Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Keeping Gerbils as Pets 101

Gerbils make wonderful pets and have been fascinating children for decades. Are you wondering how to take care of a gerbil? Are gerbils good pets? How can you help your family's gerbil to stay healthy and happy? Read on to find out.

Are gerbils good pets?

Gerbils can be delightful small pets, suitable for people of all ages to enjoy. If you are trying to decide whether pet gerbils are a good fit for you or your family it's good to start with an understanding of their needs.

There are a lot of things to consider when taking care of a pet gerbil including feeding schedule, proper handling, and house needs. Here is a list of things to think about and some basic gerbil care instructions:

Gerbils are Social

Unlike many other small pets, gerbils do not thrive when kept alone. Living in solitude can negatively impact their health, leading to issues like obesity and shorter lifespans. If you're considering getting a gerbil as a pet, it is advisable to bring home two gerbils together for their well-being. That said, it is important to make sure that your gerbils are the same sex so that you don't end up with more gerbils than you are prepared to care for.

Handling your Gerbil

Gerbils are small and fragile. Your gerbil should be kept away from larger, predatory pets such as cats, dogs, and even ferrets. Never grab or hold a gerbil by their tail, or you could cause a serious injury. 

Your Gerbils House

Gerbils, similar to other rodents, have a natural inclination to chew. It is important to avoid housing them in wooden cages, as they can easily damage or destroy them. Wire cages are also not recommended since gerbils have a tendency to dig, which could potentially cause injuries from the metal.

For gerbils, a 20-gallon fish tank or a plastic gerbil home from a pet store are often suitable options. It is recommended to avoid rounded tanks, as gerbils like to curl up in corners. Remember, like most pets, your gerbil's habitat can never be too spacious. Provide your little friend with the largest gerbil home you have space for.

Feeding & Water

Pre-mixed gerbil food can be found at any well-stocked pet supply store. These foods are suitable for most gerbils, but you can supplement their diet with fresh fruits and vegetables for an added treat and extra nutrition. That said, avoid excessive amounts of lettuce as it can lead to diarrhea. Gerbils also enjoy treats such as hard-boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and cheese, but it's crucial to offer these in small quantities due to their high fat content.

A fresh, clean supply of water is essential at all times! A gravity-fed water dispenser works well for gerbils.


Avoid giving your gerbils any toys made from plastic because they love to chew, and plastic could lead to health problems. Instead, stick with natural wood products like wooden chew toys, willow balls, cardboard tubes, and wood planks. You can find a selection of gerbil-safe toys online or at your nearest pet supply store.

Vet Visits

Just like any other pet, to maintain optimal health gerbils should be seen by a veterinarian on a regular basis. These routine checkups for small mammals allow your vet to check for early signs of developing health problems that can be addressed before becoming more severe. They also provide you with an opportunity to ask questions you may have and learn more about caring for your littlest family member.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Contact Providence South Animal Hospital today to book a checkup for your gerbil.

New Patients Welcome

Providence South Animal Hospital provides comprehensive veterinary care for your cherished pets in Waxhaw.

Request Appointment

Book Online (704) 843-0208