Cats and dogs undoubtedly make great family pets; however, if you do not have the space for a larger animal and would prefer a small pet, rats are sociable creatures that make loving family companions. If you do decide to take on a pet rat, there are certain considerations that you should keep in mind to ensure that your new friend lives a happy, fulfilling life with you. Read on to discover how to make sure that your pet rat remains healthy and happy.
It is unfair to own only one rat: they are sociable creatures and need company of their own kind, otherwise, they become lonely and depressed. It is best to buy a group or pair of rats of the same sex to provide companionship without the risk of unwanted rat babies. However, if you do have a mixed-sex group, your male rats can be easily castrated by a trusted veterinarian to prevent uncontrolled breeding.
Register with a vet
Although rats are only small animals, they still require the same dedication to health care as cats and dogs. Register your rat with a trusted vet in your local area, such as a veterinarian in Allen TX, and take your rat for annual health check-ups. Your vet will be able to provide you with more information about caring for your pet, such as providing an appropriate rat diet and accommodation. With regular health check-ups, your vet will be able to identify any rat health issues affecting your friend and provide you with advice and treatment options.
Make sure that you house your rats in a specific rat cage that has been built to cater to the needs of these animals. Rats are very active and love to climb, so a large and tall cage is perfect. Likewise, look for a cage with wire walls and a solid floor to facilitate climbing but prevent your rats from trapping their tails. Provide a nest box that rats can retreat to when they need rest; for instance, a cardboard box is complete with shredded paper bedding.
Provide exercise and entertainment
Rats are very intelligent, active creatures and should be kept occupied. Ensure that your rat cage is equipped with fun toys such as ropes and tunnels. Rats love to shred paper, so provide them with plenty of non-toxic paper and cardboard to encourage them to display this natural behavior. Rats should also have at least an hour’s playtime outside of their cage every day. You might decide to set up an outside access area attached to your rats’ cage so that they can come and go as they please. Alternatively, if you release your rats into the wider room, ensure that it is safe and rat-proof. Rats are very flexible and can pass through the tightest of gaps, ensuring that doors and windows are kept firmly closed and that cracks in the floorboards are blocked.