Caring for Pet Rats (A Beginners Guide)

You were probably not aware of this, but rats are known to be great pets. They are intelligent, sociable, and would like nothing more than to be a playmate for you. Like any other pet, taking care of a rat can also be overwhelming at times but, you can always find valuable research to point you in the right direction.

With this beginner’s guide for pet rats, you should not have any trouble with your tiny new family member. Moreover, you can discover the secret to ensuring that your little friend is happy, healthy, and has no reason to complain.

Bringing Your Pet Rat Home

Before you can bring a rat into your home, you need to know its sex. This knowledge is especially important if you do not want unwanted litters and breeding. If you purchase them from a local store, be sure to confirm the sex on your own. You can also have a professional take a look, as it is not unusual for the staff to get it wrong if they are inexperienced.

If you do not have a rat in your home yet, it is worthwhile to start thinking about housing one. Or better yet, get yourself at least two rats since these creatures are sociable and would appreciate the company. You may get deterred from the responsibility of caring for two rats but, it is the same as caring for one.

Here is how you can be an exceptional parent to the rat or rats you decide to bring into your humble abode.

1.    Allow them to settle in

As soon as you bring your rat home, you will initially be tempted to coddle them all day. However, it is suggested that you give them time and space for a day or two to get accustomed to their new surroundings. Remember, your pet is going to use this time to get used to its new home, which is its cage, as well as all the different smells around.

Caring for Pet Rats

Moreover, since the scents in your surroundings are likely to be different than the ones your rat is used to, they may sneeze a little. But you should be cautious and make sure that the sneezing does not persist, as it is an indicator of your new pal having a nasty infection. In such a case, do not waste time in rushing to the vet. They will provide you with some cheap antibiotics, and your rat will be fine and dandy!

2.    Make sure they are clean

You will soon see that rats, especially young ones, are responsible for making a considerable mess because they poop too often! It is quite normal for new rats, no matter what their age, to poop a little initially. These tend to be rather smelly and squishy.

Therefore, you must establish an effective and thorough cleaning routine, especially for your little pet’s cage. Since the cage is your pet’s new home and where they will be spending a substantial amount of time, this is a highly important aspect of rat care.

Caring for Pet Rats

In addition, you can prevent a mess in your new pet’s cage by focusing on litter training in the early days of bringing them home. It will help you save up on valuable time that you are bound to spend cleaning their cages day in and day out.

3.    Maintain proper diet and nutrition

It is widely believed that maintaining the right diet and nutrition for rats is a relatively complicated subject. However, some points can benefit you and your little pet. For example, following a healthy diet will ensure that their life is extended by at least a year, allow them to build immunity, and keep them energized.

Remember, effective rat care involves a sufficient staple diet. Thus, you should use block food, as it consists of everything your rat needs, down to a single micro-gram. Be sure to provide them with only safe treats and rat superfoods if you want to expand from the base diet a little.

4.    Conduct trust training

Another important aspect of taking care of your rat is to make sure that you spend an ample amount of time with them. For this bonding time to be successful, you need to ensure that your little pal trusts you, and this is why trust training is essential.

The most basic part of carrying out trust training is that you can call your pet by the name you have given them and allow them to eat food out of your palm. However, it is advised that you do not handle your rat right away, as it could potentially be frightening for you, as well as the pet. Do not forget to do some research and find some effective trust training tactics to bond with your new friend.

pet rat guide

5.    Focus on healthcare

Before you can learn anything else related to your pet rat, you need to learn how to make sure that they are in top-notch health. In addition, you need to be aware of actions to take in case their health is compromised for any reason.

Though there are those owners who suggest that you self-diagnose and self-prescribe, experts advise that you take all illnesses seriously and take your rat to the vet as soon as you see signs of deteriorating health. Moreover, it is your responsibility to take your rat for health checks regularly.

You should also research before bringing your new pal home related to common illnesses found in them and their respective species. The more prepared you are, the better will be the health of your rat.

Helping Your Pet Rat Socialize the Right Way

As aforementioned, it is normal for your pet rat to be a little frightened at first and not socialize right away. They may even hide for a few days, which is justified given that they will need some time to get used to their new and unfamiliar surroundings.

Here are some things that you can try to ensure that your furry friend is comfortable and easily warms up to you.

1.    Picking a quiet area

A rat is easily scared by other pets, quick movements, and loud noises. Therefore, when you first bring your new friend home, be sure to designate a spot that is away from startling noises, as well as other pets.

2.    Using hand-taming exercises

Hand-taming is a specific way to hold your rats when they are finally ready for it. What you need to do is pick them up gently, place your hand on their bottom as a way of supporting it, and cup your hand to allow them maximum comfort for sitting. Once they are in this position, be sure to run your fingers up and down their back, giving them room to relax.

Furthermore, it is suggested that you use a gentle voice to speak to them to allow them to realize that you are their friend.

3.    Bonding daily

It is not just enough for your rat to be comfortable with you holding them. You need to further grow that bond by hanging out or spending some time with them. In addition, rats love to cuddle and sit on their owner’s shoulders.

With these tips and tricks, you can easily take care of your new furry friend and make them feel welcome in your home. Moreover, they can become your best friend if you take time out to make them feel loved and important. 

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