Pet Rat Grooming

Status: Real
Gary emailed me this article with the comment "Please tell me this is a hoax." Sadly, I think it's not. Here are some highlights from the article:

Grooming isn't just for dogs anymore, and many pet owners are bringing in their rats to groomers like Garrison, who uses waterless shampoo to make their coats shine and smell sweet... "We need to be there for all our clients," Garrison said. "I think we might be the only place around that grooms rats."...
"The most difficult part of grooming rats is trimming their nails," Garrison said. "They have very small feet." Ferguson recommends pet owners get their animals groomed at least once a month to protect them from parasites. "I love rats," she said. "It's an obsession to me. Sometimes when they get nervous they (urinate) but they don't usually bite. We know how to handle them because that's what we do."

A quick Google search brings up quite a few resources for rat owners who want to groom their pets. The biggest challenge for rat lovers seems to be the little drops of urine the delightful creatures leave as they walk around.


Posted on Tue Oct 25, 2005


Whats so unbelievable about it? You can groom your cat and your dog why not your rat?
Posted by Blood For Nothing  in  Somewhere in the Arctic  on  Tue Oct 25, 2005  at  04:55 PM
Wonder if they have groom hamsters too? I would love to take my hamster for a good groom sometime ^_^
I hope they offer trimming services too, so I won't have to go to the vet to get it's nails trimmed
Posted by Yushi  on  Tue Oct 25, 2005  at  04:56 PM
Hamster grooming sounds more fun than rat grooming, I know my old rat would have hated to be groomed...He was a meanie to people he didn't know.
Posted by Raoul Duke  on  Tue Oct 25, 2005  at  05:35 PM
My cousin married a guy who went for a pet rat in a big way. Somehow the rat was for sale at a pet store, and he wouldn't leave the store until she caved in and let him have the rat.

So I guess there's a special bond between a man and his rat that some of us can only guess at.
Posted by eriC draveS  in  Over here somewhere  on  Tue Oct 25, 2005  at  11:44 PM
This is my favorite way to groom a rat:

Rat Roulade
2 medium rats, dressed (cut off heads, paws and tails)
4 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups toasted bread cubes
2 tbsp. minced parsley
1/2 tsp. celery seeds
1/4 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup bouillon (1 cup water, 1 bouillon cube)
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
Saute bacon with onion until onion is tender. Mix in bread cubes, parsley, celery seeds and sage. Season rats with salt and pepper. Stuff each rat with stuffing. Tie rats closed with strings by wrapping around bodies. Place in pan and pour bouillon over roulades. Cover pan and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour or until rats are tender. Add tomato sauce and cover pan again. Cook for 30 minutes more.
Posted by Craig  on  Wed Oct 26, 2005  at  05:34 AM
I don't think they pee unless they're really scared. I've held a few rats and they've never peed on me. Same goes for amphibians and reptiles, they only pee if you're holding them wrong.
Posted by Citizen Premier  in  spite of public outcry  on  Wed Oct 26, 2005  at  06:39 AM
My beardy needs a good manacure and teeth brushing...
Posted by X  in  McKinney, TX  on  Wed Oct 26, 2005  at  07:32 AM
I think the idea is a good one. I love rats, they're my second favorite animal. (Birds being my first.) I used to own one, too. Why is it sad that this isn't a hoax? Rats need grooming just like any other pet with fur.

What's really sad are those places that allow you to give your dogs plastic surgery. I saw it on the news guy took his dog to have liposuction. Also, the other day I was at a party, and this one girl brought in a Chihuahua with BRIGHT PINK toenails and a diamond collar. So I'd say taking your pet rat to get washed and brushed or to have it's nails trimmed is hardly over the top by any means.
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Wed Oct 26, 2005  at  12:24 PM
rats = vermin
Posted by Lilorfnannie  on  Wed Oct 26, 2005  at  08:32 PM
Lilorfnannie = VERMIN
Gary = Never loved by ANYTHING
Craig = scares vermin
Thanks to everyone else! >^^<
Posted by KD  in  La Verne, California  on  Wed Oct 26, 2005  at  08:48 PM
Thank you?
Posted by Craig  on  Thu Oct 27, 2005  at  06:38 AM
Animal plastic surgery?? Please tell me that's a hoax.

