Ewwwwwww, rats!!! They’re gross creatures that run around scaring grown men onto kitchen tables while screaming like a little girl (don’t even try to hide the truth my dudes). What about the “New York sewer rats” that are bigger than your NY style slice of pizza? Some rats can be gross, but some are the best pets ever.

What some people may not know, is that there are different types of rat breeds and some of them make wonderful companions.

As we already know, rats are very intelligent. They can actually be trained to do certain tasks such as using a litterbox, not peeing or pooping unless they are in the cage, agility, and even to be a therapy rat!

But, with every great pet, comes great responsibility. Even though they are rats and can live short lives, they still need annual check-ups. Rats are not required to have any vaccines or to get spayed or neutered. They certainly can be spayed or neutered, but it can be more risky than a dog or cat procedure.

Rats are foragers, which means they like to find and dig for their food so having little food puzzles will keep them happy. They also need 24/7 food and water access.

And just like a guinea pig, their teeth are constantly growing, so if they don’t have a pumice stone, chew toys, or a well-textured food, they can have teeth issues. Rats can also get sick from inappropriate climate such as “ring tail” and respiratory issues.

Respiratory issues are very common in rats and can be treated with the help of the veterinarian. Ring tail is when the humidity in the environment is too low and the skin on their tails gets dry and cracked. When it gets dry and cracked, it starts to form rings around the tail that can cause necrosis.

Even though they can have their own issues (like any other pet), they make great little friends.

Keep in mind, Dr. Grossi and Dr. Virgil see rodents! For more information on rats and how to take care of them give us a call at 919-362-0515 or email us at animalhospitalofpeakplaza@gmail.com.