• 7 Reasons Why NOT to Leave Your Pet Rats Home Alone While You Travel

    Posted on July 11, 2016 by in Care, Safety, Traveling with rats

    Your Questions | About Pet Rats Answers

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    Hi!

    I’m thinking of going out for a week and I want to know if it’d be safe to rat proof my room and give my rats free run for that long? I’d find a way to provide food and water for them. I just don’t think I can find a rat sitter.

    ABOUT PET RATS ANSWERS:

    I’m so glad you’re considering your options carefully. I would not recommend leaving your rats in a rat-proofed room by themselves for a week. There are so many things that could happen, things that are completely out of your control.

    No matter how much you plan ahead, your rats could…

    1. Chew through the walls or floor and then get lost inside the walls, under the floor or even escape outdoors.
    2. “Cook” to death if a heat wave were to occur
    3. Escape out the door. If you live in an apartment, a manager or landlord could open the door and let your rats out.
    4. Require medical care in the event they:
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      Pet rats need intellectual stimulation. Rearrange their cage regularly, rotate toys, build box forts and mazes, teach them tricks and how to play with food puzzles.

      • Ingest something toxic or harmful that you wouldn’t have thought they’d eat
      • Develop respiratory disease which is most effectively treated as soon as symptoms begin
      • Fight and get injured
      • Fall and break a bone or strain a muscle
      • Get caught in stringy material resulting in cutting off blood flow to one of their limbs or even their neck
    5. Rats need to be cleaned up after on a daily basis. It’s not a good idea to allow feces and urine to build up for an entire week. Urine turns into ammonia fumes which can cause mycoplasma. Feces can become moldy and toxic.
    6. Leaving out food and water for a week means the food won’t be fresh after the first day. Your rats need their food and water replenished every day.
    7. Pet rats enjoy human interaction. Once your rats are used to interacting with you, going an entire week without human contact can be stressful for them. Not only do they thrive by receiving love from their humans, but they also do better when stimulated intellectually. Changing up their environment, playing with them and teaching tricks all help keep our pet rats happy and mentally healthy.

    Note that almost all of the potential problems listed here can occur even if you were to leave your rats alone for a week INSIDE their cage. It’s simply not an option to leave pet rats without anyone to care for them while you’re away.

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    Can you ask a neighbor to come visit with your rats morning and evening? You can ask your neighbor to clean their cage, change their water and give them fresh food on a daily basis. Preferably they can also take your rats out of their cage to play each day.

    Or maybe you have a friend who likes rats, or you know someone who’s interested in learning about pet rats? You can even bring your rats to their house if it would make it easier for a friend to rat sit. If you do need to bring your rats to someone else’s home, you can temporarily house them in a large cat carrier while they’re visiting. Just make sure your friend takes them out at least twice a day to play (in a safe area).
    If neither of the above two options works, call your rats’ veterinarian and ask them for a referral to someone who can take care of your rats.

    Once you find the person who’ll take care of your rats, review with them the points in What Your Rat Sitter Needs to Know .That way you’ll know you’ve communicated what’s most important for your rats’ care.

    Another option: Bring your rats with you

    Any chance you can take your rats with you? If you’re traveling by car, pet rats are wonderful road-trip companions. For tips on car travel with your ratties, check out On the Road with Rats.

    Thanks for asking such a great question. I hope my responses are helpful and that you’re able to find someone to care for your rats while you’re away…or that you can take them with you.

    Best Wishes to You & Your Rats,

    Jasmine | About Pet Rats

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