How to take care of your Pet Rat

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DIY and how-to

How to take care of your Pet Rat

Having a pet rat can be very rewarding for a child due to their inquisitive and affectionate nature. Getting at least two rats of the same gender is strongly recommended.  Rats get lonely and even depressed if they do not have another rat buddy to play and cuddle with.

Investing in a proper cage for your rats is very important. Buy a large cage with solid flooring, levels and ramps. The bar spacing should be no more than 1.5 cm and the bars themselves should be powder-coated to prevent rat urine from corroding the bars. Rats are excellent jumpers and climbers and should be able to execute their acrobatics in their cage without flying through the bars. Use hemp, cloth, or paper bedding. Fleece (absorbent, and won’t fray) or towels (might fray, but more absorbent) are a good bet, but you will need to change them several times a week. Another good alternative is recycled newspaper.

Supplement your cage with toys, hammocks, hideaways and nesting material.  Rats love to play and be busy. Clean cages often.  Daily “spot-checks” help maintain a clean cage, and at least weekly cleanings will ensure healthy rats.  Harsh chemicals, like bleach, can harm their sensitive respiratory systems.  Retail pet-friendly products like No-Odor work well, as does vinegar. You can even litter train your rat to make things easier for you.

Daro rat mix is a good staple diet for your rat.  You should also supplement this with fresh and frozen fruits, veggies, cooked beans, seeds etc. Avoid giving citrus juices to male rats, as a chemical in the peel (which is usually in commercial citrus juices) binds with a protein in their kidneys, and causes health problems.  Fresh citrus is fine, as long as you remove any skin and pith (the white stuff) before feeding male rats.  Females do not have this problem.

Do not leave your rats exposed to extreme temperature changes or drafts.  If it is a particularly hot day, provide your rats with some cool, shallow water to play around in and on a cold day, a nice warm blanket. The more attention you give them, the more bonded, active, healthy and friendly your rat will be.

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