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Guide to Pet Rats

Are rats good pets? Rats make an excellent choice if you're looking for an unusual, intelligent, and affectionate companion. They're playful and loving, low-maintenance, tidy, and don't require much space to live. Our Port Jefferson vets will provide insight into the advantages of owning a pet rat and why you should consider adopting one.

Reasons to Own a Rat

Rats as pets are inquisitive and social creatures that require less time for proper care. They need less space and resources due to their small size and cleanliness.

Also, rats' shorter lifespan means less of a long-term commitment. Rats provide companionship, form strong bonds, and respond to their owners due to their high intelligence.

They are playful and entertaining pets that come at a lower cost than other animals, making them an ideal option for those on a budget.

Rat cages, food, and supplies are relatively inexpensive, making rat ownership affordable.

Health Benefits of Pet Rats

Owning a pet rat can offer many health benefits despite being perceived as a pest. They provide a sense of responsibility and routine, which can benefit those struggling with depression or anxiety.

Pet rats are excellent sources of companionship and can help boost the immune system, reduce allergies in children, and lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and the risk of stroke.

They are ideal for those suffering from chronic illnesses because they provide both comfort and therapeutic benefits. Caring for a pet rat is also an excellent way to teach children about animal care and responsibility, as well as to instill empathy and respect in them.

Rat Care Facts

All rodents have continuously growing incisors (front teeth), with the upper ones being shorter than the lower ones.

Overgrown incisors are common in rats, but they can be prevented with gnawing opportunities such as chewing toys and wood.

Veterinarians can grind or file down overgrown incisors if necessary, often under anesthesia. Rats are opportunistic eaters, prone to obesity if not fed properly.

They're also prone to chronic respiratory infections and mammary tumors. Though male and female rats get along well, they frequently breed from an early age (less than two months).

Selecting Your Pet

Rats can be adopted from shelters or purchased from pet stores or breeders, and young rats are known as pups. A rat's eyes and nose should be clear of discharge, and sneezing could indicate a respiratory infection.

Active and inquisitive rats are healthy, while sick rats may sit quietly in corners or appear thin. Moisture around the anus could be a sign of diarrhea, and the skin and coat should be free of parasites.

When possible, examine the rat's mouth for issues such as broken or overgrown incisors, discolored gums, and sores. Additionally, it's essential to inquire about any health guarantees the shelter or seller offers.

How long do rats live as pets?

Pet rats have a relatively short lifespan compared to other household pets. On average, pet rats can live for around 2-3 years, although some may live up to 4-5 years with proper care.

However, there are some instances of rats living longer than 5 years, with the oldest recorded pet rat living up to 7 years.

A pet rat's lifespan can be affected by factors such as genetics, diet, exercise, and overall health. Rats with proper nutrition, exercise, and veterinary care may live longer and healthier lives.

Veterinary Care

Within 48 hours of purchasing a rat, it is essential to have it examined by a vet experienced with rats. This examination may be required by the shelter or the seller, and the guarantee may be void without it. The rat will be weighed, and the vet will talk about the right diet, housing, and toys in addition to looking at a stool sample for parasites.

Annual physical examinations and fecal tests are necessary to check for parasites, and neutering can be discussed with the veterinarian. Rats should be examined at least once a year and twice a year as they age. Vaccination is unnecessary for rats.

Congratulations on your new pet rat! Remember to schedule your first exam. Contact us today at Jefferson Animal Hospital. We look forward to seeing you and your rat soon.

New Patients Welcome

Jefferson Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Port Jefferson companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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