Articles about Pet Rats!
by: Catherine Smith
There are loads of good vets out there for your rat, but it is not always the easiest task to find them.
Some vets may be wonderful with cats and dogs, but do not have the same knowledge about rats. Some vets do not respect rats and think it easier to let it die and buy a new one. Some may overcharge because they don’t want to treat your rat.
But there are some who respect rats and have knowledge about them. There are others who respect rats and are open to advice. These are the ones to track down.
You should try and locate a good rat vet as soon as you can, so that if an emergency occurs you know who to call.
Never accept derogatory comments about your rat.
Call up your chosen veterinary practice and be upfront. Ask whether the vets there have dealt with many rats before. Maybe even talk to the vet and ask as many questions as you like. Ask them how many rats they treat and their surgery success rate (it should not be less than 95%)
You can even ask a trick question, such as “Should I withhold food before surgery?”. If they know about rats they will know that they can’t vomit, so you don’t need to withhold food.
When you take your rat to the vets they should put a towel down for your pet, so that the cold table, doesn’t make them uncomfortable.
Read up on your rat’s symptoms, so that you can maximise the productivity of your trip to the vets.
And finally…if you find a good one spread the word and contact rat websites so that they can let others know.
The Chinese say that it is an honor to be born in the year of the Rat because Rat people are have a remarkable sense of vision. They can anticipate problems and quickly develop a strategy to deal with it even before the problem arrives. Because of this ability Rats are highly respected. It will only take the Rat less than a day to gel with a work place when it takes other people days or even weeks to get adjusted. Because of their highly perceptive nature Rats make good leaders than employees. Rats almost fit into any kind of profession.
Rats do not confide in people although they are very chatty. Though they exude a very calm air they can be very nervous people inside. Rats have a tendency to collect kick-knacks and a Rat person’s house will sure to be filled with a lot of things.
Rats are not very romantic people. But when they are with a highly compatible partner they can be very intense and passionate.
Rats always save for a rainy day. Rats are not much into the “a la mode” concept. Their homes may not be luxurious but it will be filled with warmth. Rats are very domestic and take very good care of their family.
Rants make excellent writers, broadcasters, actors, advisors, counselors, lawyers, politicians, designers, engineers, managers, directors, administrators, entrepreneurs, musicians, stand-up comedians, researchers, historians and race car drivers.
On the Positive side Rats are meticulous, intelligent, charismatic, charming, ambitious, practical, industrious and eloquent.
On the Negative side Rats are controlling, resentful, manipulative, cruel, vengeful, stubborn, power-hungry and critical.
The gemstone of the Rat is Garnet.
Find out your compatibility with the other Chinese signs.
The strengths and weaknesses of Chinese Zodiac may vary based on their element sign. The five different elements in the order of productive cycle include Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. If you do not know your element zodiac find out your Chinese element sign at Astrojasta.com.
Essential Reality Check No. 1: The Type of Pet for kids
The type of pet you can take into your household will depend on a whole host of things such as follows: How much will the pet costs be – not just to buy – but to care for on a daily basis? The ages of your kids – a two year old child will probably not be able to handle a pet gently and certainly won’t be able to care for the pet.. What size of pet does your child want? – What space will be needed? A hamster does not take up much space but guinea pigs, ferrets and rats need much larger cages. How much time do your kids and you as a family have to give to the pet? Will your family be safe with the pet?
Will the pet be safe with your family? If you have a larger pet such as a dog, cat, or goat what effects will it have on your family, friends and neighbours? How will your pet be cared for during your holidays. Will your family be able to cope with the eventual death of a pet? Some pets will sleep most of the day and be awake at night. Hamsters can be very noisy at night! If your child wants a dog you will need to look into the breed, size and exercise needs of the dog. Do you already have another pet, what effect will it have on that pet. For instance will your dog be ok with a cat or rabbit or bird? .
Essential Reality Check No. 2: True Costs of Pets for Kids
Some pets are very cheap to buy for instance hamsters, guinea pigs, goldfish. gerbils, fancy rats, fancy mice and rabbits and even ferrets. You will still need to consider: The cage set up ( this can be very expensive when looking at the cage sizes that most pets need) in fact they need the largest cage you can manage Food costs per week Bedding Vets bills if your pets become ill. e.g. Ferrets need a yearly injection against canine distemper. Holiday care – you will need to pay for this of course if you cannot rely on friends and family.
Bigger pets such as goats, and dogs and pedigree cats are far more expensive to buy initially, some costing hundreds of pounds. You will need to consider: Bedding and a cage (if buying one for your dog or cat) Leads and collars for dogs. Food bills Vets bills (dogs should have yearly check ups with a vets) Toys Holiday care (kennels can be very expensive) Flea treatment Ongoing veterinary costs if your pets becomes chronically ill.
