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Pet Rats - Bathing your lovely pet rats!

Bathing Your Pet Rats

Rats are fairly good about grooming themselves, most of the time they clean their hands and face very well, but the rest of them tends to get a little dirty, so bathing them from time to time is a good idea.

Otherwise, it is rarely necessary to bathe rats, with the exception of light-coated varieties which may need the occasional stain-removal session if you wish to show them. It is easier to see dirt build up on rats with white or light colored hair than it is on dark colored rats.

One rat can stay fairly clean, but when several rats live together, their house and themselves can get messy fairly quickly.

Some rats like getting baths, while others will scratch you up with their nails, and jump frantically out of the bath. The more often you give your rats a bath, the more they get used to it. However, don't bath your rats TOO OFTEN as it can dry out their skin.

Cooling Off

About Pet Rats Bathing

Some rats like to play in water, so dipping them under water on a hot day can help cool them off.

Rinsing the rats tail or dunking their tail into cold water can also help to cool down an overheated rat.

Orange Greasy Build-up

Furry rats, especially males, can get a greasy orange buildup on their skin and hair, sometimes caused by too much protein in their diets.

On male rats, greasy orange hair and skin is often referred to as "Buck grease". Hairless rats tend to turn orange (from pink) with grease build up. It can be a bit hard for them to keep themselves clean.

Dry Rat Skin

Some rats suffer from dry skin, which can be seen as red flaky type dandruff in the hair. This is especially true for hairless rats, which makes them look like they have pealing/flaky skin.

Some people have had good results treating rat's dry skin conditions by rubbing flax seed oil lightly on the rat, or by mixing it with the rat's food.

Skin problems can also be related to a poor diet, or a sick rat.

Rat Shampoo

If you decide that your rat needs bathing, make sure that you use a shampoo formulated for animals - a small animal shampoo is best - as human shampoo can irritate their skin.

Also when picking out a shampoo try to get one that is safe to get near the eyes, as rats love to wiggle about in the bath and just to be on the safe side you want to be using a safe product.

I found Squeaky Clean Shampoo Critter helps get rid of the orange grease build-up and clean the rats. Squeaky Clean Shampoo Critter is also a good product to use because it is safe to use on cuts and scraps, such as cleaning bite wounds and breaking up scabs.

Squeaky Clean Shampoo Critter

Squeaky Clean is the safe shampoo that leaves pets shiny and smelling fresh. Gentle tearless critter shampoo cleans conditions and deodorizes pet rats, bunnies, guinea pigs and hamsters. Long-lasting baby powder fragrance leaves your furry friend smelling as fresh as a baby!

Where to Bath Rats?

Some people wash rats in the bath tub, some people wash in the sink, some people wash with the water standing still some just run the water on the rat. It's really up to you to find what your rat likes/tolerates best. Just be careful not to get soap or water in the rats eyes, ears, mouth or nose!

Prepare In Advance

It is best to have the cleaning supplies ready before giving the rat a bath. (Get out the soap, towels and other supplies you may need.)

Rats love getting their hair fluffed up after a bath, either by fluffing the hair dry with a towel or using a blow dryer. However some rats will not tolerate blow dryers, since they can be rather loud.

My Bathing Method

When it comes to bathing my rats, I use the sink in my toilet and 2 towels - one as a "carpet" and one to dry my rats off after their bath. I bath my rats one at a time. Your rat might start to squeak wildly once you wet them, and it probably won't like you very much, but he/she will need a bath because they're smelly, so don't feel too bad. Be prepared because your rat may try to escape. You must be gentle and yet firm at the same time!

First, I make sure the water is nice and lukewarm (Having the water the right temperature is very important, having the water too hot or cold will make the rat uncomfortable and try to get away more), then run water over the rat for just a few seconds to get them wet. Be careful not to get water on their heads or in their eyes/ears or noses!

Next, I lather the soap on the rat and let the rat sit on my lap while I continuously lather the soap. Once my rat is all nice and lathered up, I hold the rat under the running water in the sink and rinse him thoroughly clean. I also try to clean as much of the dead skin and grime off of my rat's tail as much as I can. Then I wrap him up in a towel and dry/fluff up his hair (Rats seem to love being fluffed up!). Then I let my rat fix his own hair. On some occasions, I brush down their hair with a small brush.

Once their little bath is over, I give each rat one single yogurt drop. They look forward to this, and know they are getting a treat after their baths.

You can also try filling the sink or a pail up to the neck of the rat, and gently lower him in (do not get his head/ears/nose/eyes wet), and then shampoo and rinse. I've tried this method, but my rats seemed to like the running water method better (remember: slow-flowing, lukewarm water). last updated 1 Oct, 2017


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