New Home Guide
Bringing your new rat home guide!
When you come to pick up your babies, you will need to bring a carrier. Depending on how far you have to go and if someone else is with you who can either drive or watch them, it may play a role in what type.
A cat carrier may be fine. The plastic ones often have too wide of holes that babies can escape from.
Fabric ones may be chewed through easily, like in a blink of an eye!
These are two carriers I recommend. I own both and use them. You need to get the large size!
New Home Sneezes:
New home sneezes is a very common thing that may give new owners some concern. Rats can be sensitive to new environments and scents. A brand new home and cage can bring on sneezes for a week or two as they adjust.
This is perfectly normal!
When to worry:
If there is a wet lung sound, coughing, excessive porphyrin (red gunk around eyes/nose or on fur as it can be spread around as they groom), lethargic.
Then I would be concerned and take them to the vet.
Things to help the transition:
No smoking of any kind (all smoke is bad) around the animals or in the same room. Even in the house or it being on your clothing can trigger issues.
Do not use fragrance- air fresheners, perfumes, candles, incense, etc...
If using any type of cloth/fleece in the cage - wash in fragrance-free sensitive laundry soap and do not use fabric softener or sheets. This may be built up in your dryer if you use them already and can still cause issues.
Keep their cage clean.
They should have access to clean fresh water daily.
When bringing your rats home consider the temperature for travel. Sometimes the car's heat or AC can trigger some respiratory issues. But you also do not want the trip to be too hot or cold. I'd block off any direct air so that it doesn't blow on them. Obviously, if you stop do not leave them in the car alone.
Try to keep the transition stress free.
Limit out of the cage time and build up to more. Let them explore their new cage too!
Limit them from being around other pets until settled. This means don't let your cat or dog hover around the cage. Never let them interact.
Try to keep a natural day/night cycle of light and darkness. This is super important for their health and tumor prevention as well! I suggest not putting the cage in a room where you may be up with lights and activity at night if possible.
Do not introduce too many new foods at once this can give them diarrhea.
I feed Oxbow Adult & pro plan Dog Food in Salmon (this is great food for rats and the salmon is great for skin and coats!), and they also get oats, BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) (like for birds not salted/flavored people ones) in moderation this helps keep a nice coat, and multigrain cheerios as a snack. I wouldn't give them any fresh foods for a week or two so they adjust and then go slow.
All rats are treated with revolution (cat flea/mite/parasite spot on treatment) before they leave. This is just a precaution as pests are super easy to get in food and bedding. It protects them for a month.
I only recommend revolution for rats. You can not buy it in the US without a prescription from the vet. But you can order it online without one from Canada or Australia. It takes around a month for it to arrive, sometimes longer.
You MUST get the cat or kitten formula. They are the same strength but the cat has more in its tube.
It is expensive, but rats only need one tiny dot of it (you place on the back of the shoulders) and it will last you a long time.
I order mine HERE
If you are looking for a good fun social group to discuss rats I highly recommend the group Realistic Pet Rat Owners