Essential Reality Check No. 3: Ages of your Kids
As the parent or carer you will need to decide if your child is old enough to handle and care for a pet. How often have parents heard the cry oh but we promise we’ll take it for walks everyday. Or we’ll clean it out mum, we promise. How will you feel in a years time when you find yourself caring for the pets because the kids are busy with friends or away on a school trip or inundated with homework or just plain bored with the poor thing You will need to decide on a pet that is suitable for the age of your kids. For instance in most cases it would not be wise to buy a hamster for a two year old child who is still adapting to the world around them and may not know or be able to handle the hamster gently.
Do you want to give your kids some responsibility in caring for an animal. Some kids are very responsible and will be able to manage this. Other kids, well the sight of a baby animal is just too appealing, after all who can resist a cute puppy or kitten or baby hamster? At first you may need to help your kids, as caring for a pet is a very responsible job. As a parent or carer you will always need to oversee a pet’s care.
Essential Reality Check No. 4: The Space Required
Even small pets for kids such as guinea pigs, fancy rats and ferrets need a lot of cage space for a happy life. They will need the biggest cages you can find space for. These pets also need space to exercise out of the cage. Cats take up very little space, as do small breeds of dogs. Dogs will need a decent sized garden as well as walks to keep them well exercised.
Essential Reality Check No. 5: Time for your Pets
Do you and the family have time for a pet. For smaller pets for kids you will need to have them out of the cage and being handled daily for at least 2 hours a day. Do you have time to clean out your pet at least once or twice a week, or even daily? Some pets will certainly need the toilet corner of their cage cleaned more often to avoid a foul smelling cage and pet. Water bottles and food bowls will need cleaning and refilling every day.
Will you be able to walk your dog at least once a day? – dependent on the breed some need more! Are you willing to look after your pets for the many years some can live? (From 18 months to 2 years for a mouse up to 15 years for a dog) If you are out at work all day and the kids are at school all day your pets will need and will demand attention when you return home
Essential Reality Check No. 6: Your Pet and Family Safety
You will always need to ensure your kids safety when they are spending time with any pets for kids. Even little pets can bite and leave a wound. Dogs should not be left unattended with your kids as they are unpredictable. Even a faithful dog will bite and even attack a child if they are in pain or afraid. It happens rarely – but it does happen. You will also need to ensure your pets safety: Is your child able to handle a pet safely without hurting it. Is your pet safe with any other pets in the home? – if you have young children and a dog you will need to make sure the dog cannot escape because a door is accidentally left open.
If you have a dog you need to ensure visitors safety as you can be sued if your dog bites someone on your property (or even off your property) Make sure that when pets are having free time out of cages that: Other pets cannot hurt them They cannot chew electrical leads They cannot fall into toilets or baths of water. They cannot escape through gaps in walls or floors They cannot get outside without supervision
Essential Reality Check No. 7: Effects on Family and Neighbours
The whole family needs to be in agreement if you are getting pets for kids. Pets can be noisy and messy having an effect on family living. What effect will a pet such as a dog have on Granny who suffers with an allergy – will that mean she cannot come to visit anymore? If you get a dog will it bark and howl when you leave them for any length of time and will this annoy your neighbours. Will the dog bark when your neighbours are in their own garden. How will your neighbours take to having your pet cat mess in their garden? You will need to keep your yard free of dog mess to ensure it does not smell -particularly in summer months.
Essential Reality Check No. 8: Holidays and Care for Pets
If you have pets for kids what will happen to them during your holiday times. Do you have family or friends who can care for your pets while you are away. If not you will have to pay for your pets care. This will be expensive for dogs, cats and larger animals. Even for little pets, holiday care can be expensive.
Essential Reality Check No. 9: Loss of a Pet and Grief
Some children are really sensitive and will be distraught when their beloved pet eventually passes away, or is lost in some way. This is especially distressing if the pet has died as a result of an accident or illness. How will you manage this? The kids will need to grieve, grieving is a healthy part of a loss reaction. We can suffer losses every day in a small way such as not getting something we want, this causes a loss reaction and part of the healing for this is grief. If your child or other family member struggles with the grieving then look at the following and see if it applies. The grieving process has seven stepping stones through which people move. Your family member may not go through them in order or spend long on any one.
The stepping stones are: Shock, Denial, Guilt, ,Anger, Depression Bargaining, Acceptance Your child may want another pet this is called bargaining and is one of the stepping stones through the grief process. If your child cannot have another pet, break down the hidden losses that the death of their pet has caused. Could there be a loss of your child’s self worth or self esteem. Have they lost their only companion. Has your child lost the only one who listened to them. By chatting try to find out how your child is feeling and help them to work out their losses and then work through to acceptance by doing some healthy bargaining.
Would your child be able to regain their sense of worth or self esteem another way? Perhaps helping out with a friends pet for instance. For some children it may be helpful to have a burial service, so they can say goodbye properly. (My son kept some hair from his beloved dog) Our kids have managed the deaths of their pets really well and have gone on to have other pets, for other kids though it has more of an effect so you will need to decide when or if to replace your child’s pet.
Essential Reality Check No. 10: Pets for Kids are GOOD FUN!!!
