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Pet Ownership

Selecting the perfect pet plus pet ownership!

Pet Ownership

Thinking about something petty?

If you are considering enhancing your lifestyle with a pet then you are about to enter into a relationship that will give you constant delight. Once you have experienced pet ownership, you will wonder how you survived without your new buddy.

We get something from our pets that we just don't seem to get from any other source, not even our fellow human beings, but how do you select the perfect pet and what is pet ownership like?

All the good oil is here!

Good Luck!!

Dr Cam's Information on Pet Ownership!

pawprint  Pets - Why own them?

pawprint  Buddy Pets

pawprint  Health Enhancers

pawprint  Diseases you can Catch from your Pets

pawprint  Choosing a pet

pawprint  The Difference Between Cats and Dogs

pawprint  Oh Baby!

pawprint  Kids and Pets

pawprint  Pets for the Elderly

pawprint  Selecting and Raising a perfect Pup

pawprint  Crying Wolf

pawprint  I Hate My Cat

pawprint  The History of Cat Domestication

pawprint  Poultry as Pets

pawprint  Reptiles as Pets

pawprint  Rat Tales

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Rat Tales

Have you ever considered a rascally rat as a pet? Rats make fascinating buddies. They are social, gentle creatures and cost very little to purchase. They are easy to maintain and as they have a short life span, they are not a long term commitment like dogs and cats - but they are addictive.

1. How Long Do Rats Live?

On the average, Rats live for 2 ½ to 3 ½ years although some have been known to live for more than four years.

2. What Type of Housing Do Rats Need?

A quality rodent residence should be made of strong material that will resist attempts by the rat to chew through it. Non-porous materials, such as plastic or metal, are ideal, and walls and fittings should not be coated with toxic paint that the rat might ingest.

Mesh cages are suitable but they must have solid floors.

Rats must be kept cool as they cannot shed heat easily. High temperatures are lethal, therefore they need good ventilation. Cages need to be escape-proof with tight fitting lids or doors.

Aquaria are often used because rascally rats cannot climb their walls. However, they don't allow effective ventilation and this can be a significant problem.

3. What Bedding Should I Use

Wood chips are commonly used for bedding. Cat litter such as the paper-based litters (Breeder's Choice or Lite and Easy) or the lucerne-based litters (Natty Kat) are suitable for a small number of rats.

Whatever the bedding used, it should be absorbent and be changed regularly to prevent smell and to promote hygiene. Two to three bedding changes per week are normally needed.

4. What Do I Feed My Rat

Rats are omnivores and will eat almost anything. However, to prevent nutritional deficiencies, commercially available balanced rat pellets are ideal. Rats will eat about five grams of balanced pellets per 100 grams of body weight.

Pellets can be supplemented with lucerne hay, well-washed fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts to provide a break from boredom. Hard foods cater for the rats' needs to gnaw.

For an occasional treat, your rat will love gourmet treats such as fresh grasshoppers, crickets and cockroaches. Just don't kiss him afterwards.

Water must be available continually and this is usually provided via sipper tubes. The tubes can easily become blocked with dirt and should be checked regularly.

5. What Diseases Effect Rats?

Rats suffer from a variety diseases. Respiratory conditions are common and especially mycoplasmosis. With this condition, the rats develop a nasal discharge and are breathless. Mycoplasmosis is almost impossible to eliminate but can often be controlled with antibiotics. The disease is more common in cages contaminated with high ammonia levels. As ammonia comes from stale urine, cleanliness is vital.

Viruses are also a common cause of respiratory disease.

Rats also suffer from various intestinal diseases. Mammary tumours and kidney disease often affect older rats.

6. Do Rats Spread Disease?

Contrary to popular belief, rats do not commonly spread disease. Plague is a well known disease that is spread by infected rat fleas passing from rats to man.

Epidemics of Plague were recorded in China in 224 BC. The disease occurred in huge pandemics that, in the Middle Ages, destroyed entire populations of cities. However, you don't have to worry about any prospective pet rat causing Plague in your family!

Some people are allergic to rat dander and to rat urine and rat bites are sometimes a problem, but otherwise, diseases are rarely spread from rats to humans.

7. Aren't Rats Smelly?

Rats are naturally tidy and spend hours grooming themselves. They will keep their bed clean and often learn to use a specific area as their toilet. They are much less smelly than mice and odour is only a problem if their cage is not cleaned.

8. What Are Rats Like as Pets?

Rats are friendly and curious animals and have stronger personalities than mice. They are very inquisitive and quite social.

9. What Toys Can a Rat Play With?

Watching rats play is part of the fun. To add the 'whoopee' factor to their lifestyle, visit the hardware store and buy PVC pipes and connectors. Your rodent buddies will love to explore these and will rest and sleep in them too. Toilet rolls and plastic butter containers make good cubbies for rats. Visit your pet show and yo will find a fascinating range of modular tunnels, Jungle Jims, hammock beds and other happy rat toys.

10. Are Rats Easy To Breed?

Rats are too easy to breed and if a rat owner is not careful, a pair of romantic rats can produce hordes of offspring with litters of more than ten being common. A Doe takes about three weeks to produce pups after mating and she will be fertile again twenty-four hours after giving birth. For this reason, a pregnant female should be separated from her beaus before her pups are born.

Lastly - don't forget them. Mice, rats and, for that matter, any animals that are confined to a cage are totally at your mercy. As they don't bark or meow for food, they are sometimes forgotten in the busy lives that we all lead nowadays. Like all pets, they are a responsibility - but well worth consideration

Get help from Dr Cam!