As for grooming rats...I just plunk mine down in a half-full bathtub and let him paddle around. They're excellent swimmers.
Posted by Elizabeth  in  Austin, TX  on  Tue Nov 01, 2005  at  07:43 PM
Well, I guess things like ear jobs and tail bobs are cosmetic surgery for dogs (for dog owners, I should say: I very much doubt that the dogs want it). Then there's "declawing" cats, which doesn't make cats beautiful so much as crippled (they whack off most of the fingers along with the nails).
Posted by Big Gary, trying spats on his hamster  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Tue Nov 01, 2005  at  09:34 PM
Well, its not really a bad idea. Trimming claws and washing rats is a pain. Especially the washing part, since the survival instinct kicks in if you try to soak them. And as all animals rats dont really smell that nice if you dont wash them every now and then.
Posted by Lore  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  01:26 AM
Unless a pet rat gets into something that makes them very dirty (like stomping in a stick of butter or diving into a bucket of mud) a rat doesn't need a bath. Rats bath themselves by licking their fur. Their natural oils give them luster. Bath that all away reguarly and you'll end up causing the skin to dry and flake, and sometimes fur will even fall off. Plus because rats, like cats, clean their own fur by licking, the shampoo used must be 100% safe for them. Otherwise any residue can kill them. For cats, they may get sick, but a rat could easily die from a small amount of shampoo.

To bath now and then, because some rats do like a swim is fine, but a shampoo needs to be safe for them and it can't be often.
Rats shouldn't smell, but unneutered males can have an odor. A throughly and often cleaned cage can help combat odor. As can litter box training. For unneutered males, a swipe with a baby wipe along the rear end and a little water to wash off residue now and then is all they need. A full on bath for odor isn't needed and shouldn't be if the rats are kept in a clean enviroment.
Posted by Siren  in  Palm Coast, FL  on  Tue Nov 15, 2005  at  09:13 AM
You can litterbox train them? I thought they were incontinent? At least mine seems to be.
Posted by Elizabeth  in  Austin, TX  on  Tue Nov 15, 2005  at  10:07 AM
As a response to above questions:

Rats urinate as a way to mark their territory. If they like where they are, what they play with, or who they meet, they will dribble pee onto it. So, Elizabeth, you probably think your rat is incontinent because it likes you. Citizen Premier, either the rats you held were not overly fond of you or you were fortunate enough not to notice their tiny dribbles.

