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Secrets to a Happy Gerbil

December 15, 2014

Have you recently added a gerbil to your household? Gerbils are very popular pocket pets, and with good reason. These adorable little balls of fur are very docile, don’t need much room, are quite clean, and are generally very easy to care for, even for beginners. All that said, gerbils do need some stimulation and care to truly be happy and healthy. You definitely don’t want a sad little gerbil! Here are some tips from your local vet San Jose on keeping your gerbil happy.


In the wild, gerbils live in groups, known as clans, and are rarely if ever alone. Mother Nature just didn’t plan for these little cuties to live solitary lives. One gerbil, with no buddies, will often become sad, lonely, and depressed. A depressed gerbil may lose his appetite, and not show any interest in being held or played with, and may simply lie in its cage, listless. It is important to note that these things can also be indicative of sickness, so if your gerbil is displaying any of these symptoms, you’ll want to contact your vet. That said, if you only have one gerbil, your little buddy will definitely appreciate a roommate. You’ll want to be careful to house only same-sex pairs together, and introduce them slowly.


Gerbils are very docile, and many of them enjoy being handled and petted. Just taking 15 minutes a day to play with your little pets can greatly enrich your gerbils’ lives. Talk softly to your little ones, and perhaps give a few small treats during this time as well.

Proper Cage Placement

Gerbils like to watch and observe things that are going on around them. Keeping your pet’s cage in a bedroom or spare room will likely mean that pet has very little interaction with you except when being handled. Placing your gerbil’s cage in a living room or family room will make things much more fun for your little buddy.


Gerbils love to chew, dig, and play. Make sure your little guy has plenty of toys. Cardboard tubes, exercise wheels, chewing wood, chew toys, climbing toys, and dust baths will all enrich your gerbils’ environment. You’ll also want to be sure your gerbils’ cage has enough substrate for them to dig into, as these guys like to tunnel.


Like most animals, gerbils really enjoy treats. You can give your gerbil nuts, sunflower seeds, small bits of egg, whole-grain breakfast cereal, mealworms, dog biscuits, cheese, and the occasional raisin as treats. Tiny pieces of fruits and veggies, such as carrots, apples, and broccoli, are also acceptable.

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