Tips for Giving Oral Medications to a Gerbil
Luckily, those days are over, and today, I have very little trouble giving a gerbil medicine if he or she needs it. I'll try to explain the method I use, and hopefully you can find some techniques here that you can use if you ever need to help a sick gerbil.
One way to give a gerbil oral medication
After giving a gerbil medication, give him a couple of minutes to crawl on you as a reward for taking his medicine.
Instead, try a method similar to the one pictured to the right. I like to sit on a chair and place my gerbil on my left leg. I gently roll the gerbil onto his side on my leg and — again, gently — hold him against my leg, using only the palm of my left hand. The idea is to hold the gerbil firmly yet gently. This is much less frightening for your gerbil than being grasped in your fist and held in the air. Holding your gerbil against your leg comes closer to the way that gerbils “pin"” each other when grooming them.
Once the gerbil is held firmly but gently against my leg, I give him the medicine, directing it toward my gerbil's cheek rather than the back of the throat. This also helps to prevent choking or drowning on medication.
Here's one of the most important parts: Unless your gerbil is very ill, give him or her some playtime afterwards. You can see in the photo to the right that I let Polo run around on my legs for a couple of minutes as a reward for taking his medicine. :)
By the way, my vet also taught me to mix a little bit of organic apple juice in with the medicine to make it taste a little bit better. If you do this, make sure you discuss it with your vet first so that you know that the medicine you have will work well with the juice you plan to use and so that your vet can show you how to ensure that you still measure and use the right amount of medicine.
If you have a good tip for helping your gerbils take medicine safely and with minimal stress, please do share.
I hope you don't ever need to give any of your gerbils medicine, but if you do, I hope the tips above can make the process a little bit easier for both you and your gerbil.