And yes, you can potty train them. You just can't train them not to "mark."
Posted by Heather  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  06:53 PM
But can they control their bowels? Mine can't seem to, which is unfortunately why I can't hold him as much as I would like. He does not urinate on me.
Posted by Elizabeth  in  Austin, TX  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  06:56 PM
Hi, I just got a female Rat. She is very nice and doesn't bite. I got her a litter box for her cage, but sometimes when i take her out, if she is just running around on me or in my sleeve she will sometimes pee a little, but not all the time. Is there anything i can do about that or will she just eventually grow out of it (on the count of she is only 2 months old)?
Posted by Paige  on  Sun Dec 04, 2005  at  04:25 PM
The first thing you have to remember about pet rats is these aren't vermin that have been netted from sewers and sold to pet stores. Pet rats, just like dogs and cats, have been bred for hundreds of generations and there are a lot of different breeds.
Having had several pet rats I can tell you that no they won't grow out of dribbling a little urine here and there. Rats' vision isn't the best and they usually run around in the dark to avoid being seen and killed. Rats have a good sense of smell and hearing so they depend on those senses more than site.
I don't think I'd pay someone to groom my rats but giving a rat a bath is a pain. Their bodies are designed to get out of small spaces and being grasped panics them. When you try to rinse them they panic even more and struggle furiously to get free. Another problem is their tiny claws. Rats can't retract their claws like cats can so rat owners always get scratched up when their pets scramble across their bare skin. So when you bathe your rat you end up with scratches all over your hands. I'd say that's the main reason to have someone else do it.
Posted by MadRat  on  Thu Dec 22, 2005  at  10:46 PM
i am afraid to cut my rats toenails because i have heard so much about if you cut their quik (or however you spell it) they can bleed so much that they can get sick or even die, but it is so painful to have them crawling on me, especially trying to clean my teeth (only something us rat lovers would understand)that it is a great idea to have a rat groomer. i would give my rats a bath, but they hate water and last time i tried, my hands were scratched for a few weeks. all of you people who dont like rats, you must never have met one. they are the most adorable, nice, and friendly animals you have ever met. if you dont like them after you meet them then ok. but if you have never met a freinds rat who is at least a few months old, (when they r in petstores they are still kinda scared) then you really should.
Posted by rachel  in  colorado  on  Sun May 21, 2006  at  05:56 PM
I have two ( half a year old) big female rats. They are huge and dont smell. Yesterday i went to the pet shop to get their bedding when i saw one of the staff holding a small baby rat. I asked her about it and it was hers and an adult but it was really small for an adult. The female litter that was in yesterday was that rats and they wud only grow to that size ( which is half the size of my rats now). I told her about my big female rats (Puddle and sydney) and whot wud happen if i brought a baby female rat home. She said it would be fine and they would just mother care it so i now have two huge rats ( puddle and sydney) and a tiny rat who'll always be a lot smaller ( spritz ).

P.S I tried putting my rats in the bath tub with a small amount of water but the just jumped rite out. angry
Posted by ILOVEMYRATS  in  wolverhampton  on  Tue Aug 29, 2006  at  01:30 AM
hi dude i have a rat it stinks so much and my whole room smells what shampoo shall i give it and it poos in places instead of weeing is this because they are scard
Posted by LORNA HAYWARD  in  STAFFORD  on  Sun Oct 22, 2006  at  06:41 AM
i tried to see if my rat liked to swim and it just kept trying to jump out. i fell really bad and it smells now when its fur was wet.. but i dont think i would bring it to a groomer
Posted by jess  in  vegas  on  Tue Dec 26, 2006  at  07:00 PM
Of course they need to be groomed. Mine get baths on occasion, luckily mine love to swim. Since rats spend about 20%-30% of their lives grooming themselves, intense grooming by humans is rarely needed unless it hsa a skin condition or is a show rat that needs to get all gussied up. Yes, there are rat shows.

In response to some the rat-hatin' comments: Rats are incredibly wonderful pets. I have had many rats and I will have them throughout the rest of my life. They are sweet, love to cuddle, I've taught mine to respond to their own names. They really love people after you've socialized them correctly. One of mine regularly escapes from her cage and crawls into bed with me at night to cuddle. I couldn't say enough good things about these creatures. Once you can get beyond the sewer rat/Bubonic Plague/weird reptilian tail stereotypes, pet rats are absolutely some of the best pets anyone could have!
Posted by caroline  in  Austin,TX  on  Sat Apr 14, 2007  at  04:04 AM
that craig guy, booooooooo man show some respect boooooo.
Posted by el ratso  on  Thu Apr 26, 2007  at  01:21 PM
Hi I have a Rat his name is little willy all i want 2 know is can u wash them?If u can wash rats can u tell me wat shampoo And Conditioner u use thank-you :]
Posted by Courtney  in  victoria  on  Fri Apr 27, 2007  at  05:50 AM
Hi it is me again rember my rats name is little willy

Umm.... can u tell me the shampoo my rat stinks Lol
Posted by Courtney  in  victoria  on  Sat Apr 28, 2007  at  12:59 AM
If I do not clip them my rats nails can i put a rock in the cage to shave them down? If so what kind of rock?
Posted by charlotte  in  ohio  on  Wed May 02, 2007  at  05:25 PM
if you dont like rats, youre a piece of shit.
Posted by juno  in  California  on  Sat Jun 23, 2007  at  11:22 PM
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