Gerbils are tiny creatures that are capable of providing such large amounts of entertainment and enjoyment in your life. Because of the joy that they bring, it makes sense that you’d want to provide your gerbil with the best life possible and ensure their well-being. One of the most influential aspects in a gerbil’s health is their diet. The food that your gerbil eats determines its energy, weight, and happiness, so providing your gerbil with the best gerbil food available is a key to successful ownership!
Below, we’ve covered exactly what you should be looking for in a food to feed to your gerbil. Additionally, we’ve compiled and reviewed the 5 best gerbil foods available today to take the guesswork out of ensuring your gerbil is well cared-for.
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OUR #1 RATED
OxbowAnimal Health Gerbil Fortified Food
Pellets that are nutritionally-balanced and supply gerbils with many essential nutrients while also being delicious.
Supreme Pet Foods
Tiny Friends Farm Gerri Gerbil Food
A delicious mixture of several quality, nutritional ingredients without added sugars or fillers.
OxbowGarden Select Gerbil Food
A pellet food that’s made with all-natural ingredients with great flavors and excellent nutritional values.
SunseedVita Prima Sunscription Gerbil Food
A high-variety mixed food that has great nutritional content and is available for an excellent value.
HigginsSunburst Gourmet Food Mix
A very healthy seed and nut blend that tastes great and provides many essential vitamins and minerals.
What Do Gerbils Eat In The Wild?
In order to find the best possible food for your gerbil, you first need to know what gerbils naturally eat in the wild. Gerbils have only been kept as pets for a short amount of time, so this means that they’ve been roaming free throughout Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East for thousands of years! During that time, gerbils would eat roughly the same foods, resulting in their digestive systems becoming fine-tuned to handle those specific foods.
This is why you’ll frequently hear that you need to match your gerbil’s diet to what they’d eat in the wild — it’s what their bodies are optimized for!
While gerbils are classified as omnivores, they consume a diet that very closely resembles that of an herbivore with a few minor exceptions. This classification means that gerbils are able to eat a wide variety of different foods to get their required nutrients, with most of these foods being plant matter. Therefore, gerbils get most of their nutrients through eating a mixture of grains, fruits, vegetables, and seeds.
While living in the wild, gerbils scavenge for their food, eating mostly anything that they happen to come across. The specific diet of a gerbil varies depending on the region that it’s in, but the same general trends are quite apparent. A gerbil’s diet is primarily made up of fruits, nuts, seeds, grasses, roots, bulbs, insects, and eggs.
Seed vs. Pellet Gerbil Food
A gerbil can theoretically live a totally healthy life on either pellet food or mixed seed food with a few fruits and veggies thrown in to either diet. However, there are certain drawbacks to both kinds of foods that are more or less dealt with when combining both foods in a healthy way. To better understand what you should be feeding your gerbil, we’ll review the perks and drawbacks of each kind of food.
Pellet gerbil foods tend to be fantastic, and that’s why they’re rated very highly in our list. Pellet food is very consistent, meaning that you know exactly what nutrients your gerbil is getting based off of how much food that they eat. This consistency also works to combat selective feeding, which is when a gerbil opts to only eat certain foods out of their bowl. A downside to this food is that it it’s quite monotonous and boring, therefore not inspiring foraging.
Seed mixes for gerbils are great in the sense that they’re very diverse. This diversity helps to keep meal time tasty and interesting for gerbils, which is definitely a plus. However, these foods are prone to selective feeding, meaning that a gerbil may only eat half of a bag’s contents and reject the other half. Additionally, some seed mixes can be unhealthy depending on the contents.
Combining the two foods ensures that your gerbil is getting great nutrients through the pellets and also staying engaged and getting some diversity through the mixed seeds. It’s necessary to watch your gerbil’s reaction to the foods initially so that you can adjust what you’re feeding them accordingly.
How To Properly Feed Your Gerbil
There is a bit of disagreement among gerbil owners about the best way to feed them. Some owners state that a gerbil should be fed in the evening because it’s the time that they’re most active. Others simply feed their gerbils in the morning when they wake up and plan it so that the gerbils run out of food just before the next refill.
Remember that in the wild gerbils are constantly scavenging around for food and aren’t sure when they’ll get their next meal. This results in gerbils having a tendency to hoard their food. In captivity, even with a steady supply of food, gerbils will stash their food away and return to the stash to eat whenever they’re hungry. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that you’re providing your gerbil with enough food to hoard and eat comfortably.
It is possible to lose track of the food that you’re feeding your gerbil, though. Make sure that you’re keeping tabs on the supply and cleaning it regularly so that your gerbil’s stash doesn’t have time to rot. Gerbils need to eat around 10-15 grams of food throughout each day, but make sure to monitor your gerbil’s weight to adjust that number accordingly.
