Gerbils consume water depending on the weather and food. If you give them high water content food they won’t drink water and during summer they drink water more than usual. It is essential to daily notice how much water they drink and to prevent dehydration.
Dehydration in Gerbils
- A lack of water can cause dehydration in Gerbils. Symptoms include:
- Dry gums
- Excessive squinting
- Dull eyes
Dehydration can also result from diarrhea and vomiting. Chlorine in their drinking water can cause digestive issues and dehydration in Gerbils.
Caring for a dehydrated Gerbil
- The first step to taking care of a dehydrated Gerbil is to take them to the vet. They will receive a proper diagnosis and be treated with medication. Daily Monitor the water intake of Gerbils so that you can easily identify whether they are drinking water or not.
- Next, ensure that your Gerbil is taking water and replenishing lost electrolytes. You can do this by adding a small amount of Pedialyte with water – 1-part Pedialyte to 1 part water.
- Ideally use unflavored Pedialyte if you can. You can also add 1-part Gatorade with 3 parts water. Add the mix to the water dish or bottle. If your Gerbil doesn’t want to take the mixture, use a syringe and manually administer the electrolyte drink.
- Fill a small syringe with the mixture, hold your Gerbil with one hand, and press the mix into the Gerbil’s mouth. Be careful not to force the water into the lungs. Instead, press a small amount of the mixture on the side of the mouth, allowing the Gerbil to swallow comfortably at their own pace.
Rehydrating your Gerbil
An average Gerbil drinks around 100 mL/kg of water every day. It all truly depends on each Gerbil. You need to make sure that your Gerbil always has access to clean water. If they get the required amount of water from food sources sometimes they don’t even drink water because of that.
Different sources of Water:
- Tap water contains many additives like chlorine and fluoride etc. These can affect animals or humans that have weak immune systems.
- The distilled water should be avoided as it has the wrong pH, ionization, oxidation, and polarization potentials. Distilled water fails to provide the body with the necessary nutrients it requires.
- Bottled water can be tap water and have additives. You can read the label to know what is in it.
- For Gerbils, the safest kind of water is the water which is safe for you it may be tap water or spring water. If it is safe for you then fine if not then don’t provide them.
Can You give Cold Water?
It is easy for a Gerbil to become overheated. If you see them becoming suddenly lethargic, it could be because of heat stress. You need to cool the little guy down as soon as possible.
Wipe them down with a cool refreshing cloth, but you should also give them some cool water to drink as soon as they are able. Try to avoid giving them water that is too cold though, it can be too much of a shock to their system.
Can Gerbils drink tap water?
Personally, tap water is not recommended for drinking purposes for Gerbil. When you can’t afford drinking water, you have to do a certain workaround to use tap water.
Tap water is not safe for Gerbils to drink as it often contains chemicals and heavy metals. These can cause health problems and negatively affect the health and happiness of your Gerbil.
Carbon filters are the only way to get rid of chlorine found in tap water. If you use carbon-filtered water, you won’t have to worry when your Gerbil is drinking, playing, splashing, or even blowing bubbles in the water. Exposure to high levels of chlorine (> 4 mg/L) can be a health concern for your Gerbil.
When can you use tap water as a drinking source?
It ultimately depends on your area’s water supply. The tap water composition differs from area to area because of different municipal water supplies. You have to test the water before giving it to your Gerbil.
When the tap water’s PH level is between 6.5-8.5, there is a possibility of using tap water as a drinking source. You should test the water and find the chlorine content and for the bacteria.
After checking the water PH content and chemical content, you have to filter the water using any market filters.
Why should you not use tap water as a drinking source?
Few Municipalities treat the water with chemicals that do not affect anyone, but few treat carcinogenic chemicals that affect animals’ endocrine systems.
Can I offer dairy products?
Gerbils really love milk and other dairy products, it is not the best dietary choice for them. They are lactose intolerant and it could make them sick if they consume too much of it. Never rely solely on milk as their primary source of hydration as it could create a major imbalance in their diet.
You can give them some heavy cream but keep it in very small doses. This can be a great way to help your Gerbil to fill out and put on a few extra pounds if they are underweight. Some Gerbil owners give them the extra fatty milk only occasionally as a treat rather than as a normal part of their meal.
Never force-feed water to your Gerbils as they can aspirate into his lungs. Instead, give your pet food with high water content like watermelon and/or soak the vegetables in water before you give them to your pet.
Those options will give them enough water that they will need. Also, make sure that their water bottle is working by squeezing them.
You have to either use a water bowl or water bottle for your Gerbils to drink. Personally, I would suggest using a water bottle so that you can measure how much they are drinking also it is easy for them to access. If you use a water bowl they may take a bath or the water may contain any flies since it is open.
Cleaning water bowl/water bottle
You need to clean your Gerbil’s water bottle or water dish every day. Bacteria can grow in a dirty water dish or water bottle and can contaminate the water within. Drinking that bacteria-infested water will definitely make your Gerbil sick.
- Wash the water bottle or water dish every day using soap and warm water.
- Every morning fill the clean bowl or the bottle with water.
- Remove any ring or buildup formed along the dish or bottle using vinegar or baking soda.
- Water bottles are a little harder to clean. You need to use a long narrow brush like the ones that are used to clean baby bottles that easily fit through the neck of the bottle. There are many wide neck bottles available in the market nowadays that are very easy to clean.
- If the bottle is not cleaned for a few days, you might witness the growth of algae in the bottle. Never use bleach in order to clean your bottles as residue from the bleach contaminates the water and messes up the Gerbil’s digestive system.
- This can cause your Gerbil to get extremely sick and may even result in death. Bleach will burn the stomach lining, intestinal tissue, mouth, and esophagus of your Gerbil.
You need to ensure that fresh water is always available for them when they feel thirsty. A gerbil that is not drinking enough water is going to be more likely to get sick, and the same applies to people. Topping up their water should be done more often if you’re feeding them dry food.