When it comes to what we can feed our pets, it isn’t always obvious.
Degus are herbivores and there are some things they absolutely should not eat.
But how about dandelions? You may have heard dandelions are ok for some pets to eat.
Can degus eat dandelions? Are there any health benefits to degus eating dandelions and will they enjoy them?
Degus can eat dandelions. They are safe to eat and provide many health benefits. However, dandelions should be regarded as a treat and not the main part of a degus daily diet.
That’s the quick and simple answer, but for those of you with a little more interest in the benefits of dandelions, and how much your degus should eat I’ve provided plenty of detail below.
Health benefits of dandelions for degus
Dandelions are absolutely packed with nutrients and vitamins, let’s take a look at which feature in dandelions and their benefits for your degu.
Vitamin A is the vitamin in carrots that your parents said would help you to see in the dark.
There’s actually a lot of truth in that, vitamin A does support good eyesight, and a vitamin A deficiency can result in ‘night blindness’.
It also helps to support a healthy immune system and is involved in the production and function of white blood cells.
White blood cells help to capture bacteria and other pathogens in the bloodstream.
On top of that, vitamin A works along with vitamin D (which is also found in dandelions), protein and calcium to help maintain strong bones, allowing for proper growth and development.
This vitamin will help to regulate your degu’s metabolism and energy use.
It also helps aid red blood cells, nervous system function and immune response.
An important antioxidant, vitamin C will rid your gerbil of ‘free radical’ potentially harmful atoms that damage other cells in the body.
It also helps to reduce inflammation and maintains cognitive function.
You probably know vitamin D as the one which we absorb from the sun.
That ture, but it’s also found in lots of foods. That’s especially important for fur covered animals like degus.
Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining strong and healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
This is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with blood clotting.
It also aids bone metabolism and supports the regulation of blood calcium levels.
This is a mineral that works alongside calcium to help maintain strong bones and teeth.
This mineral is vital for the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin.
Those, in turn, are responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
Manganese helps to form antioxidants. These, in turn, can help to rid the body of harmful ‘free radicals’.
Free radicals are isolated atoms that bind themselves to cells in the body. The body then treats this cell as an invader and it is damaged or destroyed.
That can lead to a whale host of health issues and even cancer.
Manganese also helps to support good bone health, working with nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D.
Can degus eat dandelion flowers
Degus can eat dandelion flowers.
The petals and leaves are perfectly safe for degus to eat and act as a natural treat for them.
They have plenty of health benefits and you can either use wild dandelions or often you will find packs of dried dandelions online or in pet stores.
Can degus eat dandelion stems
Degus can eat dandelion stems but they do not contain as much nutrients as the flower and leaves.
The stems may also be a little more difficult for your degu to digest.
So whilst your degu will be perfectly fine eating the stem, it may be best to remove it and just give the flower and leaves instead.
Are dandelions a good treat for a degu
Dandelions make a great treat for a degu.
They are a natural treat with lots of health benefits, which I’ve listed above.
Degus tend to love the flavor of dandelions and will happily eat them, without the risks of fat, sugar or salt that you might find in other commercial pet treats.
How many dandelions can a degu eat
Whilst dandelions have lots of health benefits for degus they should still only be regarded as a treat and not as part of a standard daily diet.
I would recommend only giving your degu a maximum of two dandelions a week as a treat.
The first time you give a dandelion to your degu you might want to keep that to once a week for a few weeks, just to let their stomach get used to 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 dandelions, 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 dandelions again and trying a different treat, their stomach just might not agree with it.