Octodon degus is among the rodents in its family most vulnerable to a high-sugar diet. This is due to its lower insulin hormonal activity compared to other mammals1 2. The degu is prone to developing diabetes or diseases related to a high glucose level in the diet quite easily. Therefore, it is important to feed the degu properly and limit any sugary foods. The total sugar content should be below 30% in its diet.
Occasional Ingestion of Sugary Foods
It is possible for the degu to occasionally consume a food higher in sugar as a treat. However, this should remain exceptionally rare and spaced out, allowing its blood glucose level to return to normal. Nevertheless, this requires a daily diet adapted (and therefore low in sugar) to permit these very rare deviations. However, we strongly advise providing only treats suitable for the degu and excluding fruits and vegetables.
The healthiest diet for the degu is one that is low in sugar and high in fiber. This helps maintain a normal blood glucose level after each meal and significantly reduces the risks of developing diabetes or cataracts in the degu. There are several species-specific mixes that, supplemented with hay, allow for proper feeding of the animal.
Regularly providing a high-sugar diet does not allow the degu to return to a normal glucose level, posing a very high risk of developing diseases such as diabetes or cataracts3.
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