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Caring for a Gerbil

March 1 2016

Have you been looking for a small pet that is adorable, gentle, and easy to care for? A gerbil could be a perfect choice! These little guys are very popular children’s pets, in large part because they are very tame and are quite easy keepers. Just like any other animal, however, gerbils do have some specific care needs. Read on as a local Cherry Hill, NJ veterinarian discusses basic gerbil care.

Habitat

Gerbils are very sociable little furballs. Your pet will be much happier with a buddy to snuggle up to and play with. We recommend getting same sex pairs. You’ll need to introduce them slowly, so they don’t fight. For one pair, you’ll need at least a ten-gallon tank. You’ll want to add a suitable substrate, such as aspen. Don’t get pine or cedar substrates, as they are toxic to many small animals. Your furry friends will also need a water bottle, and a hidey-hole. Food dishes are optional, as you can just scatter the food in your pets’ cage.

Diet

Good nutrition is very important! Gerbils need proper nourishment, just like any other animal. Your tiny furball can have commercial gerbil food for breakfast and dinner. You’ll want to supplement this with some safe, suitable fruits and veggies. Carrots, cucumbers, and parsley are a few options. Ask your vet for specific nutritional recommendations, including treats; safe and unsafe foods; and portion sizes.

Handling

Spend time with your pint-sized friend. Handle the little one gently and frequently, to keep him tame and sociable. Never pick your gerbil up by the tail: you could hurt him! You also want to avoid scooping your gerbil up from behind, or when he’s sleeping, as this may frighten your tiny pet.

Toys!

Your playful pet will need lots of fun toys to keep him happy and occupied in his cage. Offer plenty of playthings, including suitable chew toys. Many wood, cardboard, and paper items can make great toys for these cute furballs. Avoid anything with sharp edges or small parts, and items coated in paint or varnish. If you give your little buddy an exercise wheel, be sure to pick one with a solid floor. Wire floors can hurt those tiny paws! Labyrinths and mazes are also very popular with gerbils.

Do you have any questions about gerbil care? Please contact us, your Cherry Hill, NJ animal clinic, anytime.

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