheeses have lower lactose levels, benefiting lactose-intolerant gerbils.
  • Cheese should be given to gerbils sparingly, limiting feeding to once a week to prevent obesity and digestive problems.
  • Monitoring a gerbil’s weight and health when introducing cheese into their diet is important.

Cheese Varieties Safe for Gerbils

While gerbils are naturally lactose intolerant once weaned, they can enjoy a variety of aged cheeses like cheddar, parmesan, Swiss, cottage cheese, and ricotta, which are low in lactose due to the breakdown of lactose during the ageing process. These cheeses, rich in protein and fat, make for an appealing snack for your gerbil. However, it’s crucial to remember moderation, as their lactose intolerance still exists.

You might be thinking, ‘Cheese as a treat? Really?’ Absolutely, but it’s not a main meal. A balanced diet for gerbils includes fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Cheese is just a high-value snack, a little something extra for them to enjoy.

Now, it’s your responsibility to monitor your gerbil for any digestive issues closely. Even with these low-lactose cheeses, some gerbils might still have a hard time digesting them. Additionally, always ensure the cheese you provide is fresh and natural. Moldy or processed cheese can harm your gerbil. Serving others, including our furry friends, requires attentiveness and care.

Cheese can be a delightful treat for your gerbil, just make sure it’s safe and suitable.

Nutritional Value of Cheese

Having understood the types of cheese suitable for gerbils, let’s now get into the specifics of the nutritional value these cheeses can offer to your tiny friend.

  1. High in Fat and Protein: Cheese is packed with fat and protein, nutrients that are essential for your gerbil’s health and energy. This makes cheese a substantial food source, albeit one that should be fed sparingly.
  2. Lower Lactose in Aged Cheeses: Aged cheeses, like cheddar, have lower lactose levels, which is beneficial for lactose-intolerant gerbils. They can enjoy the taste and benefits of cheese without the digestive discomfort.
  3. Risk of Overconsumption: While nutritious, cheese should be fed in moderation. Too much can lead to obesity and digestive issues in gerbils. It’s all about balance in their diet.
  4. Alternative Nutritious Snacks: Don’t forget about other nutritious snacks like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. These are healthy options that can balance out the rich cheese treats.

Cheese Feeding Frequency and Quantity

Navigating the cheese feeding routine for your gerbil isn’t as tricky as it might sound, provided you remember to offer small, occasional cheese treats rather than making it a regular part of their diet. Gerbils, like many other small animals, are lactose intolerant, meaning cheese should be given in moderation. Too much can lead to digestive discomfort or even serious health issues.

The key to safely feeding your gerbil cheese is to limit it to once a week. This helps prevent obesity and other digestive problems. The amount also matters, so only give your gerbil a small portion. If you’re unsure of how much to give, consult your vet for guidance.

It’s equally important to monitor your gerbil’s weight and health when introducing cheese into the diet. If you notice any negative changes, it’s best to stop cheese feeding and consult a vet. Also remember, the freshness of the cheese is crucial. Always remove any leftovers to prevent bacterial contamination.

With these considerations in mind, you can safely offer your gerbil a cheesy treat without risking their health.

Risks of Feeding Gerbils Cheese

Despite the potential for a tasty treat, introducing cheese into your gerbil’s diet isn’t without its risks. While cheese can be a source of protein and fat, it may not be the healthiest choice for your little friend.

There are several factors you need to consider before you give cheese to your gerbil.

  1. Lactose Intolerance: After weaning, gerbils become lactose intolerant. Consuming cheese could lead to digestive issues such as bloating, pain, and even diarrhoea.
  2. Nutritional Imbalance: Cheese is high in fat and protein but lacks sufficient carbohydrates. Overfeeding can result in obesity, so moderation is key.
  3. Digestive Problems: Cheese, especially in lactose-intolerant gerbils, can lead to stomach disorders like flatulence, cramps, bloating, and nausea.
  4. Mould Contamination: Gerbils are known to hoard food. Small quantities of cheese are essential to avoid mould growth, which can be harmful.

Regularly feeding cheese can lead to weight gain and health issues. Monitoring your gerbil’s weight and overall health is of utmost importance. Remember, your gerbil’s welfare is your responsibility. Make wise choices for their diet.

Alternative Treats for Gerbils

To cater to your gerbil’s dietary needs without causing harm, consider healthier alternatives like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and use cheese sparingly as a treat. Gerbils are naturally omnivorous and will eat a wide variety of foods, but their systems can’t handle large amounts of lactose.

Offering small pieces of apple, carrot, or broccoli can be a great way to provide the necessary vitamins and fibre. Nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, can be given in moderation as they’re high in fats. Always ensure these treats are unsalted and unseasoned.

As for cheese, opt for aged varieties like cheddar. The ageing process reduces lactose content, making it easier for your gerbil to digest. However, remember to feed cheese only occasionally, as it’s still high in fat and can cause weight gain if given too frequently.

It’s essential to monitor your gerbil’s diet closely. In the wild, they’d eat almost anything due to limited food availability. In captivity, it’s our responsibility to ensure they receive well-balanced, nutritious meals. Offering a wide variety of safe, healthy treats will keep your gerbil happy, healthy, and thriving.


In conclusion, while your gerbil can enjoy a nibble of certain cheeses like cheddar, it’s vital to limit this treat due to their lactose intolerance.

Always observe moderation and prioritize healthier alternatives like fruits, veggies, and seeds. These snacks provide a balanced diet, ensuring your furry friend stays happy and healthy.

Remember, cheese isn’t a main course for gerbils, but an occasional indulgence.

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