Have you noticed that your gerbil pee smells so badly? Do you wonder why it is so and if there’s anything you can do to stop the pee smell? In this article, you’ll learn everything you should know.
Gerbil pee smells due to the presence of urea which is also known as carbamide. Once they pee, bacteria begin to act on the urea and break it down to ammonia, a stinky substance.
Why does my gerbil’s pee smell so bad?
Your gerbil pee could smell so bad if it is dehydrated or has an underlying medical condition like diabetes or kidney disease. It could also be due to a diet change, or you just introduced them to a new feed.
Gerbils pee could stink due to bacteria action on the urea in their urine, but if the smell gets too much, there could be something fishy. Therefore, below are common reasons why your gerbil pee could smell so bad:
- Medical conditions
- Diet change and medication
- Unclean cage
If your gerbil doesn’t take enough water, it might become dehydrated, and its urine may begin to smell so badly. Urea, a compound in Gerbil’s urine and the urine of several other mammals, requires a copious amount of water to dilute. If the dilution is poor, its concentration in urine will be high. Therefore, when such gerbil pee, bacteria act on the concentrated urea, converting it into ammonia and giving off a foul smell.
2. Medical conditions
Specific ailments like kidney disease, urinary tract infection, and diabetes could make gerbils urine smell bad. Since the kidney is responsible for filtering urine, if it is unhealthy, many substances that ought to be retained in the body will be allowed to pass and dilute in urine, increasing the urine concentration.
With a raised urine concentration, you should expect a bad smell. Also, if your pet suffers from urinary tract infection (UTI), its urine might smell bad due to bacteria action on the bladder.
3. Diet change and medication
If you noticed your gerbil urine smelling so badly after recently changing their feeds or subjecting them to a new medication, that could be the reason for the smell. The side effects of some gerbil medication are badly smelling urine.
4. Unclean cage
A pileup of urine in your gerbil cage could give off a foul smell. Such buildup invites bacteria which may begin to act on the urine, giving off a bad smell.
What can I do to stop the gerbil pee smell?
To ensure your gerbil urine doesn’t smell, you should ensure that the pet is well hydrated by supplying it with enough water. You should also seek medical attention if it has medical problems like kidney disease.
Gerbil’s urine doesn’t smell bad in normal circumstances. Therefore, as a pet owner, if you find the urine of your beautiful little pet smells so badly, and you wish to stop it from smelling, you must first identify the cause of the smell.
If the smell has been occurring for a while, you should review how often you fill its water bottle with water. If the water isn’t enough, you must change your approach and begin to fill it more often. If the smell is caused by dehydration, this method should resolve it, and the urine shouldn’t smell foul anymore.
If you recently changed its diet or you subjected it to a specific medication, you may want to change the food, perhaps for a few days, to observe if the smell will stop. If the diet change causes the smell, changing the food should take care of that. On the other hand, if your vet recommended the medication you subjected the pet to, you should speak to the vet about the pee smell. Your vet will tell you if it’s a side effect of the drug. If it is, the smell will stop when you stop giving your pet the drug.
In situations where a medical condition is an underlying factor causing the smell, you may require professional help. Speaking to your vet is the solution in this regard. He may subject your pet to some tests to confirm what medical condition causes the smell, perhaps they have one of the following conditions
- Kidney Disease
- Urinary Tract Infection
Once identified, he can prescribe the proper medication to use. Sometimes, it may require surgery. Once the medical condition is treated, the pee will stop smelling.
You may also want to clean your pet cage to rid it of any urine buildup. The pet might not have any problem; the smell might come from bacteria acting on the urine buildup in the cage. In that case, you should do general cleaning.
How often should a gerbil pee
Gerbils don’t urinate often, and even when they urinate, it’s only a few drops. As a desert animal, its body is designed to store water for later use rather than excreting it.
Unlike other mammals that excrete all unused water in their system, gerbil stores them and excrete little. Perhaps you often find rat urine in your clothes or the food items in your kitchen, and you assume all rodents excrete that much urine. It may be true for some rodents, but not gerbil.
Unlike many other rodents, Gerbil’s body is designed to withstand desert climate where there’s water scarcity. Therefore, even when the beautiful rodent is in captivity, and there’s enough water to drink, the body will still manage water and only excrete very little but highly concentrated urine. Rather than excreting, it stores the water, hoping to fall back to it when there’s water scarcity.
Their poo is also not watery since they try to conserve water. Instead, they excrete small, dry, pellet-shaped feces. For most other mammals, the more water they drink, the more urine they excrete. That is not the case with gerbils. Even when they drink a lot, they urinate a little.
However, some conditions might cause your gerbil to abstain from the norm and urinate more often. Such conditions include:
- Kidney disease
- Urinary tract infection such as the action of bacteria on the bladder
How to clean gerbil pee in their cage
If your gerbil pee in its cage, you can clean the cage by scooping out the shavings affected by the urine. However, if you have many gerbils in the cage and the bedding is soaked by urine, you should do general cleaning.
When gerbil pee, the urine drains down the shaving in their cage, leaving them with a dry surface to walk on. In some cases, they might pee on the accessories in their cage, including the shelves, toys, hides, wheel, and even the sand bath. In that case, you should do what pet owners call “spot cleaning.”
It requires taking out all the accessories and washing them in a solution of water and mild dish soap. After washing, you should dry the accessories and put them back in the cage. If you find any urine stain in the tank, you should wipe it out with a cleaner.
You can also do a general cleaning by following the steps below:
- Relocating the Gerbils
- Removing everything in the gerbilium
- Washing and disinfecting the gerbilium using a food-safe or pet-safe disinfectant
- Washing and sterilizing the cage accessories
- Replacing their bedding