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Gerbil Care Basics

March 15, 2015

Have you recently decided to get a pet gerbil? These adorable little furballs make great pets. Because they are naturally gentle, clean, and easy to care for, they’re very popular as pets for children. In this article, your Thorold vet offers some tips on basic gerbil care.


Gerbils live in groups in the wild, and are very rarely, if ever, alone. A single gerbil will get very lonely without any buddies to play with, and can even become depressed. Therefore, gerbils should be kept in same-sex pairs. Just be sure to introduce them slowly, as otherwise they will fight!


A proper habitat is crucial to your pet’s well-being. You’ll need five gallons of space for each gerbil. There are many types of cages to choose from. Glass aquariums with mesh or wire tops are a great choice. You can use a wire cage, though you’ll want one with a solid bottom. Plastic cages are also acceptable, as long as they provide proper ventilation, but you’ll have to make sure your pet doesn’t chew his home! Once you’ve picked the cage, you’ll need to add a suitable substrate, a nest box, a sand bath, and food and water dishes.


Your tiny furballs can have a rodent pellet for their main diet. You might be tempted to feed your pet a seed mix, but there are a few drawbacks with these. Mixes give your gerbil the option of picking out their favorite bits, which can lead to imbalanced nutrition and chubby gerbils. To round out your gerbil’s menu, offer small pieces of fruits and veggies. Carrots, broccoli, apples, and berries are a few safe options. Your little buddy can also enjoy the occasional bit of cheese, egg, or whole-wheat toast. Raisins, mealworms, and unsweetened cereal are also suitable treats.


Your gerbil won’t need vaccinations, but should be seen by a vet at least once a year.


Life in a cage can get a bit dull, so you’ll want to be sure your little buddy has plenty of entertainment options. Tunnels, mazes, chew toys, and exercise wheels are a few things you can give your furry pal to keep him entertained. Be sure to put safety first, though, and avoid giving your gerbil anything that could choke or hurt him.

Do you have questions about your gerbil? Contact us, your local Thorold vet clinic, anytime!