Fatwire Article Portlet

Gerbil health and welfare

Health logo © RSPCA publications and brand 2010


Ensure your gerbils are protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

 

Portrait of single adult standing in peat filled gerbilarium© Joe Murphy/RSPCA

Gerbils need:

  • You to be familiar with how each individual normally looks and their behaviour. Gerbils behaving differently to normal can indicate something is wrong; so this helps you notice signs of illness/pain, and take action quickly. Gerbils can be affected by many diseases. They can become infected by contaminated food/water/litter material. Inappropriate environments and/or stress, can lead to repetitive behaviours developing (e.g. digging in one corner for long periods of time).
     
  • Checking regularly. Handling can be stressful, and they can be difficult to catch, it’s important to regularly check them for health/welfare. Gerbils feel pain similarly to other mammals, including humans. 
     
  • Suitable gnawing material- their teeth grow continuously and will cause health problems/pain if they grow too long.
    - Wooden chew-blocks are ideal. Gerbils particularly like willow/hazel/beech/birch/pine/branches from fruit trees. Don’t use ivy/yew/holly as these are poisonous.
    - Regularly examine their front teeth; ask your vet to check them to ensure they’re positioned/growing correctly. If the teeth become overgrown, take them to a vet. Gerbils’ teeth grow continually; they gnaw objects to keep them regularly worn down. If there is a problem with their teeth, they may stop eating.
     
  • Their nails checking regularly to ensure they’re not becoming overgrown. Gerbils naturally wear their nails down walking on rough surfaces. 
     
  • A shallow tray filled with clean, fine sand/'chinchilla dust' to bathe in daily to maintain their coat in good condition. Remove/sieve clean after use. 
     
  • Treated with only the medicines recommended for them by the vet. 
     
  • Caring for by a responsible person when you’re away to meet their welfare needs - introduce your gerbils to them beforehand. 
    - Provide them with all necessary information to take care of your pets. As well as details specific to your individual gerbils, this document could be a useful reference point to meeting their needs.
    - Keep your gerbils in their familiar gerbilarium and leave their usual food for their carer to give. 
     
  • Transporting carefully, reducing stress wherever possible. Don’t transport them unless absolutely necessary (Transporting your gerbils (PDF 93.4 KB)).
Share this...

Feedback Portlet

Did you find this useful?
 
 
 
 

Mega Nav Portlet

 

Print Portlet