Image by B. Cline SmithImage by B. Cline SmithIf you're looking for a loving pet, rats make wonderful companions. They're loving, social, and compassionate animals. Looking to buy a rat? Read on to learn how to properly care for your pet rat.

Choosing Your Rats

When you're choosing the right rat for you, consider getting two of the same gender. Rats are social animals, and they can get bored or even depressed without a companion. When you're looking for your rats, buy them from a breeder or a rescuer if possible. They will be able to provide you with helpful tips about the care of your rat, and conditions will be better. Rats found in pet stores are often kept in unsatisfactory conditions, and might not be healthy. 

Getting A Cage

Choose a wire cage with good airflow for your rat to prevent respiratory problems. The wire flooring will hurt your rats feet, so choose a solid flooring that's easy to clean. The cage should be at least 2 feet wide, long, and deep, possibly bigger. Your cage should have clean water and food, and nesting material made of hemp, cloth, or paper. Rats like to keep themselves entertained by climbing and exercising, so include toys, ramps, hideaways, a hammock or two, and a running wheel. Keep the cage in a shady, warm area to avoid drafts or potential heat stroke. 

Keeping It Clean

Once you have your cage set up, clean it frequently, at least once a week. When you're cleaning the cage, avoid using harmful chemicals. Instead, choose vinegar or a pet cleaner such as Nilodor Natural Touch Pet Odor Eliminator.

The Right Diet

Image by Alice RosenImage by Alice RosenRats eat frequently throughout the day, so you should always have good, healthy food readily available. Feed your rats with high quality lab blocks that don't contain corn, or seeds as the first ingredients, like Oxbow Regal Rat Food. Supplement your rat's diet with small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables daily.

General Care

To create the best environment for your rats, be sure that, on top of cleaning the cage weekly, you do a spot clean every day. During the spot clean, you'll remove any droppings or uneaten food that you find, and replace water and food. Also provide things for your rat to chew on, such as raw hides, wood, or dog biscuits. A rat's teeth are always growing, so the raw hide will give them something to chew on to help their teeth from growing too long.

Play Time

Take things slowly with your rats as they're getting accustomed to you and their new living situation. Once they're used to you, be sure to take them out of their cage for at least an hour every day. Rats also get bored easily, so provide them with toys and a running wheel so they can get exercise and keep themselves entertained. 

Love And Understanding

Your rats will take some time to warm up to you, so start showing them affection by feeding them healthy treats from your hand. Once they're used to you, you can gently pick them up and play with them. Eventually they'll want to play and cuddle with you on a daily basis. 

Veterinary Care

Find a good Veterinarian for your rats before you buy them, or immediately afterwards. Look for vets that specialize in pocket pets or exotic animals. This will guarantee that you have a good vet in mind in case of emergency or illness. 

By following these steps, you'll be able to provide your pet rats with the best care available to them. Enjoy your new companions, and have fun! 

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