Basic Gerbil Care

Are you looking for a small pet that is super cute and easy to care for? You may want to consider getting a gerbil. These tiny furballs make wonderful pets! In this article, a Livonia, MI veterinarian discusses basic gerbil care.


Since your little pet will spend the majority of his time in his cage, you’ll want to make sure it’s nice and comfy for him. We recommend getting a cage that is at least 10 gallons, but bigger is always better. When you have the tank, you’ll need to add a suitable substrate, such as aspen. Avoid pine and cedar substrates, as they are toxic to gerbils. Add a water bottle, ceramic food dish, and a hidey-hole for your pet to retreat to when he wants privacy. You can also include a sand bath, and perhaps a climbing rock, for the little guy.


Proper nutrition is very important! Make sure your gerbil has plenty of grass hay, such as Timothy hay, at all times. Your gerbil can have commercial food for his main meals. In addition, you can give your furry pal fruits and veggies; cereal; fresh or freeze-dried insects, such as earthworms or waxworms; organic nuts and seeds; raisins; bits or cheese or egg; and the occasional dog biscuit. Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice.


Gerbils live in colonies in the wild, and are rarely, if ever, alone. Your little buddy may get sad, lonely, or depressed without any buddies to play with and cuddle up to. We recommend getting at least two gerbils. Just be sure to choose same-sex pairs. (Note: if your pets are ever separated for over an hour, you’ll need to reintroduce them, so they don’t fight.)


Offer your tiny friend lots of fun toys and entertainment options. Gerbils like to explore, so buy or make a little labyrinth for your cute pet. Exercise wheels are also very popular with pocket pets. Just be sure to choose a solid one, as wire wheels can be dangerous. You’ll also want to provide your gerbil with plenty of chew toys. You can buy your pet’s playthings, or you can make your own. For instance, the cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls make great gerbil toys!

Do you have questions about caring for a gerbil? We are here to help! Contact us, your local Livonia, MI animal clinic, today!

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