Pets for kids are for the most part a great addition to the family.. They are often good company for your kids especially if the kids are lonely. Kids can learn a lot from caring for pets and by having pets even when they are lost naturally. Dogs can encourage the family out to get exercise as they walk the dog. All our kids love their pets and they are an important part of the family. So whatever pet you decide upon have fun and enjoy
Rats are naturally opportunistic omnivores. If they have the opportunity, they will indulge in insects and other small invertebrates, such as snails or caterpillars. However, as any farmer will attest, rats can also thrive on a predominantly plant-based diet made up of grains, corn, fruits, vegetables, and other plant material. So, not surprisingly, a pet rat’s food can be primarily vegetarian, if supplemented with fresh animal-based foods to provide additional beneficial nutrients.
Currently, most available rat foods are of mediocre quality, containing mostly low quality plant-based, and low-grade animal-derived ingredients which may be unhealthy over the long run. Even if higher quality, safer, and more nutritious organic ingredients are used, these are usually processed at high temperatures, which devitalize endogenous nutrients in the pet food products that contain them. High heat is used for most extruded rat food, i.e., pellet foods or ‘lab block’-type foods, even those products that are USDA certified organic.
A more ideal rat food would be composed of unrefined USDA certified organic ingredients and would not contain any artificial ingredients. These quality ingredients would not be exposed to, and therefore devitalized by, high heat processing. USDA certified organic ingredients are healthier because they are free of pesticides residues, are not genetically engineered, and are significantly more nutrient-rich than non-USDA certified organic ingredients. Moreover, organic certification assures that no toxic pesticides or cleaning agents are used during the handling, storage, and processing of food ingredients or final products. Currently, only organic certification assures that the pet food manufacturer uses the organic ingredients as claimed. Non-USDA certified organic claims are not yet regulated or enforced by US law. As you might gather from the foregoing, even USDA certified organic rat foods aren’t necessarily perfect foods for your pet rat, particularly those containing refined ingredients or ingredients that have been processed at high heat, which destroys the nutrients contained in those ingredients. Even though in such cases, excesses of supplementary nutrients may have to be added to achieve minimally acceptable nutrient levels after heat processing, these nutrients are generally synthetic and of questionable quality, and are also easily degraded and deactivated when exposed to air or light. Therefore, the nutritional value of organic rat foods that have been supplemented with isolated nutrients may rapidly fall below promised levels soon after these foods are manufactured or purchased by pet owners.
An alternative to supplementation with isolated synthetic nutrients is to provide nutrients through the primary food ingredients and to preserve these nutrients by using a gentle processing method, such as freezing or gentle dehydration. Currently, we know of only one pet food manufacturer which uses such a mild processing method to provide live raw dehydrated pet foods for pet rats and other pet rodents. If you don’t have the time or resources to provide your pet rat with fresh, healthy, and safe foods, then you would be well advised to search for the best available foods on the market and actively support those companies that supply such foods. Only in this way will more companies that are providing quality pet foods survive and be able to compete in the pet food market. In the case of rat foods, since there seems to be a general lack of interest and demand on the part of many rat owners, the market for such foods tends to be underexploited or even ignored by the majority of the pet food manufacturers.
Are Rats The Right Pets For You?
There are as many reasons to choose a rat as a pet as there are people that like rats.
Are you looking for a pet that does not take up a great deal of room in your house and your life? You might want to consider having a rat as a pet if you have a small house or apartment and/or have a very busy with work or school. These small creatures are extremely sociable little animals that get along with just about any other rat, as well as most people. A small part of rat care in this case is to make certain that you get a cage that is the right size for your rat and make sure that he or she is comfortable in that cage.
Are you able to spend plenty of time playing with, talking with, loving and training a rat? Knowing the answer to this question will help you decide whether or not owning a rat is the right choice. There are many facets of rat care that apply here (feeding, watering, cage cleaning and other things); yet the most important thing to your pet rat is having lots and lots of good playtime with and attention from their owner/person. If you are not going to be able to take the time to let him or her out of their cage for a minimum of 30 minutes everyday, you need to think again about this.
Do you want a very intelligent pet? Make no mistake about it, rats are very smart folks! Some are so intelligent that you can actually teach them to do many different tricks and to come to their name. You need to remember that rats are intelligent enough to know what their individual names are, who their owner/person is as well as whether or not their owner truly loves then and has time for them. Part of good rat care in this case is to make certain that you always talk to your rat, teach him/her how to do what you want and what you expect from them and to pay attention to them.
A good rat care rule of thumb here is this: a rat needs more than just Food, Fresh Water, a Clean Cage and a Good Home; they also need Love, Attention, Affection, Plenty of Playtime with you and Plenty of Petting and Affection. Rats are such loving creatures that you are going to love playing with them all that you can.
You must be able to devote an hour or more of good quality play time and rat care to your pet? If you do not have the necessary time to spend being able to play with, groom and take care of your rodent friend, you would be advised to choose a pet that is not going to need the attention from their people/owners that rats thrive on.
Rat Care has everything you need to know about caring for rats.