Do rats need veterinary care?

Yes, most rats don't need any specific medications or vaccinations when they're healthy, but regular wellness checks are recommended to catch any potential issues early. For example, Dobby was brought in for an examination because the owner found some scabs on his skin. It appears he's just been wrestling a bit too hard with his brother.

Dr. Jeffrey M. Greenfield
Hebron Animal Hospital

What do I need to know about pet rat cages or rat habitat?

You should house them in a cage where the bars are close enough that they can't get through or get stuck in them. A smooth bottom is preferred as they don't have a lot of padding on their feet. Provide something soft for them to sit on, a hide box to sleep in, and a hammock if they like it. You should also use some sort of bedding to catch their eliminations and for them to have a soft place to sit. Ideally, they should also get some exercise time outside of the cage, but ensure the room is pet proofed, particularly against potential hazards like electrical cords.

What do you prefer we feed our pet rats?

Manufactured pellets specifically for rats are very healthy for them. They can also have a variety of treats. Rats are omnivores, so they tend to like many snacks. However, avoid overly fatty foods and seeds, as these can make them overweight.

Do pet rats need friends or do they like to be loners?

Rats are generally social. They can either spend a lot of time with you, or they can have another rat for company. Be careful with adult rats that aren't used to each other, as they can fight. It's ideal to introduce them when they're young.

How long do pet rats typically live?

The typical lifespan for a rat is between a year and a half to three years, which is not as long as we'd like.

How big do they normally get?

Rats typically weigh about a pound. Dobby, for example, is about a pound and a quarter, which is pretty typical for rats.

How soon should we bring our pet rats in to see the veterinarian for behavior changes?

If you notice changes in your rat, such as in eating or drinking habits, and believe your rat is sick, bring them in to see the vet as soon as possible. Rats can get sick quickly and their condition can deteriorate fast, so the sooner we see them, the better chance we have of improving their health.

Can you train your pet rat to do tricks?

While I'm not certain about teaching them to do tricks, you can certainly use food treats as a reward to get them to navigate mazes and such. More complex tricks like jumping through hoops or sitting may be more challenging due to their short attention span.

Can pet rats be potty trained?

Unfortunately, rats cannot be potty trained. They typically will eliminate wherever they happen to be.

What kind of bedding do you prefer best for pet rats?

A paper-based bedding is sanitary and easy to clean. It typically doesn't carry any problems you need to worry about, and it's something that they can borrow and move around as they like. Rats often enjoy redecorating their space.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 349-1020, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram