Saturday, June 29, 2013

Weekly Rat Facts: Cost

Each week I'll being making a "Weekly Rat Fact" where I'll give you advice about what you should know before owning a pet rat. I think rats make great pets but unless you have the time, money, space, patience and know what they need in advance of getting them, I don't advocate adopting a pet rat until you do.

As with any pet, rats do cost money each month in order to keep them happy and in good health, I spend anywhere between $40-$80 a month on my 3 boys and that's just for food, treats, cage accessories and extra fresh foods like fruits and vegetables. 

That cost goes way up if they get sick and you have to take them to the vet. I had to take one of my boys to the vet and have him put to sleep a few years ago and it cost me $80 and most vets won't let you set up a payment plan. It's either you pay at the time or they won't see you. 

I have a credit card that I use specifically for any emergencies for my rats. It doesn't get used for anything else. If your rat gets a tumor and you want to have it surgically removed that can cost anywhere between $200-$300. 

Before adopting a rat most people think they only thing they need to buy is a cage, bedding, food and some toys. While those are necessities you also need to think about what you'll need if your rat gets sick, gets mites or lice or an abscess. 

List of things that should be in your ratty first aid kit: (Instructions on how to use these things will be below)
Neosporin with pain relief  $8.00 (this can be applied to small wounds, cuts and abscesses.)

Revolution for cats $17.95 (One drop of this on the back of your rat will get rid of lice and mites)
Aquatic Amoxicillan $8.99 (Needed for upper respiratory infections)

Hydrogen Peroxide (for cleaning wounds)
Q-Tips and cotton balls  (for swabbing minor wounds)
Eye dropper (for flushing abscesses)
Small diabetic needle (can be given to you by a vet for treatment of dehydration)

Instructions for Diluting and Giving Medications
Most pet stores don't carry medications for rats so we rat owners have found out that medications for other animals work quite well for out furry little friends if used the right way.

Revolution for cats- it has to be the version for cats because the version for dogs is stronger and can harm the rats instead of getting rid of the lice or mites. You put one drop of the revolution liquid on your adult rats back, between their shoulder blades and then you distract them so they don't clean it or lick it off, until it is dry, one treatment should get rid of all the rat mites or lice they have. 

Aquatic Amoxicillin- Mix 5ml of water with a 250mg capsule. That would make 10mg for every .20ml of water. You should give a sick rat 10 milligrams per lb of rat of amoxicillin per day for 14 days. 

You would need small diabetic needles which you can get from your vet if your rat gets sick and needs fluids but they won't drink. You would have to give your rat a subcutaneous injection of saline.

There are other costs as well, like hammocks, food bowls, fleece to line the cages with, toys, beds and wheels. I buy new fleece hammocks and bunkers every couple of months because my boys chew them to shreds. I also have to routinely replace the fleece blankets I use as bedding because they chew holes in them.

So as you can see there's a lot more to having pet rats than just buying a cage, bedding and food. As with any pet, if you're not willing to take them to a veterinarian when they get sick...don't adopt an animal.


  1. I wish more people would think harder before getting a pet before going ahead. Your list is an excellent idea. Interesting about the medication for rats. You'd think they'd have specific medicines for them.

  2. I think the vast majority of people don't ever calculate the true cost of a particular pet. This post was very educational!

  3. Oh yeah when they get sick no matter the pet, they cost a ton.

  4. So glad you all enjoyed the post.

  5. Call me an idiot, but I did NOT know that there were doctors for rats too.

  6. KK, we take our rats to the veterinarian. Same vets that see dogs and cats sometimes specialize in exotic animals and will take care of small animals like hamsters, mice and rats. Not all veterinarians will see rats and other small animals though. Thankfully since small animals are becoming more popular there are more vets that see small animals. I have a veterinarian close to my home that does.

  7. Very good point Mary! It was the same for the mice sisters I had. People just don't realize. Thankfully we have a great small animal vet in our area that works with little bitty ones (she also has a rescue she runs) so we had a wonderful spot to take them if anything happened.

  8. Oh great idea to start these weekly rat fact posts, looking forward to see your future posts. The biggest investment is when you buy them, but indeed fleeche, hammocks, food and bedding are things you need to buy again every few months.

    Luckily our rats don't chew as much and leave most hammocks alone, some they hate and they get destroyed really fast, lol. I recently had to buy some new fleeche for blankets as they chewed holes in some fo themr ecently. My mom makes a lot of the hammocks for them, but I buy a few new ones now and then as well. The bedding is most expensive, but we buy big bags so we only have to buy it once every half year.

    We have a great vet close by, but indeed a vet visit can be pricey. Vet visit prices are about the same here about 150-170 euro's for a tumor and 36-45 euro for a normal visit.

    We have some small diabetic needles at home and usually some metacam from the last tumor surgery. Beside that I don't have those other things you mentioned. Our rats haven't had any mites or lice so far. We use biotex for cleaning abcesses, that's what they recommend here.

    1. I might start up these weekly rat facts posts again if I can figure out what to post about again. I did so many of them that I started to run out of topics. lol

  9. lol didn't realize this was an old post. I saw it on your facebook page and it sounded interesting and I only saw the date after replying.

    1. That's ok. I posted some of the older links to my older rat related articles for a woman who asked for them. Glad to have more readers read them and comments.


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