CARE MY PET Small Pets How to take care of rats at home

How to take care of rats at home

how to care for rats at home

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Rats are smart and friendly in nature. Having a pet rat is not so easy. They like to cuddle also. They can give company to people of all ages, especially kids. They are playful in nature and want to live with humans. You can easily socialize with them easily. One can easily look after a pet rat with a moderate amount of care. You can find their food easily from any pet store. You don’t need to buy a large cage for them. They can live in a tiny space and require simple care. So, it is so easy to take care of Rats. You can follow our pet rat care sheet or rat care tips to make your pet rat healthy and fit.


Basic rat care tips for responsible rat owners


Pet rat house

Although rats don’t need much space, you should buy a large cage for your pet rats. You should buy an ideal rat cage and its flooring should be made with solid metal. Rats like to chew plastic and ramps. So, avoid these. If the floor is wired, you won’t be able to clean it properly. Don’t house them in tanks because ammonia can be built up. Two square feet area is ideal for every rat. The bar spacing shouldn’t be more than ¾ of an inch for your pet rats. If the bar spacing is more than that, you can use chicken wire to close the gaps.

pet rat care tips

Food and water dishes


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You can set up a space for your pet rats for eating and drinking. You can provide them with separate bowls for water and food. If there are many rats in the cage, use more than one bowl or dish. You can also provide them with sipper bottles which are better than dishes. The water is kept clean in the bottle and no pet rat can knock these down.

how to keep a rat as a pet

Pet rat bed

The bottom of the cage is not suitable for any pet. So, it should be lined with a solid and soft material. You can use wood-shaving bedding.  Using pine or cedar shavings is not suitable for your pet rats. You can use fleece or towels for bedding. But you must wash them twice per week. Although paper shavings are expensive, you can try this. Using a newspaper is also good for this purpose. It is not only  good for your rets, but also for the environment. Using hey is not perfect because it is dusty and can produce a bad scent after mixing with urine. Of them, all Carefresh is good and is available in most pet stores. Recycled newspaper bedding is also good.


Rats have a natural habit of hiding themselves from other people. They also want to keep them away from people when they want to sleep. So, provide a nest or hiding area for your pet rats so that they can sleep in peace. You can also buy plastic houses that are available in pet stores. You can also buy wicker-made balls which have holes for entrance.

how to look after a pet rat


Most of the rat owners don’t know “What do rats need in a cage?”. You can purchase these items

  • toilet paper rolls
  • small cat toys
  • Ping-Pong balls
  • Hammocks etc.

You can find these items in a pet store.

While choosing the toys, use common sense so that these toys cause no harm to your pets.

See also  Pet Rabbit Care Tips

Feeding pet rats (Rat food)

Rats can eat not only plant but also animal foods. In order to keep your rats healthy and happy, you should feed them:


  • Fresh fruits (Apples, berries, citrus fruits, stone fruits, pears, melon etc.)
  • Vegetables (beans, Bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, cooked Brussels sprouts, endive, fresh corn, tomatoes, peas, parsley, etc.)
  • Commercial rat pellets( small amount)
  • Raw bones (chicken or other)

You can occasionally treat them with these items because these foods are pet rats favorite food:

  • Cooked rice.
  • Seeds.
  • Bread.
  • Cereals.
  • Cooked pasta.
  • Sweets.
  • Biscuits.
  • Breakfast cereal etc.

Some foods aren’t suitable for them. Make sure to keep your rats away from these items:

  • Seaweed.
  • Green potato skins.
  • Avocados.
  • Green bananas.
  • Rhubarb.
  • Mangoes.
  • Raw artichokes.
  • Orange juice.
  • Raw sweet potatoes.
  • Blue cheese.
  • Raw red cabbages.
  • Raw Brussels spouts.
  • Liquorice.
  • Sticky foods.
  • Raw dry beans and some lollies
how to take care of a rat as a pet
Image by Freepik

Keep your pet rat hydrated


Your rats must have access to clean and fresh water for all the time. You can manage a bottle-type drinker to drink your pet rats. This drinker won’t let the water to be dirty. If you don’t do this, your rats must suffer from dehydration.

Keep the rat’s cage clean

A clean cage will ensure your rats are healthy and happy. You can buy a small-size plastic or metal scoop to clean your rats’ litter trays. You can also remove soiled, wet, or stained bedding from your rats’ cage. Wash deeply once a week and keep your rats away from the cage during washing time. Wash everything with vinegar water, and dry. Use separate items like a bowl, sponge, and towel to clean rats’ items. Don’t use harsh chemicals like bleach. Using Nil-odor or pet-safe disinfectants which are found in pet stores or vet clinics is safe.

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Don’t let your rats live in an extremely hot place. They can’t tolerate extremely hot weather. So keep them within 65°f to 75°f. During the hot season, it is a good idea to provide with them with some cool, shallow water for playing around with. But you should provide them with extra bedding during cold weather.

Take the rats to a vet

You must protect your rats from some common health problems like obesity and obesity-related, find out a vet for rats. Rats can suffer from some diseases like:

  • Mites
  • Snuffles
  • Spots and
  •  Tumors

After noticing any symptoms, take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

You should communicate with a veterinarian while your rats are healthy. If you do this, you will get help from that vet immediately. You can ask fellow rat keepers or pet shops to know which vet clinic is better.

pet rat health
Image by Freepik

Play with your rats


In order to increase bonding with your rats, you can play with them. This will help to keep your pet active, healthy, and friendly. If you keep your rat alone, it will hamper his/her mentality. If your rats are non-aggressive, don’t let them feel alone. It is good to handle your rats two or three times per day for at least 10 minutes.

Train some tricks

Pet rats can learn many tricks like jumping, spinning, standing up, and handshaking. They can also perform spoken commands. Don’t punish them for failure. If they can do the right, you can treat them. Don’t forget that every rat has its own personality. So, any single specific method may not work for every rat.

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