Dirty Secrets About Sugar Glider Foods

Here at Exotic Nutrition we create pet foods with the help of veterinarians, exotic professionals, and nutritional experts that has been tried and tested by thousands of sugar gliders over many years of study. Our 24 years of hands-on manufacturing experience and successful pet food formulations have enabled us to develop some of the highest quality exotic pet foods available. Exotic Nutrition focuses on producing healthy foods that will allow our pets to live long, happy lives. We do not breed or sell pets; we have been 100% focused on nutrition since day one. We are also proud support rescues and nonprofits across the country by offering discounts, so they can care for these animals with ease. You can read more about our recommendations for feeding pet sugar gliders here. 

The Myths About The Best Staple Diet for Sugar Gliders

Glider Complete

Some online forums or Facebook pages have people that swear up and down that certain sugar glider diets "will kill your glider”. When anyone makes aggressive statements like that, with little supporting evidence, it should raise some flags. The truth is, there is not one food or combination of ingredients that has been proven to be the best diet for sugar gliders. Every year we are learning more about sugar glider nutrition and we can move closer to that goal of the perfect diet. In the meantime, we are always working hard to study and improve existing diets in order to create even higher quality products for our customers. There are hundred of thousands of pets who have been eating Exotic Nutrition pellet diets for the past decade and their pets have lived long, healthy lives. If a certain product was to be unhealthy for gliders, pet owners would be able to notice this and stop buying it, and the company would be forced out of business. However, this doesn’t happen. Therefore, it make sense that a specific product that has been fed to gliders for many years and has great results is a good product. Our long-term customers and the overwhelming positive reviews for our diets speak for themselves. 

The Myths About Pellet and Kibble Diets

Some pet owners have been led to believe that exotic animals like sugar gliders shouldn't eat a pellet diet. These same people usually tout that a staple pellet food isn't 'exotic' enough or that gliders should be fed fresh foods like apple sauce, yogurt, orange juice, oatmeal, fruits, or vegetables instead of a pellet or kibble diet. The truth is, those kinds of foods are not even part of a sugar glider's natural diet in the wild and they are not proven to provide to provide the best nutrition for all pet sugar gliders. A properly made pellet or kibble diet will usually have more nutritional variation and consistency than any homemade diet. It’s not just about vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats…but the correct balance of each. A pellet or kibble diet with a guaranteed analysis is far safer than mixing seemingly random fruits and vegetables together. If an owner's main goal is to make a glider's meal look exotic and fun, they need to recognize nutritional necessities are getting left behind.

Sugar Glider in No Mess Feeding Station

Many people have the opinion that gliders are solely “sap suckers” who should only eat soft, fresh foods rather than a pellet or kibble diet. The label sap sucker gives an impression of not chewing anything or not eating anything solid and this just isn’t true. In the wild, to access the sap in trees, gliders rip and tear at the bark until it "bleeds", then they lap it up. If they return to the tree later and the sap has dried hard, they still munch it up. Even with their fruits and vegetables we will often see gliders chew, suck all the juices out of the food, and then spit out the substance pieces. You will see some gliders eat pellets in a similar way. They chew the food in their mouth, extract the moisture and nutrients, and discard remains. It's called "spittings", they will smush and grind the food down with their teeth to extract everything, then spit out the excess. It's totally normal. If your gliders are not taking to a diet right away, we recommend reading our Introducing New Foods to Gliders article.

Sugar Glider Inside Ceramic Feed Station

We do not mean to discredit online forums, we are happy they exist and know they provide an abundance of useful information to glider owners. We simply try to remind all owners not to be narrow-minded on certain subjects, and to look to multiple sources on all issues. We encourage owners to educate themselves using other websites, forums, and books, while being sure to check the dates on all articles to see if they are current. As mentioned, we learn more and more about sugar gliders each year so information from a few years ago may not be relevant or correct today.

How are Exotic Nutrition Diets Made?

The majority of Exotic Nutrition foods are a compressed pellet or extruded kibble. This means the ingredients used in our foods, including grains, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fruits, vegetables etc., are initially mixed together in large mixing bins with an auger then put through a pelleting machine. In this process, the pellets are formed from the exact ingredients provided. This finished compressed pellet contains an extremely large amount of nutrition per volume. An extruded "kibble" or "cereal" is different than a pellet. Extrusion processing is a manufacturing method that involves cooking the food into a dry kibble form which results in a less dense, but more consistent product. Here at Exotic Nutrition, we make both pellet and kibble diets.

With all of this said, we still offer non-pellet diets and supplements for those who wish to continue making homemade diets, read more about the sugar glider HPW diet here


The Myth That Corn is Good


Like anything else, there are low-quality pet diets and high-quality pet diets. Some companies throw together the cheapest food that they can make which ends up with low-quality ingredients and nutritional deficiencies. Some companies sell sugar glider food that has corn at the top of the ingredient label - but is it really nutritional? It's widely agreed that corn is okay as an occasional treat, but it certainly is not a nutritious staple for any animal. So why would anyone feed a corn-based diet to their pet?  Simply because it's a cheap and tasty ingredient. Companies that advertise corn as a "nutritional" ingredient are providing a gross misrepresentation of the facts. Products which rely on corn are typically priced lower to target price sensitive customers, which is completely understandable. On the other hand, you may see some pet foods priced very high with corn as the main ingredient. For example, two of the most expensive sugar glider foods available- Pocket Pets Glide-R-Chow and Critter Love Fruity Kibble- are both made with corn as the main ingredient. This is just a simple case of price gouging and greed at the expense of the sugar glider. 

corn in bowl

Corn is more often than not genetically modified, and although many people call corn a vegetable, it is actually a grain, which provide starchy carbohydrates. It converts to sugar in the body, which has a negative effect on your pet. Sugar puts stress on the organs and causes GI tract upset. Corn is basically used to dilute the ingredients found in many processed pet foods and make them less expensive for the manufacturer and the consumer. By spending a little bit more time researching the ingredients in your pet food, you can provide much more in terms of protein, nutritional benefits and overall health. Biological value is a scientific method of determining how protein is utilized after it’s ingested and can be put on a scale from one to one hundred. Protein from eggs or soy are much higher in nutritional value compared to corn. Although corn can provide some protein, this protein does not contain all necessary amino acids and is not nearly as bioavailable as any animal source, such as chicken or eggs. In a nutshell, corn makes any pet food you find it is less expensive to produce. And it does this by diluting a recipe’s more costly, high-quality ingredients. Although pets can survive on corn-based food, these products are not biologically appropriate. We recommend a sugar glider diet made primarily of quality ingredients like animal-protein (chicken, eggs, pork), insect-protein or soy-protein that is supplemented with fruits, vegetables and saps (acacia gum).

Be wary of companies that try to sell you large volumes of food or supplements (180 day supply) all at once. The nutrients in food and supplements with denature over time, meaning they will lose their nutritional value. This is not a very logical feeding method to say the least. Here at Exotic Nutrition, we recommend purchasing food in small portions (4-8 weeks supply), for optimal freshness and quality.  


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Please Note: Exotic Nutrition is not able to provide specific health and care guidelines on an individual basis. Please contact an accredited veterinarian if you have a pet emergency.

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