My Gerbil Is Dying What Should I Do? {How To Care For A Dying Gerbil}

The thought of losing your gerbil one day may have to become a reality today. How do you care for a dying gerbil? In this article, we’re going to take you through it together.

My Gerbil Is Dying What Should I Do? Create a comfortable and quiet location with plenty of nourishing, hand-fed treats for your sick or dying gerbil. Keep the temperature within 70-75°F and spend more time together. 

How Do You Care A Dying Gerbil?

A gerbil that is evidently dying, will need your help more than ever. Providing a comfortable space is by far the best thing you can do.

  • Fresh, soft bedding
  • Lights dim
  • Ideal temperature
  • Medication
  • Relocate noisy objects or other pets
  • Offer fresh foods

The process could last longer than expected. Recovery is possible. The acts of kindness at this time is acknowledged by your companion and the community of people who care for gerbils.

How Do I Know If My Gerbil Is Dying?

Death may happen out of nowhere. Other times you may see your gerbil getting weaker over the course of hours or days.

Their heart, lungs and overall bodies succumb to illness, disorders, seizures or complete organ failure. Do you notice any of these warning signs?

  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pale or discolored fur
  • Drinking less often
  • Remaining in one spot more often
  • Weight decrease 
  • Urinating or defecating on itself

What Should I Feed My Dying Gerbil?

If your gerbil is refusing to eat, the warning sign is present and illness, discomfort or looming death could be of concern. Try to offer smaller portions of fresh, nutritious food as treats.

Replace any stale or rotting food as soon as you spot them. Your gerbil may need more nutrients from:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Wholegrain bread
  • Small bits of cheese
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Apple slices
  • Bits of scrambled egg

Hand feed if you need to to. Your gerbil might be too weak to lift up the food. These could be lovely moments at the end to remember together.

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Should I Give My Gerbil Medicine?

A gerbil that is sick or simply living the last few days of its full life may experience pain. Sluggishness or lethargic behavior may indicate that your gerbil is hurting when it tries to move.

Pain medicine and antibiotic treatments will be suggested by a vet. Look if there are any signs below that show you something to make you feel that medication or a trip to the vet is needed:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Labored breathing
  • Aggressive biting
  • Limping
  • Excessive squeaking
  • Bleeding
  • Hiding
  • Sleeping all day

The choice to medicate or end any suffering that cannot be helped might have to be made sooner than later. These days are hard and many of us have felt the way you might be feeling about losing your companion.

What Do I Do When My Gerbil Dies?

Gerbils who share a cage with another gerbil that has just died may do unthinkable things. If they cannot hide their former cage mate, they may try to eat it.

The stress from getting exposed to potential predators during this time of perceived weakness, makes gerbil react with emergency measures to remove or bury their friend.

In your situation, you could consider the following steps:

  • Confirm death by checking for a heartbeat for the next 5-10 minutes. 
  • Remove your gerbil and separate it from other cage mates. 
  • Remove the bedding in the cage.
  • Use antibacterial cleaning agents in the cage.
  • Carefully place surviving cage mates back in.
  • Observe them carefully for signs of illness.

At this point, the choice is yours to place your deceased gerbil in a box and perform a burial. We are sorry for your loss.

How Do I Know That My Gerbil Is Sick?

Gerbils who are sick my not be able to make it much longer. They do not live very long and it’s up to us to notice their discomfort to try and help them live as long as 4-5 years.

Check to see if your gerbil is sick by noticing any signs below:

  • Squeaking
  • Biting
  • Runny eyes
  • Mucus from the nose
  • Fur loss
  • Bleeding
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy/Oversleeping
  • Unable to eat
  • Cold or hot temperatures

Check to see that the cage temperature is within 70-75°F. Gerbils can get heat stroke or hypothermia much faster when they are ill. Keep them away from drafty areas or vents.

Do Gerbils Bury Their Dead?

Gerbils are clean and careful in their habitat. They do not wish to expose their location with a decomposing body next to them. It’s important to keep their scent hidden from predators.

The deceased gerbil should be buried. This may get mimicked in your enclosure that you have set up with bedding. The gerbil survivors may hide it or naturally seek to bury the one that has died.

Desperation under circumstances where burial is not an option may lead to gerbils eating their deceased cage mate. Remove the body as soon as possible and consider burying it in a setting of your choosing.


This is the time to enjoy the final moments of your gerbil’s life. Once you are sure that the symptoms of illness are present, it’s important to create the best possible situation for your gerbil to say goodbye.

The bedding could be extra soft and the treats could be extra tasty. We appreciate the sensitivity of this moment and hope that this article provided some helpful tips during this difficult time.


Thank you for visiting for information regarding gerbils and plenty of other pets that we greatly enjoy caring for. Please check out more articles that may interest you. See you next time.