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The basics of owning a pet Rat!

Small Animal

Tuckers Pet & Produce stores love all animals, including those that aren’t as popular as others! Rats need health, training, a clean environment, love – just like any other pet and Tuckers stores have all the products you need to accomplish and provide a better life for your Rat.

Below are some great basic tips from Vetafarm to help you look after your pet Rat.

Rats are natural explorers. They love to play and climb and get into everything they can. To ensure your pet rats have space to explore and don’t get bored, the largest cage you can afford is best. A cage is better than a tank to allow for ventilation. To prevent discomfort and ailments such as bumblefoot, it’s best to have a solid base in the cage such as a tray, rather than wire.

Rats love to snuggle so ensure there are lots of hammocks, baskets, and houses for them to sleep in. Small cardboard boxes with some fabric strips for bedding are fantastic cheap shelters for your rats, and double as enrichment as they chew their own windows and doors into their new house. Just be sure to replace them if they get too torn up or soiled.

Give your rats plenty of chew toys to keep them interested – you will find they’ll eventually chew everything (even their favourite bed). They also love to build and customise their own nests, so providing them with strips of fabric or some paper to rip up will give them hours of entertainment.

Rats are generally quite clean, and the animals themselves don’t tend to have a strong aroma providing their cage is kept clean. Washing your pet rats is generally unnecessary as like cats, rats can often be observed cleaning themselves or each other.


Snuffles in rats is a very common ailment. Snuffles (also known as Chronic Respiratory Disease) is a nasal discharge with noisy or laboured breathing in pet rats. Affected rats may become depressed and even develop swollen joints if the disease progresses.

The cause of snuffles is a complex mix of bacteria and viruses. These organisms are frequently found in animals that appear healthy (carrier animals). The introduction of a stress event such as overcrowding, malnutrition or parasite infections will often cause the disease to break out with the animal sneezing, having a runny nose, breathing loudly and even developing a head tilt. If you notice your rat sneezing consistently, it’s best to seek the advice of a veterinarian – this illness can be life threatening.

Make sure you give your rats a good formulated diet – many run of the mill rat foods often lack balanced nutrition. Vetafarm’s Rodent Origins is designed to promote the best health for pet rats. Nutrition is always the basis for good animal health and it is the factor you have total control over.

The addition of Synbiotic 180-S to the diet of the animal has a positive effect in warding off Snuffles. The combination of prebiotics, enzymes and probiotic organisms works to promote the immune system and get the best from the food available.


Keeping your rat’s cage, environment and bedding clean is very important. Rats like to tear and rip things apart, so daily spot checks to remove any soiled or wrecked items is necessary.

When washing any bedding, the cage should be cleaned with Vetafarm Hutch Clean. It is 100% safe for animals, and will ensure they have a lovely, clean and disinfected home to return to when you’re finished!

To buy the mentioned products in this article and find more small animal health supplies, shop at your local Tuckers store or go online at to see the range.