Cucumber seems pretty harmless doesn’t it?
Lots of pets love to chow down on some cucumber, I think the mixture of a crunchy texture and juicy flesh is really appealing to many animals.
Degus are quite sensitive about their food, they can’t safely eat as wide a range of food as other small animals like rats.
That’s what I’m going to discuss in this article. Can degus eat cucumber and are there any health benefits or risks you need to know about when giving your degu cucumber?
Degus can eat cucumber and it actually has a number of health benefits for degus. However; cucumber should still be regarded as a treat for your degu and not a subsite for a healthy balanced diet.
Health benefits of cucumber for degus
High water content
Cucumbers are made from around 96% water, that makes them ideal for keeping your degu hydrated on hot days.
It’s also great if your degu is suffering from diarrhea.
If your degu develops diarrhea, feeding them high water content foods like cucumbers along with plenty of water can prevent them from getting dehydrated.
Cucumber contains no fat at all, making it a great choice for a healthy treat.
Your degu can happily eat a cucumber without much risk of any excess weight gain at all.
Antioxidants are believed to reduce the risk of a wide range of diseases, including heart disease and cancers.
Antioxidants do this by reducing the number of free radicals in the body.
Free radicals are atoms that attach themselves to cells in the body.
These cells are then identified as an invader and damaged or destroyed, hence leading to serious diseases.
So the fewer free radicals, the lower the chance of one of these diseases occurring.
Fiber is essential for healthy digestion. It has two categories, soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber helps to control the blood sugar level of the body and aids in ridding the body of fatty substances such as cholesterol.
Insoluble fiber helps to keep the digestive system moving, it will add weight but also softens to your degu’s stools which in turn will help the digestive system to work effectively.
Degus get lots of fiber from their regular diet, so the fiber benefits of cucumber aren’t quite as high as for other pets, but it’s still worth a mention.
This is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with blood clotting.
It also aids bone metabolism and supports the regulation of blood calcium levels.
An important antioxidant, Vitamin C will rid your degu of ‘free radical’ potentially harmful atoms that damage other cells in the body.
As a result Vitamin C helps to protect the body against cell and tissue damage as well as aiding the body to better absorb iron.
It also helps to produce collagen, that’ll lead to more healthy skin and bones.
Potassium helps to control high blood pressure.
This helps to maintain a healthy heart and good blood pressure, putting less strain on the body as a whole.
Potassium has also been shown to support bone and muscle strength as the body ages.
We’ve already talked about antioxidants, well, manganese helps to form antioxidants.
As mentioned above, antioxidants can help to rid the body of harmful free radicals.
Manganese also helps to support good bone health, working with nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D.
Health risks of cucumber for degus
Not a substitute for a balanced diet
Cucumbers are genrally a pretty good treat for a degu but you shouldn’t feed them too much.
If you do, it could stop your degu from either their normal daily food, as they will be full up on cucumber!
Cucumber should be seen as a treat and not a substitute for a balanced diet.
Be sure to only feed your degu a small amount of cucumber as an infrequent treat.
They wouldn’t eat cucumbers every day in the wild so it won’t be good for them as a pet either.
Can degus eat cucumber skin
Cucumber skin is perfectly safe for degus to eat and it actually contains a higher amount of nutrients than the inside of a cucumber.
It’s got more fiber too which degus need plenty of.
But just like the rest of the cucumber, the skin should be regarded as a treat, not as a regular part of a degus daily diet.
But when you’re treating them, you can leave the cucumber skin on.
Can degus eat cucumber seeds
Degus can eat cucumber seeds.
Just like the skin, the seeds contain more nutrients than the rest of the cucumber.
They also contain more fiber and there’s no problem at all with your degu eating the seeds as well.
Agian, the only warning is to use cucumber occasionally as a treat, not as part of a daily diet.
Speaking about how much cucumber your degu should eat, let’s look at that next.
How much cucumber can a pet degu eat
Cucumber should be regarded as a treat for your degu.
I would recommend feeding your degu no more than 1 inch (2.5 cm) of cucumber every week, assuming they aren’t having other treats in between.
I’d also recommend not giving them that amount all at once, cut the cucumber up into pieces and feed it to them every couple of days or so, just keep the total amount under the 1 inch per week I’ve stated above.
Watch out of fresh food rotting
As with any fresh food, you need to pay attention to what your degu does with the cucumber if you’re giving it to them in their cage.
If they leave some of the cucumber for more than 10 minutes then they are probably full or just not interested, you should remove it from the cage so it does rot and spoil which could be a danger to their health.
You also need to be aware of your Degu moving the food and hoarding cucumber.
Watch to see if they eat the food, otherwise you might come to find a pile of rotting food hidden under their bedding when you’re cleaning out the cage.
Degus are known to hide food so just make sure they are actually eating it!
A final note – All degus are different
You should still remember that some degus will find certain food more difficult to stomach than other degus.
Some degus may struggle to digest certain foods, especially older degus.
Wherever feeding your degu a new food, including cucumber, always watch them for a day or so for any signs of digestive issues.
Digestive issues can be hard to spot in degus, but noticeable things could be diarrhea or a sharp reduction in activity levels.
If you notice any unusual symptoms or behavior it’s probably worth not feeding your degu cucumber again and trying a different treat, their stomach just might not agree with it.