Unfortunately, in the life of every gerbil sooner or later also the time of dying has come.
As sad as it is, as a pet owner you have to face this fate,
In this article we will show you the 7 most common signs by which you can recognize that your gerbil is about to die. In addition, we reveal how you can make this time as pleasant as possible for your mouse.
7 signs that your gerbil will soon die
Unfortunately, gerbils are one of those pets that have a short life expectancy compared to dogs, chinchillas, rabbits and the like.
At around three years of age, a gerbil is already considered old and you will have to slowly adjust to the fact that your pet will probably pass away in the next few weeks or months.
However, some specimens can grow much older. Even five years is not uncommon.
So that the death of your beloved pet does not come quite so suddenly for you, you find here now seven signs that your gerbil is in the last phase of life.
- loss of appetite and changed drinking behavior
With increasing age the appetite decreases more and more.
While your gerbil used to pounce enthusiastically on fresh food, now it may only lift its head wearily.
You will also notice a change in drinking behavior: Your gerbil drinks in old age, comparatively little to nothing more.
Therefore, you should feed your gerbil more fresh food, such as cucumber or carrots, in order to provide him with the necessary fluids.
- dull and empty look
The older your pet gets, the duller its eyes become.
It is not uncommon for conjunctivitis, cataracts, or other eye diseases to develop, which can eventually lead to blindness in your pet.
If you notice changes in your gerbil’s vision, you should definitely consult a veterinarian to possibly prevent blindness.
However, it is completely normal that the eyesight decreases with age. Therefore, blurred vision is often a symptom of old age that cannot be completely avoided.
The best way to support your pet is to not change the enclosure setup any more, thus giving your gerbil the best possible orientation.
Also make sure that the litter is not too dusty, otherwise the eyes will be unnecessarily irritated.
- frequent withdrawal / apathy
Gerbils are by nature very active and curious animals that like to explore their surroundings, gnaw and nibble a little here and there and like to stick their nose everywhere.
So it’s all the more shocking when your gerbil becomes more and more withdrawn, sleeps most of the day and shows comparatively little interest in its surroundings.
You really have to worry, however, when your gerbil no longer wants to come out of its nest or shelter and shows not only little, but no interest at all in typical activities.
- dull coat
Another sign that your pet is aging is its coat.
While the fur of a young and healthy gerbil looks silky, soft and shiny, the fur of older animals usually looks a bit dull and sometimes even sticky.
This is due to the fact that older animals find it difficult to groom their fur and can no longer clean themselves as extensively as they did when they were younger.
Ideally, the conspecifics care for the fur of the old animal now and then with.
You can also support your gerbil a little by taking extra care that your pet can get all the nutrients it needs from its food.
Attention: If your gerbil shows other symptoms besides the dull coat, there might be a disease behind the coat change, which should be checked by a veterinarian.
- strained, fast breathing
Have you ever observed your gerbil sitting quietly in a corner, literally breathing in and out the air?
This shallow breathing is usually a sign of stress or illness.
So if your gerbil shows this kind of breathing, you can be sure that your animal is not well at the moment. The body is working at full speed, which means a lot of effort for your gerbil.
You will also be able to observe this breathing shortly before the animal dies. At some point your gerbil will suddenly take a last deep breath and die afterwards.
- weight loss
Due to the reduced appetite and the sometimes complete refusal of food, sooner or later weight loss will inevitably occur.
If you notice that your gerbil loses weight, you can try to counteract this problem by targeted peeling. However, such measures should never be done on your own, but only after consultation with a veterinarian.
It may also be enough to give your gerbil one or two more favorite treats to prevent weight loss. However, you should not overdo it, because overweight also has negative consequences, especially in old age!
- the animals have hardly control over their bladder
Bladder problems are not uncommon in older gerbils.
Both bladder weakness and recurrent bladder infections may indicate that your pet’s life is coming to an end.
If your pet is in his last breaths, then there is often no control over the bladder at all. As a result, your pet may well wet himself. Also defecation can occur and is not uncommon.
There is nothing you can really do about it, except to make sure that you sprinkle the enclosure with very absorbent material.
Now that you know what signs may indicate the impending death of your pet, let’s look at how you can make the dying process as comfortable as possible for your gerbil.
7 tips for you: How can you make dying as comfortable as possible for your animals?
Tip 1: Provide a quiet environment
Gerbils are very susceptible to stress and have excellent hearing.
Since noise is known to cause stress, you should make sure that the animal or the enclosure is in a very quiet environment, especially during the last phase of your gerbil’s life.
Tip 2: Pamper your gerbil with treats
When you realize that your gerbil doesn’t have long to live, it’s less about health and more about having a last good time with as many great moments as possible.
Therefore it is absolutely legitimate to spoil your gerbil with his favorite treats during this time.
In spite of everything, make sure that the food is as balanced as possible.
Fresh treats such as pumpkin, fennel, carrot, sunflower seeds, pears and apples are especially popular.
Tip 3: Administer painkillers if necessary.
It is not uncommon for old animals to be plagued by illness and pain.
Pain is especially obvious if your gerbil is writhing, squeaking, limping, breathing with noticeable strain, or suddenly acting aggressively.
In this case, your first trip should be to the veterinarian immediately to diagnose the condition and discuss treatment with pain medication. The painkiller Metacam is particularly well suited for gerbils, as this medication can be administered daily over an extended period of time.
Tip 4: Create a comfortable room temperature
The ideal room temperature is between 15 °C and 25 °C.
The older your pet is, the faster it cools down, which is why temperatures between 20 °C and 25 °C are recommended. In addition, you should make sure that your gerbil can nestle deep in the hay when it feels the need to do so.
Tip 5: Give your gerbil extra affection
If you have a good and deep bond with your pet, there’s nothing wrong with giving your pet extra attention during its last time on this earth.
Actively engage with your gerbil, let it crawl around on your hand, allow it secured free run and do anything that could give your gerbil a bit more quality of life.
Tip 6: Do not harass your pet
Old gerbils need a lot of rest and recuperation, so you will find that your pet will withdraw more when you want to spend time with him.
You should absolutely accept this withdrawal and hold back as well!
It’s best to wait until your gerbil wants to get in touch with you and don’t push him to do things he doesn’t want to do.
In addition, you should not wake up your gerbil from sleep, unless it can not be avoided!
Tip 7: Talk to your gerbil
Talking in a calm voice can help your mouse calm down and feel safe and secure.
Also, by talking to your gerbil, you reduce the risk that your gerbil will be unnecessarily frightened by your presence, after all, their eyes don’t work as well as they used to as they get older.
Since gerbils are flight animals, any sudden change can cause panic.
What to do if the gerbil has died?
In any case, leave the animal in the enclosure for a few more hours so that the other group members can say goodbye to your gerbil.
If you now own a single animal, you should get a second mouse as soon as possible, because gerbils are very sociable and not made for life in solitary confinement.
Wrap the dead mouse in a kitchen towel and bury the animal in the garden or in the forest – but make sure that you dig the grave deep enough so that the gerbil is not dug up again by other wild animals.
Note: This is not allowed if your garden is located in a water or nature reserve.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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