As one of the most friendly, clean and intelligent types of rodents, rats make fantastic pets. At OlliePets we’re huge fans of these loveable rodents, and offer a huge range of products specially designed with your rat’s needs in mind.
Owning a rat
Incredibly intelligent, energetic and playful, rats make wonderful pets for families and individuals alike. But as well as spending plenty of time playing and interacting with your rat, it’s even more important to make sure that your pet rat is getting the right care to meet their needs. While rats come across as being quite hardy pets, they do have their own unique requirements. From an enclosure that keeps them safe and gives them both mental and physical stimulation, to food that’s both tasty and nutritious, it’s essential that you give your pet rat everything they need to stay happy, healthy and comfortable.
Whether you’re an experienced rat keeper or you’re thinking about welcoming a rat into your home for the first time, it’s important to learn about what it takes to keep pet rats healthy and happy. That’s why you’ll find plenty of information in this section about giving your rat the right care to suit their needs.
For beginners, it should give you all the info you need to give your rat the best start in life. For experts, it’s a great place to brush up on your knowledge or look for answers to more complex questions. In fact, you’ll hopefully find all you need to know about your rat – from the best diet for your pet, all the way through to how to spot the signs of illness in your pet (and what to do if you suspect something isn’t quite right).
Rat health issues
There are some general indicators that will tell you if your rat is not well. One of the first things you should remember is that rats are predominantly nocturnal creatures and are not always active during the day. As a result, you should get to know your rat’s normal patterns of behaviour, and look out for things like greasy and unkempt fur, aggression towards other rats, and general lethargy. Wheezing, sneezing and general noisiness while breathing are often symptoms of a respiratory issue, and you should take your rat to the vet right away. If left for longer, it can lead to permanent damage to the respiratory tract and, as rats are quite prone to respiratory infections, you should keep an eye out for them.
An early sign of infection or irritation is the sight of a red mucus around either the eyes or nose of your pet rat. While this can have the appearance of blood, it is just mucus. In such cases seek the advice of your vet for ways to resolve the infection which is often caused by environmental factors.
Rats can also be prone to skin parasites like mites, which can cause itching and severe irritation of the skin. They may also suffer from food allergies, something which becomes visible in the form of scabs on the skin, as well as general redness and inflammation.
They control their temperature through the pads of their paws, and this is something that can make them very susceptible to heatstroke or heat exhaustion. You should ensure that there is excellent air circulation through their cage. Adding ice cubes to their water and even providing a tiny paddling pool can help them stay cool.
Their daily routine
Rats don’t need a lot and they make for pretty low-maintenance pets. Their daily care routine is quite simple and, while everyone does things their own way, these are the basics you need to make sure are included:
- Give them fresh water and wash their water bowl/dripper.
- Give them their food in a freshly washed bowl.
- Ensure they have toys to keep them entertained.
- Some rat owners let them out to play in runs and tunnels for a few hours.
- Clean out their cage and put fresh bedding down for them.
- Make sure you take some time to give them cuddles and general affection.
Keeping them in the best health
It is important to look after your rats and ensure that they remain as healthy as possible. There are a few things you can do to try and make sure that your rats stay in good health.
- Ensure that they eat a healthy and balanced diet.
- Make sure they have enough space in their cage.
- Ensure that they have lots of toys to keep them entertained.
- Keep them in pairs to prevent them from getting lonely, as they are social creatures.
- Always keep a close eye out for potential issues.