Caring for a Gerbil

Are you looking for a small pet that is super cute but easy to care for? A gerbil might just be your perfect match! These gentle, tiny furballs are quite adorable, and require minimal care. A local Upper Arlington, OH veterinarian discusses caring for a gerbil in this article.


Setting your little buddy up in a comfy cage is crucial to your pet’s health and well-being. For one gerbil, you’ll need a 10-gallon tank, at the minimum. Make sure the lid is secure, and that the cage provides proper ventilation. Once you’ve picked the cage, you’ll need to add a suitable substrate, such as aspen. Avoid cedar or pine substrates, as they are toxic to small animals! Gerbils love to dig, so add enough substrate for your pet to tunnel into. Gerbie will also need at least one hidey-hole, as well as a water bottle.


In the wild, gerbils live in large colonies, known as clans, and are rarely, if ever, left alone. One gerbil without any buddies will feel sad and lonely, and may even get depressed. Therefore, it’s recommended that you get your little one a roommate. To avoid breeding, choose same-sex pairs. You’ll need to make introductions slowly. If your pets are ever separated for over an hour, you’ll have to re-introduce them.


You can feed your pet a commercial food. Generally, this will either be a pellet or a seed mix. Both are fine, although you’ll want to be careful with seed mixes, as some contain a lot of sugary foods. Seed mixes also allow gerbils to pick out their favorite bits, and then beg for more! You’ll want to supplement Gerbie’s main meals with fresh veggies and fruits, such as apples, bananas, carrots, or lettuce. For treats, offer the occasional bit of cooked egg; cheese; or cereal. Be sure to remove uneaten food immediately.


Gerbils love to chew, so provide Gerbie with suitable chew toys, such as cardboard. These little ones also like exercise wheels. Just be sure to choose a solid one, as wire wheels can hurt your little pet. Your furry buddy will also appreciate a flat rock, which can serve as a lookout point! Tunnels and mazes are also very popular among the gerbil crowd.

Do you have questions about caring for your pet? Contact us, your Upper Arlington, OH, vet clinic, any time!