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Bathing your Rats

Updated on May 28, 2014

Bathing Pet Rats

Rats are very clean animals, but there are times you need to give them a bath. Some rats will groom non-stop and others will have better things to do, and will need what I call rattie maintenance.

Cage Maintenance

First thing is first, a clean cage! Even the best kept rats will become dirty and smelly of you do not keep the cage floor or bedding clean. It is also important to have a clean cage for your rats health and wellbeing.

depending on how dirty your rats is, or gets you can opt for a full lets swim bath or a simple and relaxing wipe me off sponge bath. I like to keep my bath times few and far between and shot and sweet. Rats have natural oils in their skin that they need bathing to often will strip these oils and basically cause you to have itchy sickly looking rat. So don't bathe to often.

Good Reasons to give your Rat a Bath

Sick, over weight, or injured rats.
These rats will need more care and may not be able to clean themselves, therefore you would have to do it for them. until they are well enough or have lost enough weight to do so. Make sure in this time you take extra care to keep your rats clean, as poor hygiene can cause other health issues, or could make a injury, or illness worse.

Buck Grease
Some intact males you will notice and orange/yellow oil on their backs. This is caused by testosterone secretions. This is in my opinion nasty looking and is very oily. So I use a good scrubbing with dish soap.

Introducing new rats
In this case making everyone smell the same can help a ton with intros. Some say you can just add vanilla to their back, but for me a good scrub down seems to work best. It also seems to cut down on the dominance urination, which is another reason for a bath ha-ha. So you can hopefully prevent baths for that reason.

Parasites or other skin issues
In this case you would use a medicated shampoo, or whatever treatment you are using for the parasites or skin conditions.

I have never done showing, but I think that you are supposed to bathe for shows.

Smelly ratties
Some rats like I sadi before just don't clean themselves and tend to be more smelly or have muskier odor. I notice this more in my male rats than females. Males are lazier and I don't think clean as often as the female rats. Other times rats just get dirty or get things on their fur than call for a bath. like the days they have berries!

Shampoo you can use

Dish Soap

Kitten shampoo

oatmeal shampoo

Baby Shampoo( my personal choice)

Before you start giving your rat a bath you need to make sure you have all the supplies you need. I like to keep all my stuff in a Rubbermaid container under my bathroom sink. Since that is where I give all my rattie baths. The other thing you may want to do before you give your rat a bath is trim their nails. Some rats will hate a bath, screaming, and fighting the whole time, others will love it and just have fun floating and relaxing. So a good nail trim never hurts.

My Bathing and Grooming kit
This is what i keep in my bathing /grooming kit

Q-tips(to make sure the ears are dry)

shampoo- baby shampoo and dish soap for buck grease(travel size)

2 toothbrushes(one for brushing and one for the tail)

nail trimmers

a couple old rags

a small Ziploc baggie of very special treats

Other things you could include would be brushes(i use a tooth brush) and special shampoos, such as medicated shampoo, sensitive skin shampoo, and old towels.

Now for the actual bathing. Fill up your sink with warm water, and get your rat wet. If your rat hates water let him sit on a towel while you lather him up with shampoo. Use the toothbrush to gently scrub the tail, Then use an old damp rag to get the face and ears. Make sure you don't get soap in the eyes. When it is time to rinse of your rat, turn on the faucet and rinse him off using the running water. then place on a fluffy towel and dry him off. Dry out their ears with a Q-tip(DON"T STICK IT IN THE EAR) I also like to use my blow dryer on low to keep them warm and dry them a little faster. None of the rats seem to mind this, but I have been doing that since they were babies. Brush them with the dry tooth brush and your all finished.

Tail cleaning!
When cleaning your rats tail, always make sure you start at the base and clean down to the tip! If you clean in the opposite direction you can cause debris to get stuck in the tail and this can cause infection and bacteria growth. Also make sure you clean the tail very gently, rats tails are important for many things and are also very sensitive.

I think that about covers all the rat bathing how to's. I hope this helps you and makes bathing your rat a fun enjoyable experience. Don't forget to follow me and leave a comment. Also feel free to ask any questions!

Other helpful Rattie things!


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