WRITTEN BY CYNTHIA KURTZ | EDITED BY GRETA KRATZ
While we are all hanging out by the pool this summer, it can be easy to forget that our little friends are hot too! Here are some tips to keep everyone cool as a cucumber this summer.
One: Invest In Chin-Chillers
Chin-Chillers are slabs of stone available at your local pet store or on Amazon. They are made specifically for chinchillas, but they are great for any small pet. Because they are stone, they stay relatively cool to the touch even when it’s hot out. Place one of these in or next to your gerbils’ cage to give them a cool spot to rest. The stone will absorb some of their body heat, allowing them to cool off.
To save money, instead of buying a slab from the pet store, you can visit your local Lowe’s or Home Depot. There you can often buy individual marble tiles for less than $3 – $4, and an employee will even cut the tile smaller for you! One tile can usually get you 2-4 chillers.
On a really hot day, just stick your chiller in the fridge and then give it to your gerbils to cool them down!
Two: Location, Location, Location
Try and keep your gerbil cages in a cooler part of the house. That often is the basement, but make sure there is enough light and ventilation down there. You wouldn’t want to just leave your gerbils in a dark and damp room the whole summer! A finished basement is perfect. Avoid keeping gerbils and other pets in or near the kitchen – cooking often leads to this being the hottest place in the house.
Fans can also be your best friend! A room with a fan in the window can be quite comfortable for you and your gerbils. However, be careful with air conditioners. Remember that gerbils are a desert dwelling species, and there is such a thing as too cold.
Three: Fruits and Veggies
Gerbils love their fresh fruits and vegetables, and if you keep them refrigerated they’re perfect to take out mid-afternoon when it’s really hot for a refreshing treat! Some good produce to try are carrots, strawberries, cucumbers, or melon. As always, check to make sure anything you feed your gerbils is clean, and safe for them to eat. Lettuce and watermelon have too much water and should be avoided. And remember. these are treats, so give them only in moderation!
Four: And As Always, Hydrate
Make sure your gerbils’ water bottles are kept full and clean! Gerbils often drink a lot more than usual during the hot summer months, just like people. Keeping an eye out for empty or leaking water bottles is crucial, and refilling a bottle fresh, cool water will surely be appreciated.
And remember, these tips are not just for gerbils, but all pets! Hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas, degus, and even dogs and cats appreciate a little extra help having a safe, cool, comfortable summer.