A healthy diet is as much an essential element of your degu’s well-being as it is for all living creatures. The diet of a degu primarily comprises hay and pellets. 80% of a degu’s diet should be quality hay.
This is a crucial source of fiber and maintains your pet’s gut function. Moreover, hay files a degu’s teeth as the animal chews it for hours. The best hay varieties for a degu are Timothy and meadow hay. This hay should be brown since green hay can cause bloating in your pet.
Experts advise that hay and fresh water should be available throughout to meet your pet’s needs. The degu can be fed on 5-10 g of dry food once daily or split into two portions.
The ideal pellet feeds for degus comprise not more than 15% protein, less than 5% sugar, more than 15% fiber, and a maximum 4% of fat. Since degus are now among the most popular pocket pets, there are several commercial pelleted feeds for them in pet stores.
Ensure the feed you pick contains no molasses. Molasses is often added to horse feed to make it palatable but increases the risk of cataracts and diabetes in degus.
Also Read: How to Care for Pet Degus?
The following is other beneficial information on the frequency of feeding your degu.
How Often Should Degus Eat Vegetables?
Herbs and vegetables are essential components of a degu’s diet. They contain fatty acids and essential amino acids that are crucial for an herbivore’s wellbeing. Even so, some vegetables should not be given frequently because they might cause bloating and digestive issues.
Leafy veggies like celery radishes, endive, and dandelion leaves can be given daily. Dried herbs, including coriander, mint, and parsley, can also make up part of a degu’s daily diet. On the other hand, fresh herbs like asparagus and Brussel sprouts are ideally given to degus once weekly.
How Often Should You Give Treats to Degus?
Treats for a degu are just that- foods that should be given as rewards and not fed in large quantities or regularly. They will provide a positive emotional experience for your pet and will prove beneficial for training or enrichment purposes.
The frequency of giving a treat will depend on its composition. Here is a guide on the frequency of giving common degu treats to your pet:
- Seeds and nuts: One or two small seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds can be given several times per week. You can give degus one large nut like a peanut once weekly, while whole hazelnuts in their shells are best given once monthly.
- Raisins: One raisin per month is enough for your degu because of the treat’s high sugar content.
- Dried rosehips: One dried rosehip per week is enough since it might have too much sugar.
- Rolled porridge oats: A pinch of oats per day will suffice because they are high in carbohydrates.
- Fruits: Fruits are ideally given once or twice monthly because of their high sugar levels.
How Often do Degus Drink?
Degus have a high tolerance of living without water and can go for about thirteen days without it because of their adaptation to an arid environment in the wild.
Even so, you should not be so cruel as to deprive your pet of water because of this. In captivity, your degu should consume about 500 ml of water per month based on its exercise levels and environment.
Degus will drink throughout the day, provided you have fresh water in their cages in a drinking bottle. Therefore, change the water in your pet’s bottle daily and check that the spout is not blocked. Some pet owners opt for water dishes for their degus, but these are less hygienic than water bottles.
A few people are convinced that the animals should only drink hyper-chlorinated water because they are highly susceptible to oral infections. Even so, degus can even drink cold tap water provided it is safe for consumption.
Fresh fruit juices can be given as occasional treats. A teaspoon once or twice each month will be enough for a degu so that the juice does not cause diabetes in your pet.
Can Degus Eat Grass?
Yes, degus can eat grass. The grass you give your pet should nonetheless be fresh. This is given once or twice weekly on rotation because it might cause bloating.
The bloating follows an inability of the small intestines to digest grass fully. This grass then passes to the large intestines and mixes with bacteria to produce gas.
What Can Degus Not Eat?
One of your primary goals when feeding a degu is to keep its carbohydrate and sugar consumption low. This way, you minimize the chances of your pet getting diabetes or becoming obese.
Some of the sugar-rich foods to avoid include fruits, breakfast cereals, molasses, resins, and bread. Below are the other foods you should exclude from a degu’s diet:
- Foods containing theobromine or caffeine since these compounds are toxic to rodents.
- Foods with artificial coloring because the chemicals used for coloring can lead to kidney diseases in a degu.
- Vegetables with high starch and sugar levels. These include carrots, pumpkins, tomatoes, and peas.
- Leeks, onions, chives, and garlic because they are toxic to degus.
Even with the guidelines above, it might not be easy to get the ideal quantity and frequency for your degu’s feeding the first time around. Be patient as you become accustomed to your pet’s preferences and behaviors.
When changing diets to try and get the ideal one for your degu, do so slowly. Suddenly switching feeds or your feeding routine confuses your pet and will contribute to its fussy feeding. The gradual changing of diets and feeding routines also allows your pet’s digestive system to get used to the change.
Some degu owners are worried when their pets start eating their poop. However, this is normal and a crucial way of the animal maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Be vigilant to understand your degu’s eating habits so that you can promptly get a vet if there are any changes.