The thought of taking your gerbil outside has crossed your mind. It is natural and thoughtful to want your pet to enjoy the outside and not be cooped up in their cage all day every day.
But, can a gerbil go on walks just like dogs? Is it essential for their well-being? Should you do it?
We provide you with the answers and all you need to know about gerbils and taking walks.
Can Gerbils Go On Walks?
Gerbils should not go on walks. Although Gerbil leashes and harnesses exist, walking your gerbil is not ideal as it presents various avoidable risks. Leash walking a gerbil puts them at risk of being snatched up by a predator, getting loose, injured, or getting over-stressed.
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Do Gerbils Need to Go On Walks?
Gerbils do not need to go on walks! An exercise wheel, a hamster ball, and various climbing equipment and obstacles offer your gerbil plenty of opportunity to exercise.
If you are concerned about giving your gerbil the opportunity for unconfined exercise, do not be. Unconfined exercise provides too much opportunity for your gerbil to escape and get injured.
Also, consider that gerbils are not used to being leashed for walks, and their first instinct will be to escape the harness.
If your gerbil does not escape their harness, they may not even know what to do once you harness and leash them. This confusion can lead to your gerbil refusing to walk, and pulling them to coax them to walk can only injure them.
Risks of Taking A Gerbil For A Walk
Walking your gerbil on a leash puts them at risk of getting snatched up by a predator like birds of prey, dogs, and cats.
Unfortunately, when you attach your gerbil to a leash, if a predator does attempt to attack, your gerbil is tied to you and cannot escape.
Walking a gerbil on a leash also poses a significant escape risk. Anyone who has had a gerbil will tell you that these critters can escape anything, and that includes a harness and leash!
If your gerbil escapes their harness and leash while walking, there is little hope that you will get them back.
Risk of Injury
The risk of injury is another valid concern with using a harness and leash on a gerbil. Firstly, the structure of a harness and leash can put excess strain on your gerbil’s back and cause lifelong injury and pain.
A harness and leash also pose a risk of death or broken bones because the gerbil is so small and fragile.
Often pet owners habitually use a leash as they would with a dog, and unfortunately, this applies far too much force and can break your gerbil’s back or cause other significant and painful health problems.
As if this risk of injury were not enough, when walking your gerbil on a harness and leash, there is a chance that they might get stepped on!
Risk of Stress
Lastly, the harness and leash also have the potential of putting your gerbil under a considerable amount of stress.
Gerbils are not animals that are accustomed to harnessing, and simply putting a harness on your gerbil is enough to stress them to an unhealthy point.
Although gerbils do not suddenly die of stress, they can experience seizures when they experience shock. Repeated shocks can cause repeated seizures which can lead to brain damage or death.
Harnesses and leashes are available for small animals like the gerbil, but walking your gerbil is not safe. Therefore you should not do it. Pet gerbils do not need to go outside.
Walking your gerbil can put them at serious risk which is not worth it. Your gerbil can have a healthy fulfilling life within their cage by having other safer alternatives for entertainment and exercise.
Provide your gerbil with the chew toys, balls, a wheel, climbing frames, and overall good care. This will make them happy and thrive within their cage without exposing them to the risks of being outside.