Pet Rat Care

Rats aren’t always thought of as the ideal pet, but the truth is that they can make wonderful rodent companions for the right family and are one of the cleanest and most sociable pocket pets to be found anywhere. Here, a Fox Lake, IL veterinarian tells you about a few aspects of their care.

Diet

Rats must eat a high-quality commercial pellet diet, which is widely available at veterinarians’ offices, pet shops, and some retail stores. In addition, a rat’s diet should be supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables. Rats also enjoy small bits of cooked meat, grains and rice, and even small amounts of dairy products. The best way to know exactly what to feed your rat is to consult your veterinarian—he or she can tell you the best types and amounts of foods to feed your new rodent companion.

Enclosure

A rat will prefer a large wire cage with a solid floor (rats and other rodents can injure their feet if a floor is made of wire). A bedding material, usually made from aspen or some type of hardwood shaving, will be used to line the bottom of the cage. Since rats enjoy hiding spots, plenty of fun structures and hidey-holes should be placed in the cage to give your rat a dynamic environment.

Keep in mind that a rat will probably be happiest when paired with another rat—if you’re planning on housing two rats in the same cage, make sure it is extra large to allow plenty of space.

Temperament

Rats are very intelligent, sociable, and curious animals. They’re quite friendly and can even be trained in many cases. As mentioned above, rats may be happiest when living alongside another rat; this is because of their social nature and natural pack inclinations. Rats also require regular socialization with their human owners; you’ll need to take your rat out of the cage daily to provide quality playtime, exercise, and a good bonding experience.

Remember that rats are largely nocturnal. While they may be awake during various parts of the day, it’s likely that they’ll be moving around in the cage at night. It may be necessary to place the cage in a room where no human family member sleeps.

If you’re new to rodent ownership or have any further questions about rats and their care, don’t hesitate to contact your Fox Lake, IL veterinarian’s office today.

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