It’s an exciting time when adding a new pet to the family, at Pet.co.nz we want to make sure that we help you successfully introduce your new pet rat to your home, and make the experience as stress free as possible.
Before the big day, ideally before you arrive home with your new pet rat, you want to set things up as they will be when the rat arrives. This is so that they don’t come home to an environment that then changes again once they have started to settle in. Here is what we suggest to help make sure that your pet rat settles in.
- Rat cage
- Cage disinfectant
- Aspen bedding
- Rat food
- Large chew proof rat water bottle
- Ceramic chew proof rat food bowl
- Fruit and vegetable holder
- Rat hiding place / Rat house for within the cage.
- Rat chew toys
- Rat treats
- Rat harness
- Rat wheel / rat exercise toys
- Rat ladder & climbing furniture
- Salt licks
- Parasite powder
Having all of these items ready for when you get home will mean you can focus your time on enjoying the new addition to your family.
Feeding Your Rat or Mouse
Your rat’s diet should consist of a high quality rat specific food. This combined with small amounts of fruit and vegetables and the occasional rat specific treat will ensure that your rat gets a complete and balanced diet.
Fresh food and water should always be available. If fruit and vegetables are not eaten within the day they should be removed and replaced with fresh fruit and vegetables the next day.
Rats also need chew toys to ensure that they keep their claws and teeth in check. These chew toys will vary from hard ‘lava’ toys to wooden chews – all of which are fine.
Housing Your Rat
To give your rat as much space as possible it is great to use a well sized rat cage, the other factors to consider are...
- The rat cage needs to be secure, and made of a strong metal or plastic. Keeping in mind that rats love to chew through things any wooden or soft material enclosures won’t keep the rat secure.
- Rats enjoy climbing, so having a tall cage is a great way to enable this and also help them exercise.
- Making space for a rat hammock or some form of rat bed is also important.
- Placing rat bedding in the bottom of the enclosure is important to absorb any urine and odours from the rat. If your rat enclosure has a slide out tray in the bottom, this makes cleaning a lot easier.
Maintaining Your Rat Cage
It’s important to clean the rat cage and rat accessories regularly, we recommend once a week. This also enables you to change the rat cage around, rotate rat toys and exercise aids around the cage to reduce boredom.
Rat Health and Wellbeing
By spending time handling your rat on a daily basis, you will notice any changes in their general body condition. Some things to look out for are; hair falling out, scabs or broken skin, any discharge from their eyes and nose, dirty bottom or diarrhoea, lethargy, or distressed breathing. If you find any of these things then we recommend you make contact with your local vet.
As well as ensuring that your rat is healthy, handling your rat on a daily basis can really help to ensure that they stay happy and social at all times. Twice a day is a good amount of time to spend with your rat.