How To House And Feed A Pet Rat To Maintain Its Health?
Rats are friendly, smart and cuddly, so can make good companions for kids and families. Pet rat caring is not very complicated but make sure to buy them from a reputable local pet store. Make sure to buy a healthy one with well-groomed fur. Make sure that the one you decide to buy can eat and drink properly. Even check, if the other rats living are active, clean and healthy.
Just like cat, rats are available in a range of color combinations like cinnamon, white with pinkish eyes, blue-gray, etc. Fancy varieties of rats are available from breeders. These include hairless and tailless rats, the curly haired Rex, the satin rat [shiny coat], Dumbo rats [large ears] and bristle coat rats. Rats enjoy playing as well as can learn tricks. They actually crave for human companionship.
The only drawback when you choose a pet rat is its lifespan. They live only for 2 to 3 years. Rats are vulnerable and may suffer from health problems. Below are some pet rat tips on how to house, what food to give and know their common health issues.
How to house your pet rat?
Large wire cage with horizontal bars allow a rat to climb but if you buy a group of rats then tall cage including platforms and ramps is perfect. Minimum cage floor space for a pair of rats is 12” X 24” and it needs to be tall including hammocks and shells. Flooring must not be wired, if it is then add wood or some solid material. Moreover, the wire needs to have fine grid.
Place the cage in quiet place but near social areas, during day their cages need to be kept in quiet areas, as they are nocturnal animals. The cage needs to be kept on table, so that the pets feel more secure. Rat may feel threatened from other household pets like a hovering dog or cat. So make sure to place the cage in a place where other pets find it hard to reach.
Choose a good nesting material that can be used as bedding. Pellet products are absorbent and can be placed under soft loose bedding made from paper towels or hardwood shavings [not pine or cedar]. One area must be designated as a bathroom area from where the soiled litter needs to be scooped daily and more litter added. The whole cage has to be cleaned at least once in a week and new litter for the bedding has to be provided.
What to feed the pet rat?
Formulated nutritional block or pellet kind diets are available. Choose one with low calories and fats but high on soy instead of corn. You can even use fresh foods to keep them healthy and prevent them getting bored with pelleted diet. Try feeding them with little fruits, veggies, bread, yogurt, and brown rice.
Occasionally, treat them with mealworms, seeds, nuts, cheese and low-fat cooked meat. Keep rats on low fat and high fiber diet. Never give them sugary or junk foods. Water bottle with sipper tube is best for keeping them hydrated. Supply clean and fresh water daily.
Issues range from digestive to respiratory to neurological. Preventive care is necessary, so have a checkup with an exotic vet every six months for regular checkups.
Other things not to ignore
- Nail trimming every month
- Playing outside cage with rotating toys under supervision is recommended.