Basic Gerbil Care

Have you been looking for a small pet that is easy to care for but super cute to watch? If so, a gerbil may be perfect for you! These tiny furballs are very gentle and are also quite clean, which makes them a great choice for children’s pets. Below, a Coon Rapids, MN veterinarian discusses basic gerbil care.


Your tiny furball will need a comfy cage to be truly happy and healthy. Get at least a ten-gallon tank for one or two gerbils. If you have more than two, you’ll need a larger cage. Once you’ve picked a cage, you’ll need to add a safe substrate, such as aspen. Avoid pine or cedar substrates, as these are dangerous for small animals. Gerbils love to burrow, so pick something that allows your furry little friends to dig. Be sure the substrate is deep enough to support your pets’ passion for tunneling!


Gerbils are very sociable, so your pet will feel lonely, depressed, and anxious without any buddies. Therefore, we recommend getting more than one gerbil. Make sure to choose only same-sex pairs to prevent breeding. Gerbils should be introduced slowly, so they don’t fight. If your furballs are ever separated for over an hour, you’ll need to reintroduce them, as they won’t remember each other.


Gerbils love to play, so go ahead and add an exercise wheel. Choose one with a solid bottom, as wire wheels can hurt those tiny paws. These little ones also need to chew, so offer plenty of fun, chewable playthings. The cardboard tubes from toilet paper or paper towel rolls make great gerbil toys!


A commercial food, such as a seed or pellet mix, or a mixture of both, can be your little buddy’s main menu. Ask your vet for specific recommendations. You’ll also want to supplement this with other foods. You can give your furball tiny amounts of safe fruits and veggies, such as carrots, broccoli, or apples with the seeds removed; unsweetened cereal; whole-grain bread; and raisins or currants. Nuts; pumpkin or sunflower seeds are fine on occasion, as are cooked eggs; cheese; mealworms or crickets; or even dog biscuits. Just be sure to always research new foods to be sure they are safe!

Do you have questions about gerbil care? Contact us! As your local Coon Rapids, MN vet clinic, we are always happy to help!

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