Degus can be quite limited to what they should eat, much more so than other small pets like rats or hamsters.
Some seemingly harmless food can actually cause large issues for degus.
I see lots of people asking whether degus can eat bread, with a bit of conflicting advice.
I’ve done some research on this topic and here’s what I’ve found out about whether degus can eat bread.
Degus should not eat bread. Bread contains sugar and degus are unable to process sugar. This can quickly lead to degus developing diabetes if they eat sugary foods.
Health risks of bread for degus
There may be many health risks for degus eating bread depending on the bread type.
Some types of bread are cooked with all sorts of ingredients that could be bad for a degu, these could be added ingredients or just part of a standard dough, like salt.
But above all, there is one substance that is pretty much impossible to avoid in bread, and that’s sugar.
Sugar is going to have a very bad effect on your degu, let’s look at why.
Diabetes development in degus
This is the largest risk of degus eating sugary foods.
The gastrointestinal tracts of a degu are intolerant to sugar. If they digest too much sugar Degus can quickly develop diabetes.
Degus are very poor at regulating their blood glucose levels and as a result, they can become diabetic very easily.
Therefore, sugary foods of any kind should be avoided.
Sometimes it’s obvious which foods have sugar in them, fruits, for example, are clearly packed with sugar, we all know that.
But for something as harmless as bread, which we don’t really associate with sugar, how risky could it really be?
Sugar content of bread
Pretty much all standard types of bread contain sugar.
That might be surprising, but it is a standard component of bread, and the amounts aren’t even that low either.
For example, an apple is around 10% sugar and we would generally think of an apple as a pretty sugary food right?
Now take a look at the sugar content of some popular bread types:
|Bread type||Sugar %|
White and whole wheat bread generally contain around half the sugar content of an apple.
Pretty amazing right?
I think that’s why there is a little confusion around whether degus should eat bread, people probably don’t realize just how much sugar it contains.
But there is another factor too, one which solidifies the point that degus should not eat bread.
That factor is carbohydrates, so let’s look at that next.
Carbohydrates also get converted to sugar
Not only does bread have quite a bit of sugar in it to begin with, but it is also packed with carbohydrates.
In fact, carbohydrates make up about 50% of most types of bread.
Just take a look at the table below.
|Bread type||Carbohydrate %|
The problem with that is that carbohydrates can get converted into sugar once digested.
That’s bad news for your degu, and it’s really going to increase the risk of them developing diabetes.
So, even though bread might seem harmless enough, and you may even find one with really low sugar content, the ongoing threat of carbohydrates makes them unsuitable for a degu to eat.