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Pet Rats - Checking & Removing Bugs / Mites / Fleas

Rat Bugs/Mites/Fleas

Rats can get mites, lice, fleas and other small bugs.


All rat mites, fleas & lice are species specific, they need a rat to survive. They can jump onto you or other animals but they will die without a rat to feed off of. Most "Rat bugs" tend to stay on rats and not transfer to humans or other animals.


"Frontline" can be used - use one pump's worth on a cotton ball, and rub on 1 to 3 rats. The alcohol smell will be strong, so make sure the room is well-ventilated for several minutes. Treat every 7 days for 3 weeks.

Frontline Plus for Cats Flea Tick Cat Treatment

Kills 98-100% of existing fleas in less than 24 hours, continues killing fleas for an entire month or more. Remains waterproof for 30 days even if your cat swims or is bathed. Apply Frontline by placing applicator tip through your pet's hair to the skin level between the shoulder blades. Squeeze applicator, applying entire contents in a single spot to your pets skin. Active ingredients: fipronil and s-methoprene. For cats and kittens 8 weeks or older, but great for rats as well.

I am told you can also use "Advantage flea repellent for cats & dogs" to treat rats with fleas. You dab a small grain of rice size onto a toothpick and than dab it onto the rats neck. (I have not personally used this method and am not sure on the number of treatments.)


Lice can stay embedded on the rats hair even after the rat is treated and the lice are dead, so you will need a small toothed comb to help brush the dead bugs off of the rat.

Small Red Bugs on Pet Rats

Baby pet rat grooming itself

It is not uncommon for rats to get a small red bug infestation, no one seems to know exactly what kind of bugs theses are but i have found ""Hartz control Flea and tick repellent for kittens" spray formula works well to treat the red bugs.

How to Remove The Small Red Bugs

You simply spray the "Hartz Control Flea and tick repellent for kittens" onto the rat, and rub it in. Make sure to get in the armpits and behind the ears, and all other hidden areas. Leave it on for 5 minutes, then rinse your rat thoroughly.

The spray has a light smell and the smell will stay on for about a week. After the first treatment wait a week and then treat again, to make sure you have gotten all of the eggs. (Please follow exact directions given on bottle).

You can also use a small animal lice comb (or human comb) to help comb out the eggs and bugs.

Cleaning Their Tanks/Cages

Make sure to clean the cage, wash all bedding and disinfect all toys in the rats areas if you notice bugs on them. If you just give them a bath and then put them back in a cage or with bedding that has the bugs on them, the bugs will jump right back on the rats.

Make sure to especially soak all wood materials in very hot water or run them through the dishwasher.


Ivermectin horse wormer paste can be used to get rid of mites, body mites & ear mites.

Ivermectin Paste 6.08 gm

Ivermectin paste used to worm your horse is surprisingly effective for your pet rats as well!

Ivermectin comes in a box, the box reads "Ivermectin Anthelmintic and Boticide paste 1.87%." Inside the box is a syringe filled with enough paste to treat up to a 1250 LB. horse.

To Use

  1. Empty the whole syringe into a small container (a film canister or small pill bottle.)
  2. Mix up the paste with a toothpick very thoroughly.
  3. Dab a toothpick into the paste and dose a small grain of rice size for an adult size rat. For smaller rats use a slightly smaller dose.
  4. Do not use too much, you can overdose your rat.
  5. You can try to get the rat to lick the paste off of your finger or mix the paste with applesauce or yogurt or even smear the paste onto a cookie.
  6. Treat the rat on day 1, day 8 and day 15.
  7. Store the unused paste in a leak proof container. It can be stored on the shelf or in the refrigerator. last updated 1 Oct, 2017


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