How to Give a Rat a Bath: Can You Give a Rat a Bath?

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 How to Give a Rat a Bath: Can You Give a Rat a Bath?

A bath can be a very relaxing experience for a rat once he or she is used to being bathed. Photo Credit: Jim Kenefick via Flickr
A bath can be a very relaxing experience for a rat once he or she is used to being bathed.
Photo Credit: Jim Kenefick via Flickr

Rats who don’t seem to get baths often just don’t really enjoy the idea; much like a dog or a cat who does not get a bath very frequently at all. Just because the animal refuses a bath, does not mean that he or she does not need to be cleaned. Rats, like other animals, can get funky build ups and parasites on them. Bathing is the best way to remove all of the funk that accumulates over time.

Should I Bathe My Rat?

Starting young is the best way to get rats accustomed to baths. They become more at ease with it if it is seen as a normal life event.
Starting young is the best way to get rats accustomed to baths. They become more at ease with it if it is seen as a normal life event.

If the rat is fairly clean and does not have any type of parasite or bug on it, then it probably doesn’t need a bath. Especially if he or she doesn’t stink. However, a bad odor, potential pests, and a build up of dirt or funk warrants a nice, warm bath. Excessive porphyrin, a blood like snotty substance that rats produce, can warrant a bath as well. A lot of rat owners do not enjoy that classic ratty cologne that rats produce, so it is in their best interest to bathe their rats as necessary to remove the odor. This way, the rats can roam the home without leaving a delightfully rodent-like smell wherever they might go.

Will Bathing My Rat Get Rid of Buck Grease?

rubber-duck-594356_1280Buck grease can be a nightmare for people who own a colony of male rats. Buck grease is produced by male rats, and can build up on them over time. This produces a very potent odor, one that can be hard to deal with especially for those who like to maintain a fragrant home. This is just a part of being a male animal who marks his territory. Buck grease can definitely be helped with bathing, but bathing a male rat too often will only increase his buck grease production. This in turn leads to more frequent odor. Getting the rat neutered will be the most effective way of reducing this inconvenient buck residue.

What Should I Give My Rat a Bath With?

Rats need to be bathed with a pet safe shampoo. There are tons of products on the market for small animals, all of which are fine to use. Just make sure that you pay attention to the directions on the bottle. I personally like to use baby shampoo. It may not seem as effective as the specially made small pet shampoos, but I trust it more. While it may not do the best job for odors, I like that it is tear free, non toxic, and hypo allergenic. I’ve NEVER had an issue from it. I am in no way saying small pet shampoos aren’t wonderful; so if you’d like to purchase some, go ahead!

Do Rats Like Baths?

do rats like to take baths
A rat can enjoy a bath greatly, so don’t be afraid to get them wet!

At first, the rat may absolutely hate having to take a bath. This may take a couple of death matches in order to get the rat to agree with a bath (not literally, they just fight like a kitty would!). After a couple of baths, the rats realize that this inconvenient wet water time isn’t going to hurt them. They are just spoiled in essence, as their wild counterparts frequently go for swims to get to where they are going.

Some rats even love to simply relax in the warm water and bathe themselves. It is absolutely adorable! Once they get to this point, it will be hard to keep the rat out of the bath. Although, you could allow the rat to play in the water without soap to protect his or her coat.

How to Give the Rat a Proper Bath

  1. Firstly, you want to make sure that the water is lukewarm. You do not want it hot, and you do not want it cold. you also want the home temperature to be between 68 and 75 degrees, in order to keep the rat from getting too cold while drying off.
  2. Once the water has filled the sink (or 2 inches in the bath tub), you can place the rat into the water to get him or her nice and wet. Make sure the water gets to and wets the undercoat.
  3. Put a few drops of rat or baby shampoo on the tips of your fingers. Spread it on different body parts of the rat for easy lathering. Lightly lather the rat until the suds form all over the rat’s body. You must be tender so you do not injure the rat.
  4. Rinse the rat carefully, being sure to get all of the soap off the rat.
  5. Wrap the rat into a towel to get rid of excess water. Gently massaging the animal will help to ruffle the fur and release the water.
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