From time to time, gerbils will need a bit of help keeping clean. If they are under the weather or getting on in years, then they might need some help keeping their coats in a good condition. Below we’ve listed some ways in which you can help your gerbil keep itself clean and tidy.
Your pets will usually clean themselves, but sometimes they may need a little bit of help
Before you begin, you might want to question why your gerbil is needing this help in the first place. Sometimes, the fact that a gerbil needs help cleaning themselves can be indicative of an underlying health problem. Is their fur thinning prematurely? Are there things moving in their coat? Is their fur scabby and sore-looking? It’s worth giving your gerbils a thorough health check in order to be sure that they aren’t under the weather. For more information on checking your gerbil, have a look at our How To Check a Gerbil section.
If it’s an emergency, such as if you’ve spilt something on your gerbil that it shouldn’t digest, then you should give your gerbil a water bath in order to wash this substance off. Water baths should only be used in extreme circumstances, because they wash away key molecules from your pet’s coat, which can potentially cause some skin conditions.
Consider these options first before you resort to a water bath:
1. Give your gerbil a sand bath
In the wild, gerbils will often use sand to clean their fur. Since there is very little water in the arid climates they naturally inhabit, they’ve evolved this behaviour instead of taking a water bath like we humans do. In fact, they’re so used to these sand baths that water baths are now actually likely to be harmful to their skin.
Sand baths are how some wild gerbils clean themselves
You can also use a small, wide-toothed brush to try to get something out of a gerbils’ coat, particularly if that something is dried.
3. Using a damp cloth
If there’s only a little bit of dirt on your gerbil, then you could try just a little bit of water on a cloth instead of opting for a whole-body bath. Make sure that the water is lukewarm - not too cold or too hot.