Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How To Give A Rat A Bath

Wild rats are very used to being in the water, they will swim through sewers, ponds and even your swimming pool to get where they need to go. Domesticated rats are another story though. While some rats love the water, others will claw your arms and hands and maybe even bite you to get away from the water.
*Lucky got his first bath back on July 10th. He had a little buck grease on his back and so a bath was in order to wash the greasiness out of his fur.*

The best way to make sure you won't have a problem giving your rat a bath if they need one is to introduce them to water long before it becomes a necessity. If you introduce your rats to the water when they are younger and make it a positive experience they are going to be less likely to be afraid when you try to give them a bath. If however no matter what you do your rats don't like the water, you should only bathe them when it becomes necessary. If they smell bad it's probably time to clean the cage instead of giving them a bath. If they get into something that covers their hair and the only way to get it off is to give them a bath, there are ways to prepare.

First thing you should do if bathing becomes necessary is make sure you are in a room you can close off from the rest of the house. The bathroom is perfect as you can close the door. Make sure your rat can't escape and hide under any furniture, get caught behind any appliances or jump from somewhere high and break his leg.

Put just enough warm water in the tub to reach over your rats legs, if your rat is scared, putting too much water in the tub will scare them more. You don't want them to accidentally drown while you are trying to wash them. Make sure the water is warm to the touch and the temperature in the room is warm. Rats can get respiratory infections very easily.

Don't use a human shampoo or body wash, this can cause drying to their skin. Instead get a Critter Shampoo like Squeaky Clean. Most pet shops will carry animal shampoo. Petsmart carries several types of shampoo for small animals. When you start washing them make sure not to get the shampoo in their ears, eyes or mouth. Add just a small amount to your hand and rub all over the rat's body, even the tail. Holding your rat under his body and gently washing him will make him feel more secure. Don't be surprised if you rat poops in the water, they will do this when they are stressed or upset. Just scoop out the pellets and continue with the bath. To rinse your rat off, gently swish some water upon your rat's body with your hand.

After the bath, wrap your rat in a soft towel and pat them dry as much as possible. Some rats will curl up in the towel and let you hold them until they dry. But most will start cleaning themselves right away and will keep cleaning until they are dry.

Make sure to give your rat a treat after the bath, this will help settle them down and make them feel better. You should always talk soothing to your rat and give them treats after they do something that may be upsetting to them.

Lucky seemed to like his bath, he just laid in my hand and let me wash him and then when he was all done he licked, licked and licked his fur some more until he was dry. 


  1. LOL they are so cute when they're all wet. I never would have thought about using a special shampoo for them.

  2. haha when they hate it it sure would be quite the process

  3. my dog hates baths herself. She'll stick her paw at the door opening to prevent getting dragged into the bath tub

  4. like cats, i guess. so sweet, though.

  5. If they smell bad it's probably time to clean the cage instead of giving them a bath.... You're so right. When my cats (not rats) Mongo and Pebbles smell like you know what, I clean their Flushmaster 3000. It's the only way.

  6. I've never had a rat, but this one looks So cute.

  7. Anna- Yeah I wouldn't have either.

    Pat- I imagine it would.

    Adam- Aww sounds cute.

    TesWisGirl- Yeah they are.

    Blue- I can understand that.

  8. How about gving them a shower instead? A shower is like rain and rats can't be scared of rain, right?


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