Rats are easy to care for and friendly. Read on for health tips.
Diet: Rat pellets are complete and balanced. Mazuri is a good brand. The seed mixtures can be fed as a treat. Fruit and vegies in small amounts are enjoyed. Rats don't have problems with overgrowth of harmful bacteria like the guinea pigs and rabbits have, but it's best not to over feed any one type of fruit or vegetable.
Cage: Plastic bottom and wire upper, multiple levels are enjoyed. Hidey hole. Large plastic wheel that can be attached to the side of the cage for support. Wire wheels can cause foot and leg injuries including fractures. Care Fresh bedding changed weekly. They produce a lot of stool and urine. Water bottle changed at least 2X weekly.
Very smart, so they need things to play with in cage and interactions with other rats and people to be happy. Cheap replaceable “toys” such as toilet paper tubes are fun to chew on.
Diseases: Upper respiratory infections and pneumonia from a combination of bacterias such as strep pneumonia and mycoplasma are a serious problem in rats. Mammary tumors are common and can get very large in a few weeks to a month, necessitating surgical removal. Skin problems from lice are common and treatable, not contagious to people. Lice are species specific.
Medications are usually easy to give. If difficult, can use a piece of cake donut or angel food cake and put the liquid dose on the food; it usually soaks in well and most rats will take meds that way. We make suspensions of antibiotics in FlavorX compounding solution and add flavors that rats like.