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Gerbil Care Basics

July 1, 2017

Have you recently adopted a gerbil? These tiny furballs make wonderful pets, and with good reasons. Gerbils have many wonderful qualities: they’re naturally clean, quiet, and gentle, and they don’t need much room. In this article from Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet serving Louisville and surrounding areas, a local vet discusses basic gerbil care.

Friends

Gerbils are very sociable and friendly, and are much happier with roommates. Just be sure to keep only same-sex pairs together. You’ll need to introduce your pets slowly, to make sure they don’t fight. If your gerbils are ever separated for more than an hour, you’ll need to reintroduce them.

Cage

Making sure your little pets have a comfy cave is very important! For two gerbils, you’ll need about 10 gallons of space. When you go shopping, you’ll want to pick a cage that is secure, as gerbils are basically tiny escape artists. We recommend getting a cage with a mesh top, which will ensure good ventilation. Your pint-sized pets will need suitable substrate, such as aspen, for burrowing and digging. Avoid substrates made of pine or cedar, which can be toxic to small animals. Next, you’ll need to add some nesting material, like shredded tissue paper, as well as a hidey-hole, a water bottle, and, of course, toys. Your pets may also appreciate a climbing rock.

Ongoing Care

Your daily to-do list will be quite short. You’ll just need to give your gerbils fresh food and water and remove waste and uneaten food. You will also need to clean their cage and replace the bedding regularly.

Food

Your tiny furballs can have commercial gerbil food for their main meals. To round out their menu, you can offer fresh produce, such as melons, pears, cucumbers, and carrots. For snacks, you can give your adorable pets a dog biscuit, cheese, or pumpkin seeds. Ask your vet for specific recommendations, including serving sizes, safe and unsafe foods, and suitable treats.

Toys!

Don’t let your gerbils get bored! These little guys love exploring mazes and tunnels. You can also offer them a solid exercise wheel. Gerbils also need plenty of chew toys, such as items made of cardboard or paper. (Tip: the tubes from toilet paper rolls make great gerbil toys.)

Contact us here at Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet clinic, serving Louisville and surrounding areas, anytime. We’re happy to assist!

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