Steps on how to give a gerbil a bath

Steps on how to give a gerbil a bath, Gerbils are almost odorless pets, but they still require cleaning. Some pets, like humans, require water baths to stay clean and odor-free. Gerbils, on the other hand, require sand baths.’

Water baths cause gerbils to lose essential molecules from their coats, which can lead to skin problems; for this reason, water baths should only be used in an emergency, such as when a gerbil has something stuck in their hair that could be dangerous.

We’ll look at how gerbils clean themselves, how to create a gerbil sand bath, and how often your gerbil should use it. We’ll go over how to clean your gerbil’s spots.

Steps on how to give a gerbil a bath
Steps on how to give a gerbil a bath

Steps on how to give a gerbil a bath

Giving a gerbil a sand bath isn’t tough, and it’s certainly not comparable to bathing a dog with water. Only a few items are required: a bath (bowl, container, etc.) and specific sand. The following step-by-step instructions will show you how to provide a sand bath.

Fill a small glass or ceramic bowl with sand

The bowl should be sufficiently enormous so your gerbils can bear upping and rolling in the sand. Ensure the sand in the basin is at least 2.5 cm (1′′). The sand can also be sterilized, but this isn’t always essential.

Ensure you obtain sand instead of dust, as the dust has been associated with respiratory issues.

You can’t just use any sand for your gerbil’s sand bath. It must be pure, filtered, and of high quality. Builder’s sand and sand collected directly from the beach are not suitable.

Choose sand that has been specially designated as animal-friendly. Zoo Med ReptiSand is a good brand. It is good quality and suitable for rats, although it is branded for reptiles.


Calcium sand should not be purchased. This is not the same as ordinary sand, and it is not suitable for gerbils.

Play sand, which is developed for children’s sandboxes, is another option. It has been vetted and meets a high level. Sand that has been colored should be avoided.

Place the bowl in the gerbil cage

Place the sand bath in a cage that is easily accessible. A ramp or ladder can be used to make it accessible. Make sure it can’t topple over and that your gerbils can get in and out easily.

Leave the bowl in the cage for 3 to 25 minutes

Bathing your gerbils does not need much time, but they must do so. Some gerbils may not take a bath and instead urinate or poo. If you choose a permanent sand bath, there is no need to remove it. If not, take it out after 25 minutes.

Remove the bowl and clean it

The cage’s temporary sand bath should be removed. You can either sift the sand and reuse the clean sand (after sterilizing it) or start over with new sand. Use a pet-safe detergent to clean the entire bowl.

When it comes to your gerbil’s sand bath, you should never “assist” him. By assisting, I mean pouring sand on your gerbil. It will irritate your gerbils because they can easily clean themselves by rolling in the sand.

What sand can you use for a gerbil sand bath?

You can give your gerbils a sand bath using various types of sand. The most common option is Chinchilla sand or similar sand developed for bathing tiny pets. Gerbils should never be given dust. The best sand has no silica and is dye-free.

Most commercial sand for washing chinchillas, hamsters, and gerbils contains or is labeled as one of the following compounds:

  • silica
  • quartz
  • calcium
  • sepiolite
  • aragonite
  • volcanic pumice

When you check around on forums and read reviews of various sands, dust, or powders, you’ll realize little consensus on which sand to use for a gerbil sand bath.

Silica or calcium-based products are generally not advised.

  • Dust or airborne silica can cause cancer and other health problems in humans. Inhalation by small creatures like gerbils has also been linked to health problems, mainly respiratory disorders.
  • When calcium sand is consumed, it can cause problems, and it is also dustier.

Sepiolite is a soft clay mineral that some say should not be used as sand in a sand bath.

Many people believe that aragonite (calcium carbonate) and sterilized play sand are the safest options for gerbil sand baths. Quartz sand, according to others, is also safe to use. Make sure your gerbils don’t eat the sand in any situation.

Although there is considerable debate about which sand is best for gerbils’ sand bath, you should never use:

  • builder’s sand
  • beach sand
  • kinetic (play) sand

How Frequently Do Gerbils Require Sand Baths?

Sand baths are required for most gerbils once a week. If your gerbil gets dirty more frequently, you can give him a sand bath more often. Fur that is black or darker in color tends to get greasy more rapidly.

Steps on how to give a gerbil a bath
Steps on how to give a gerbil a bath

Fill the container with clean sand and place it in the gerbilarium to give it a sand bath. Your gerbil will most likely inspect the new object and readily climb in. It should start rolling around in the sand once it learns what it’s for.

You can urge your gerbil to inspect the bath if it isn’t interesting. Gently lift your gerbil from behind the mat and set it in the bath.

Do not attempt to “assist” your gerbil in bathing. You don’t have to throw sand on your gerbil or interfere. If you do, you risk getting sand in its eyes, which would be extremely unpleasant.

You don’t have to keep an eye on your gerbil as it bathes, but you can if you want to. Remove the bath from the enclosure after 5 to 25 minutes and clean it.

Some gerbil owners use the sand bath as a permanent fixture in the gerbilarium. Your gerbil will not get harmed. However, your gerbil may use its bath as a toilet, so clean it periodically.

Does My Gerbil Need Water Baths?

No, gerbils do not need water bath. Like other gerbil species, Mongolian gerbils are native to desert climates with minimal rainfall.

Gerbils in their natural habitat will not have consistent access to water and will not clean themselves with water. Instead, they’ve learned to clean their fur and remove extra oils using sand.

This means that gerbils should never be bathed in water. A water bath has only disadvantages. It may, for example, result in:


Gerbils are capable of swimming. However, they are not accustomed to it (and do not swim in their natural habitat). Water bathing your gerbils will stress them out. They will attempt to swim to safety and not appreciate being kept in the water. As you surely know, stress can create health problems in gerbils, with seizures being one of the most noticeable.

Respiratory problems

Water exposure can disrupt the gerbil’s coat’s thermoregulation, resulting in pneumonia.

Overproduction of oils

Removing skin and hair oils with water can cause excessive oil secretion from your gerbil’s glands, resulting in skin irritation and bacterial infections.


If a sand bath isn’t enough to clean your gerbils’ fur, you can spot-clean it. A water bath, on the other hand, is not recommended. Wipe in the direction of the hair follicles with a slightly damp, unscented (chemical-free) tissue or baby wipe. Avoid rubbing too hard and eliminate the dirt as quickly as possible.

What kind of bath can you use for a gerbil sand bath?

Ceramic or glass should be used for the bath. Your gerbils will chew on a plastic bath if you use one. The bath should have a flat foundation, be large enough (15 cm / 5.9′′ in diameter), have sides to keep the sand in, and a broad aperture to easily get in and out.

Many objects can be used to bathe your gerbils. The following are the most prevalent choices:

  • glass jars
  • ceramic feeding bowls

Special sand baths are also available in pet stores. However, they are usually made of plastic and cost more than a typical glass jar. My suggestion is to use a glass candy jar that is large enough and suitable for gerbils.

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