Here at Heartland Niagara Veterinary Hospital, we pride ourselves in offering great care to a variety of pets, from goofy giant dogs to talkative birds to the tiniest of our animal companions. Smaller pets are also living beings, who deserve to be treated with kindness and compassion. Read on as a Thorold, ON vet offers some helpful tips on caring for a gerbil.
Gerbils are happiest with friends, but that doesn’t mean you can just add a second gerbil to your pet’s cage at any time. The ideal setup here is with same-sex pairs that were raised together. Otherwise, you’ll need to introduce your furry pals slowly and under supervision, to make sure they don’t fight. If they are ever separated for more than an hour, you’ll have to reintroduce them from step one, as they won’t remember each other.
Gerbils have open-rooted teeth, so you’ll need to provide your tiny pet with lots of suitable chew toys. This needn’t be expensive: many wood, wicker, and cardboard items are fine. Ask your vet for more information.
Gerbils may have tiny teeth, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do their best to chew through anything and everything in range. We recommend a glass tank for your pet. You’ll need to add a few inches of bedding, hides, and a water bottle. Choose safe substrates that allow your pet to burrow down a bit. While gerbils are quite clean, you’ll need to remove waste and uneaten food daily, as well as provide fresh water. Temperature is another thing to consider. When it gets really hot out, you’ll need to make sure your miniature furball doesn’t overheat.
A proper diet is an important cornerstone of any pet care routine. Gerbils are no exception. Your cute pet can eat a commercial food, supplemented with small amounts of safe fruits and veggies. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.
Gerbils are quite gentle, which is why they are so popular as children’s pets. These little guys do enjoy being handled. However, very young children can sometimes be a bit clumsy, and may drop gerbils, or scare them. Have your kids sit or kneel when playing with your pint-sized pal.
Please reach out to us, your Thorold, ON vet clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!