One factor to note is that a single food won’t be nutritionally-complete for your gerbil. Therefore, in order to ensure that your gerbil is getting a complete diet, you’ll need to supplement their diet with other foods. These can include vegetables, fruits, nuts, and special protein blocks.
What Defines The Best Gerbil Food?
Gerbils have specific dietary needs that need to be met through the food that you give them. Despite their requirements being well-known, quite a few gerbil foods don’t meet those needs. Therefore, when you’re choosing a gerbil food, you need to be sure that it has these characteristics:
- Nutrition – The nutritional content of your gerbil’s food is definitely the most important factor to consider. A gerbil needs a food that’s around 15-18% protein, 7-9% fat, and around 5% fiber. If you find that a food’s protein content is too low or that its fat content is too high, you should supplement it with small amounts of fresh fruit or veggies and treats. On top of this, avoid gerbil foods that have added sugars or dyes.
- Brand – While brand isn’t everything, it is certainly something to consdier when purchasing gerbil food. Cheaper gerbil food that’s made by an unknown brand is usually cheaper because of the lack of quality ingredients and the presence of fillers. Reputable brands have spent a lot longer perfecting their recipe and have a lot more to lose if their food is seen as poor quality.
- Flavor – Despite the fact that gerbils are small creatures, they still have taste buds. This means that they can taste their food and determine whether they like it or not! Therefore, you’ll want to read the reviews left by owners regarding how their gerbils responded to a food. It also helps to start with small quantities of a food to ensure that your gerbil likes it.
- Form – Form is also one of those smaller details that needs to be considered!gerbils need a food that’s hard in order to keep their teeth the proper length and their jaws healthy. Soft food won’t work these areas, so gerbils will need to supplement their chewing with other things (frequently their cage!).
- Aroma – Gerbils do have a decent sense of smell, meaning that a food’s aroma is a factor that you need to consider. While a bad-smelling food usually won’t put off a gerbil entirely, it definitely won’t help a picky eater enjoy their meal.
- Life stage – A final thing to consider is how old your gerbil is, as gerbils have different nutritional needs at different ages. The best gerbil food for younger gerbils is generally a bit higher in protein as they need it to help them grow.
What Is The Best Gerbil Food?
We’ve done a lot of research by looking at all of the gerbil food available today, taking into account factors such as the price per pound, quality of ingredients, and the reaction of gerbils themselves to the food. By doing this, we’ve found the 5 best gerbil food options that you should be feeding your gerbil.
It’s important to remember that every gerbil is different. So, while there is a very good chance that your gerbil will like the foods listed below, there’s also a chance that they may reject them — especially if they’re already used to another food.
our #1 rated
OUR TOP PICK
Animal Health Gerbil Fortified Food
Oxbow is easily one of the most popular and trusted pet food manufacturers, and it’s pretty clear why that’s the case. This hamster and gerbil food is easily one of the best foods that you can provide for your gerbil. With protein content around 15%, fat at 4.5%, and fiber between 10-15%, it’s a food that excellently fulfills the specific dietary requirements of a gerbil. The pellet design is great as it works to prevent selective feeding and wasted food by providing a consistent food for gerbils. While the look of the pellet isn’t very inspiring, it still has a great taste that most gerbils love. The hard texture is also great as it helps gerbils keep their teeth filed down. When fed correctly, this food provides gerbils with an excellent staple in their diet.
Gerbils owners that use these pellets as a staple in their gerbils’ diets are more than happy with it. Most owners state that their gerbils rarely leave any of this food in their bowls, having no problem eating a healthy amount. Additionally, gerbils that eat these pellets have noticeably more energy and a healthier coat. These benefits have resulted in owners feeding these pellets to their gerbils for many years.
The main downside to this food is that it’s a pellet food, meaning that it’s quite boring. Despite this uniformity, gerbil owners state that their gerbils have absolutely no problem with it — especially when it’s supplemented with fruits and veggies.
- Very appealing taste
- Nutritionally-dense with healthy vitamins
- No sugary fruits or fatty nuts
- A bit boring and less engaging
our #2 rated
Supreme Pet Foods
Tiny Friends Farm Gerri Gerbil Food
Supreme Pet Foods makes some fantastic mixed foods for rodents, and this is no exception. This mix is nutritionally-balanced and tastes excellent with absolutely no added sugar. Nutritionally, the mixture has 16% protein, 5% fat, and 6% fiber, making it an excellent addition to a standard pellet diet. The large amount of ingredients helps to encourage foraging in your gerbil, and the diverse textures keep mealtime interesting and promote healthy teeth. Additionally, there’s added linseed for a healthier skin and coat to help your gerbil look better on the outside, too.
Most gerbil owners have great experiences with this food, saying that their gerbils love to eat it. Those enthusiastic gerbils are commonly seen with more energy and a noticeably better coat. When combined with pellets, this mixture really rounds out a gerbil’s nutrition through its diverse ingredients. A couple owners also opt to remove some of the seeds and use them as an occasional snack.
