Rats bathe themselves all day long so they really don't need a regular soap/water bath like we do. Unless the rat is really dirty and not cleaning themselves up, they got into something, or they are sick or old and need the help, we recommend not bathing them as they will find it very traumatic and you will usually end up with a lot of scratches. :roll:
I bathed mine when i had only had them for 10 days i didnt put them in a bowl of water or anything - i put a bowl with luke warm water in the cage and when they went near them i would splash them and wipe down there fur then got them out one by one and dabbed them with a dry towel - there still alive and healthy so it didnt hurt them but i agree - it could really distress them!!
I have one rat who loves coming into the shower with me... I'll put my hand under the water stream, and she'll sit on my arm and randomly dash in and out of the water. Every once in a while she'll park with her rear end in the stream, and slowly turn and plunge her head in before running away.
She's a weirdo, but it makes for a fun adventure for the both of us. I tried it once with my other girl, and she was NOT a fan... so she misses out while Mokey gets to go splashing now.
Though your rats probably don't need it, I've bathed mine a couple of times because I'm not putting their dirty selves into my freshly cleaned out cage. Here's what you do (But seriously don't do it very often, no more than once every few months):
Fill up the bath or sink with some water. I suggest the bath because it's harder for them to jump out. And odds are they will jump out. Just enough water that they are half submerged or so, that's all I ever do. The water should be a little warmer than you think it should be, as rats have a higher body temperature than us.
Get the rat wet, but avoid getting water on their face or ears. Then just take some baby shampoo or puppy/kitten shampoo and lather them up (Once again avoid the head, especially the ears). Then just wash that back off and towel dry.
Also, prepare to get your arms scratched up because they aren't going to like it.
i used to bathe my rats all the time, with the newest 3 ive only washed one who had some skin problems. some of em dont like it. but every once and a while i think its a good thing to do as their fur feels so nice afterwards. and yeah they clean themselves but so do cats and its a must to wash cats every now and then too. its just healthy. rats lay in urine and poo. i think every few months is good for a bath even if its not really nescessary. just a quick rinse if they dont like it. i fill up the tub with a little water and use a detachable shower head to rinse off the kitten shampoo. keep it away from the eyes/ears. even if you dont have the shampoo and little dip can be a good idea too and they might even like it from what i hear ;p (ive yet to have a rat that enjoyed a bath, hence i dont do it often). (just read shraders post and he pretty much covered it all lol ****, what a waste of typing from me).
if you have a detchable showerhead with pressure adjusment settings i would def use it. makes it so easy. make sure you dry them off really good too, esp if youre house is cold.
and as shrader said, watch the arms long sleeves are a good idea they will try to climb up your arms non stop if they dont like it.
Two of my ratty girls always need baths. You can literally see the urine and whatever stains on the white part of the their fur, and they don't smell very nice. I don't know how they do it; the other two rats are always clean, and I keep the cage nice and clean, with virtually no surfaces for them to pee on and then lay on.
What I use for shampoo is just the small animal shampoo you can buy at the pet store. I turn the faucet on in the bathroom sink to let the temperature get right, and I set a towel right next to it to be ready to wrap up a wet ratty.
I don't submerge the rats, I actually just wash them right under the stream of water coming out of the faucet. I hold them right behind the shoulders with one hand, so that my hand is covering their face and ears, and I hold and wash their body with the other. After I've gotten them soaked, I massage the shampoo into their fur. I do this well, otherwise the stains don't come out. Then I rinse them. And rinse them. When done, I "pet" the excess water out of their fur, then I wrap them (or roll them, haha) in a big, fluffy towel and hold them while I satisfy my Internet addiction. Rofl.
Once they're almost dry, I put some conditioner called Unicoat (it's actually a dog conditioner) and massage it in with a Zoom Groom brush. Then I towel them a little more and comb and pet them until they're completely dry. It makes their fur really soft, and they smell like babies when I'm done!
I really need to wash Lilly She has this weird pinkish red stuff on her fur. I have no idea what it is. She is a clean healthy rat so I don't think it's mites. And it's not blood. Could it be from the bedding? Anyways, I want to bath her but I am afraid kind of. I can wear a sweatshirt and be saved from scratches but has anyone been severely bitten from their scared wet rat? Or are they generally to busy thinking about getting away from it to bite?
Normally rats groom the porphyrin into their fur so sometimes you'll see a pinkish cast to their fur. And if you keep a rat from grooming regularly or if its not feeling well, the porphyrin will build up around the nose and eyes because they're not "washing" it onto the rest of their body. At least that's what I've read in the literature I've found.
Belgie's fur is slowly turning a pink in places, too! It started right at the nap of her neck, so I figured it was just teeny droplets of porphorine settling there from Sevilla's nose when she's lay on Belgie while they slept. That what it still is, but I do wonder why she's not keeping up with her appearance... jk. And actually, now that I look at her, Lola is turning a little red, too...
But I doubt your girl will bite, as long as she remembers who you are. She'll just squirm and scratch, and probably squeak and scream.
Just watch and make sure that they're grooming themselves regularly. If you see that happening, then its a good sign that they're healthy. When they start getting sick, they don't groom as much and you'll see red crusty material around their eyes and nose. Plus their fur starts to get a little spikey/fluffed looking and their back is hunched up. Someone else (not sure if it was on here?) suggested using baby wipes to clean them instead of bathing all the time. That sounds like a great idea to me.
I wonder how well baby wipes would work? It would probably work for the eyes nose stuff. But I don't think it would be real effective on the fur. I think Lilly is fine she doesn't have anything by her eyes or nose. Her and Luna Groom themselves a lot.