If you plan to leave your gerbil for a few days they can look after them self as long as they have enough resources such as food and water. So how long can gerbils go without water?
They will survive for around 4 – 7 days without any water. They get a lot of the water they need from their food, but it is important that they drink around 3-5ml of water a day.
In the wild gerbils are desert animals and are use to not drinking much water, They will also get most of their water from the food that they eat.
Having said that domestic gerbils need to drink frequently to keep them healthy.
If you plan on leaving your gerbil for a few days do the following with the water in their cage
- Add a Second Water Bottle : This way if the first water bottle runs out of water they will have a backup source. Also the first water bottle could develop a leak or malfunction while you are away so adding a second bottle is important. Example here of a water bottle that malfunctioned while the owner was away.
- Clean And Change Water : Before you go away empty the water bottle and give it a good clean, this will reduce the risk of bacteria growing in the water bottle.
- Don’t Place In Direct Sunlight : It is very important not to place the water bottle in direct sun light during the day. Direct sun light will accelerate the growth of bacteria and algae, both of which will make your gerbil sick.
- Check For Signs Of Blockage : Make sure there is nothing in the bottle that could block the water, I recommend to refill the bottle then watch your gerbil drink from it after it has been replaced to make sure they are getting water from it with no issues
- Get Someone To Check Every Few Days : There is nothing worse than worrying about your gerbils while you are away. If possible get someone to drop in every other day to check on them. You could also install a webcam in the cage if you want to keep an eye on them remotely.
How Often Do Gerbils Drink Water?
The amount of water a gerbil drinks is different with each one. However
Gerbils will drink around 4ml of water every day. It is also ok for them to drink between 3ml to 5ml a day, If they regularly drink more or less than this amount they might have some health issue.
The most common health issues will include
- Kidney Failure
- Tyzzer’s Disease
Why Is My Gerbil Drinking So Much Water?
Gerbils typically do not drink much water, so if they are drinking a lot of water it might be a sign of an issue.
If your gerbil is drinking a lot of water it could be a sign of kidney failure, diabetes or Tyzzer’s disease. If this is the case you should take them to see the vet as soon as possible.
Other reasons include
- Diet Change : If your gerbils diet has changed recently this can also have an affect on the increased water they are taking in. Wait a few days with the new diet to see if the amount they drink goes down.
- Cage To Hot : Is the cage to hot? A hot gerbil will drink more water to replace the water they are losing from being to hot.
- Illness : If your gerbil is sick it might drink more water in an effort to beat the illness
- Water Bottle Leaking : It is possible the bottle is leaking and your gerbil is not actually drinking that much water.
How Can I Tell If My Gerbil Is Dehydrated?
Gerbils drink very little water compared to their rodent equivalents. They will also get a lot of their required water from their food.
If your gerbil is dehydrated it will by lying limp in its cage hardly moving around.
If you believe your gerbil is dehydrated there are a few things which you can do for them
- Make sure to keep them away from a warm area
- Make sure their cage is not in direct sunlight
- Check the water bottle has plenty of water in it, and is not broken or blocked
- Replace the water in the water bottle
After checking all of these points monitor for a a day and take to a vet if the situation has not improved.
How Do I Get My Gerbils To Drink Water?
Are you worried that your gerbil is not getting enough water?
Gerbils do not need much water to survive and can also live of the water in the food they eat, especially if they eat foods that contain a lot of water such as fruits and vegetables.
- Feed Them Food With High Water Content : Most fruits and vegetables will contain around 70% water content. Having said that your gerbil should not consume all of its water from foods.
- Keep Water Bottle Full : It is important to have a water bottle full of clean water in their cage at all times
- Clean Water Bottle : Every time you clean the water bottle give it a clean, if it smells it might put them off drinking from it
- Introduce a Water Bowl : More information below
Can Gerbils Drink Out Of A Water Bowl?
Are you thinking of adding a water bowl to your gerbil cage but you are not sure if it is a good idea?
It is perfectly safe for a gerbil to drink out of a water bowl, in fact it is a more natural way for them to drink water compared to a water bottle.
Advantages Of Drinking From a Bowl Include
- Less Stress On Neck : Drinking out of a bowl also puts less stress on the gerbils neck which should help them in the long term.
- More Natural Way To Drink : Gerbils will prefer to drink from a bowl over a water bottle
- Quicker and Easier : It is simply quicker and easier for them to drink from a bowl
Disadvantages Of Drinking From a Bowl Include
- Dirty : The water in the bowl is more likely to get dirty quicker,
- Frequent Water Changes : You will be required to clean it out every other day
- Splash : The water can splash in to your cage and get the inside of the cage wet (Keep bowl away from bedding if possible)
Can Gerbils Drink Milk?
Have you been thinking about giving milk to your gerbil? Can gerbils drink milk?
Gerbils are lactose intolerant which means they can not consume dairy products which includes milk. The milk will upset the gerbils tummy and make them very unfomftable.
Gerbils can eat dairy products in small amounts, They can tolerate it and probably enjoy the taste. But it is recommended not to feed them any dairy products at all.