While a majority of gerbils like this food, a couple of owners have seen their gerbils reject it entirely. This is likely due to them being used to their old food, but it’s still an issue nonetheless. Some gerbils also pick out their favorite pieces and leave the rest alone, but this is also fairly uncommon.
- Good nutritonal content
- Made with quality ingredients
- No added fillers or sugar
- Can promote selective eating
our #3 rated
Garden Select Gerbil Food
This is the second Oxbow food on this list, providing an alternative to the previously mentioned food. These pellets boast 16% protein, 2.5% fat, and fiber around 18-23% which is also right in the wheelhouse for a healthy gerbil diet. The ingredients in this food were picked to mimic the diet of a wild hamster and provide great macro-nutrients through yellow pea, tomato, and rosemary. The approach to holistic ingredients makes this food very healthy and wholesome while also tasting great and giving gerbils all of the nutrients that they need.
Gerbil owners that went with this food are quite happy with their choice, stating that their gerbils love it. A majority of gerbils that are given this food have no problem eating it and actually choose it over other foods. As necessary, most owners supplement this food with other treats, but not a lot of supplementation is necessary to ensure that your gerbil is getting enough nutritional value.
A downside to this food lies in the actual structure of it. A couple gerbil owners note that the structure is a bit crumbly and can result in a portion of the bag being unusable or ineffective at wearing down a gerbil’s teeth. Other that structural problem, this is a great food that lacks other apparent flaws.
- Garden-fresh ingredients
- Excellent nutritional value
- Tastes great
- Crumbly texture
our #4 rated
Vita Prima Sunscription Gerbil Food
If you’re opting to take the route of combining pellet food with a mixed food, you won’t find a much better mix than this one by Sunseed. This mixture has 13% protein, 4% fat, and 14% fiber, making it a healthy option when combined with a high-protein pellet food. The grain-based formula also contains pellets, seeds, vegetables, and a plethora of essential nutrients that gerbils need to be happy and healthy. While there are quite a few different pieces in this mixture, they’re all high quality and beloved by gerbils. It’s also fortified with omega-3s, DHA, and probiotics to round out the total nutrition that it brings to the table.
It’s hard to find a gerbil owner that doesn’t like this food. Many owners state that it’s the only food that their gerbil will eat, while others say that they love how it rounds out the nutrition of pellet foods. Regardless, the texture is great to promote good dental health and the protein level is optimal to where it’s not an overwhelming amount but is still wholesome.
A downside to this food, which is a problem that nearly every mixed food experiences, is that it can promote selective feeding in gerbils. One or two owners have noted that their gerbils will eat mostly everything in the mix, but not entirely. This depends on your individual gerbil, but keep this possibility in mind. Most owners don’t have this problem when they’re properly feeding this food, though.
- High-variety blended diet
- Contains omega 3s, DHA, and probiotics
- Great taste
- Not every part of the mix is optimal
our #5 rated
Sunburst Gourmet Food Mix
The Sunburst Gourmet Food Mix is a mixed food that refuses to live up to the negative stereotypes of mixed gerbil foods. This mixture has 14% protein, 7% fat, and 9.5% fiber which makes it a great food to feed in addition to a low-fat pellet. Unlike most mixed foods available, this one keeps the fillers to a minimum, opting to provide more seeds and fruit bits. The mixture is also air-washed in an effort to reduce dust, and overall it’s packed with healthy vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
If an owner feeds their gerbil this food, they say that it’s the best mixed food available. While there certainly are cheaper foods available, this is one that’s actually healthy and provides nutrients that are needed by gerbils to grow. Most gerbils eat every piece of food in this mix, proving that the ingredients are still tasty despite being nutritious. When mixed with a healthy pellet food and supplemented with treats, this mix really rounds out a gerbil’s diet.
A downside to mixed food is that it can result in selective feeding, and unfortunately this food is not entirely immune. Some gerbils actively avoid the pellets that are in this mix, while others have no problem eating everything. In the end, it’s up to your gerbil to determine whether or not they like all the ingredients. Supplementation with an Oxbow pellet does tend to solve this issue, though.
- No fillers added
- Mostly seeds and fruit bits
- Good nutritional benefits
- Not the best for picky gerbils
- Lower protein content
Every food that’s been reviewed here is more than suitable for your gerbil and contains all of the essential nutrients that they need to live a happy and healthy life. While every gerbil is different in their tastes, there’s a very good chance that your gerbil will thrive off of any of the foods listed above.After analyzing all of the gerbil food available on the market, we’ve determined that the best gerbil food is Oxbow Animal Health Fortified Food.This well-priced gerbil food has been created specifically for gerbils by one of the leading pet food manufacturers, and the quality really shows. These pellets are nutritionally-packed and taste great to gerbils. When combined with one of the mixed food, these Oxbow pellets provide your gerbil with excellent nutrients and a diverse selection of ingredients.