Your new gerbil sits in her cage and looks at you expectantly, anxious to roam about - and it's a good idea to let her out on occasion. If you do, however, take some time to safety check your household so that your pet is secure while you're playing together. After all, it's a big world out of the cage, and your gerbil is quite vulnerable in it. Even inside her cage, there are potential dangers that require you to take basic safety measures and precautions so that she's in a safe environment.
Prior to bringing your gerbil home, print out the Caged Gerbil Checklist and run through it. Print out and post the Roaming Gerbil Checklist above her cage and examine it each time you let her out. This is an especially good practice for the younger members of the family.
Caged Gerbil Checklist
Inside her cage, did you remember to:
- Check your cage material to ensure that it's free of lead?
- Eliminate holes or areas where your gerbil could chew her way to freedom?
- Eliminate or cover all-wire flooring so that your gerbil doesn't catch her claws or injure her paws and limbs?
- Make sure the cage wiring is narrow enough so that your gerbil can't slip through - or get caught in it?
- Ensure your pet's cage is not painted?
- Move your gerbil's cage away from direct sunlight?
- Place your gerbil's cage away from drafts and air conditioning vents?
- Make sure the room has a constant temperature?
- Use only non-chemically treated wood inside the cage?
- Purchase greens and vegetables free of pesticides?
- Ensure that water bottles are secured to the side of the cage and poised well clear of litter and bedding?
- Place your gerbil's cage in an area where she won't be disturbed or frightened by pets or other animals?
- Disinfect your gerbil's cage and discard and replace the bedding at least once a week?
- Cover the cage floor with a 1-2 inch layer of bedding such as wood shavings, pelleted or recycled materials?
Roaming Gerbil Checklist
Outside her cage, did you remember to:
- Close doors and windows before letting your pet outside the cage?
- Minimize noise and distractions that could traumatize your pet?
- Block access for other pets and animals?
- Hide or unplug all wires?
- Ensure that the area is free of herbicides and pesticides?
- Put away any and all medicines?
- Check the location of your gerbil before closing closets or drawers?
- Remove markers, cleaning fluids and other chemicals from where your pet can reach?
- Remove all sharp objects that your gerbil may have access to?
- Let the other household members know your gerbil is out of the cage?
- Put up wire mesh in front of any escape routes such as hot air vents?