We may earn an affiliate commission if you purchase through our links. As an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Why Does My Gerbil Keep Sneezing? (What I Really Means)

Sneezing from a gerbil can sound strange and cause concern about why it is happening and whether it will pass on its own if it is a sign of something serious, or what you can do for your gerbil.

Keep reading to find out the reason your cute and cuddly friend is sneezing and what you can do to help your gerbil feel better.

Here’s Why A Gerbil Keeps Sneezing 

There are only a few reasons why your gerbil might be sneezing. Sneezing is a symptom of a cold, an allergic reaction, or an upper respiratory infection.

Reasons Why A Gerbil Keeps Sneezing

Allergic Reactions

Like humans, gerbils can be susceptible to an allergic reaction. Your gerbil has sensitive nasal passages and their noses are easily irritated. 

Triggers of allergies include some air fresheners, the use of the wrong bedding such as cedar and pine wood shaving which irritates the nasal passages causing allergies.

Paper or aspen bedding is good for gerbils with allergies.


The symptoms of a gerbil with allergies include coughing and sneezing.

If your gerbil also has a runny nose, wheezing breath, and crusty or watery eyes. It could be an allergic reaction. Your gerbil may also exhibit dull eyes or half-closed lids.

Keep in mind that gerbil mucus is a red color, it may also be a thick consistency. It may look like your gerbil has a bloody nose.

Upper Respiratory Infection

Sneezing could be a sign that your gerbil has an upper respiratory infection. An upper respiratory infection is a serious illness, usually treated with antibiotics.

The causes of gerbil respiratory infection include poor ventilation, overcrowding in the cage which leads to the rapid spread of infection, and poor diet which makes them susceptible to acquiring infections.

Symptoms: Is Your Gerbil Making a Clicking Sound?

Unlike the other cute sounds, your friend makes, a clicking sound is not a good gerbil sound. Gerbils make a clicking sound when they have a respiratory infection, which means their lungs are moist.

This is one of the main symptoms that indicate that a gerbil has a respiratory infection.

Gerbils are naturally curious animals. They like to play and explore their environments. If your furry pal is lethargic and seems to be just sitting around watching life go by, they may need to see the vet.

The other symptoms of respiratory infection in gerbils include weight loss, poor coat condition, loss of an appetite, sneezing, labored breathing, wheezing, red eyes and due to and strained red eyes due to profiling excessive profiling production.

Colds and Coughs

It is possible for gerbils to get colds and coughs, just like humans. If your gerbil is sneezing it may have a cold.

If you have a cough or a cold yourself, try not to hold your gerbil if you can avoid it. You do not want to pass your illness to your friend.

Another cause of colds in gerbils is if you have introduced another pet in your home that may have been carrying the illness. Colds are very contagious and your gerbil can get infected by another pet.

Dirty or dusty bedding can also bring about a cold. Dust causes irritation of the nasal passages and leads to sneezing in a gerbil.

It is important to regularly clean your gerbil’s cage to get rid of dust and also use the right bedding which lacks chemicals or dust.

The symptoms of a gerbil with a cold include a running nose, sneezing, and wheezing.

When one of your gerbils gets a cold, isolate them from their cage mates. This prevents the spread of the infection. 

If the symptoms of a cold persist after 2 to 3 days, take your gerbil to the veterinarian to be examined.

Other Signs of Sickness to Look Out For When a Gerbil is Sneezing

Eating is not regular

If you notice that your gerbil is not eating as much as it usually does, or notice a change in weight, your gerbil might not be feeling well.

Heavy Breathing 

A gerbil breathing heavily or with an open mouth, as well as struggling to breathe is a sign a cough or cold has turned into a serious illness.

Isolation from the group

A sick gerbil will isolate itself away from its cage mates. If you notice your gerbils are not playing together anymore, one of them may be feeling ill.

What To Do About Gerbil Sneezing

When you notice your gerbil sneezing and the appearance of other symptoms, first separate your gerbil from their cage mates. 

This will minimize the spread of infection if this is the underlying cause of the sneezing and not the type of bedding. 

To help rule out an allergic reaction, change your gerbil’s bedding and observe your gerbil’s reaction. 

Contact your veterinarian if your gerbil continues to sneeze because allergy-like symptoms could be indicative of a more serious disease rather than actual allergies.

If your gerbil is receiving antibiotic treatment from the veterinarian, they should be placed in a separate environment until they finish the entire course of treatment.


A gerbil sneezing can be a concern especially if it is constant and occurring with other symptoms. 

Check the type of bedding you have for them to see if it is the cause of the sneezing and seek medical attention for determination of any underlying problems.


Gerbil Health

Gerbil Illnesses