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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My male rats are getting really stinky. No matter how much you clean the cage out, they always make it stink again. I've attempted bathing the rats in just plain, warm water, but that doesn't affect them in anyway, except by making them grumpy! :D

I was wondering, how do you bathe rats? I've googled it, but they didn't really answer any of my questions. What shampoo or soap do you use? Do you put them in a bath tub, or a bucket-sort-of-thing? I don't want them to get sick from their own smell, so help would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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well most people fill a sink with warm water, a bit warmer than you would run your own bath as rats have a higher body temprature. you can either use baby shampoo or pet shampoo, personally i use baby shampoo because its easer to get. as for applying the shampoo i find its easier to put the shampoo on your own hands first, and sorta make it all foamy.You can dry them off with either a towl, or you can use a hairdryer on a low heat far away from the rat. and thats it really. hope they gett all clean. oh and it might be a good idea to clip there nails first as most rats dont really like water.Also the reason it smells so much might be because you clean it too often and they feel they have to make it smell like home. if you have a wire cage i wouldnt advise cleaning it more than once every 3 days.

hope this helped =]
 

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my girls HATE baths... I have since used kitten cleaning wipes and they don't seem to mind. they smell good and they're soft afterwards.

what are you using for bedding? we used this soft recycled paper stuff for awhile (it was reccomended on here... can't remember the brand) that stuff had the worst smell.. that rats would smell like it (any plastic in the cage still faintly smells of it after being washed 34982348234 times) it didn't seem to do a good job absorbency-wise either... that didn't make it smell any better. We have since switched to 'yesterdays news' (compressed newspaper pellets) and have had much better luck, cage stays clean for almost a week (I clean there waste out every day or so... much easier now that they're littler trained)
 

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It makes no sense to me that your rats could get sick from their own smell. Everything I've read says that rats are rather OCD about personal hygeine and are probably cleaning themselves 6+ times a day. So I'm pretty sure you don't have to worry about their health.

Not that that makes the smell any better. :lol:
 

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dimlights: There is ammonia in rat urine that can be very bad for their health. Look at it this way, it like you living in a small room and peeing and pooing on the floor and furniture.

When I gave my boys a bath I used dawn (they were very greasy after intros began). I put some warm water in a bucket with the soap and used a cup to pour some on the rat, then rubbed him and held him under the faucet to rinse him off. Then I let him play in a towel to dry
 

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Glindella, I had never thought of using dawn for Barry's buck grease... it is brilliant! We use it at work all the time when pets come in covered in oil, etc...

Thanks!
 

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I wouldn't use it a lot, it can be quite drying. But it does get the grease off :) We should write them a letter telling them our new use for their product :p
 

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:) Yeah, we should.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you so much for the tips everyone! I tried washing the boys today but I just couldn't! They were clawing me and running up my arms and wetting me like crazy! simbakitten, I really should've clipped their claws first but I was thinking it would take way too long.

glindella, what exactly is Dawn? And where do you get it from? I've never even heard of it, but from the sound of it; it's great!

The bedding I have is compressed newspaper pellets, except cheaper then Yesterdays News. I only ever clean the cage out once each week the maximum. The minimum, once every four days. Is that okay?

Thanks again for everyone's advice, it is really really appreciated! :D
 

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Dawn is just a brand of dishsoap ;). I know what you mean about the smell of buck grease though! I haven't had any unaltered males in a long time, and I visited my local rat rescue earlier this week. I sure don't miss that smell!
 

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sounds like you tried to was them all at once, if so that is never going to work

We do a two person rat line in our wash process. If you have a friend to help out it is a good laugh.

First is prepare your area. If you do this in the sink make sure all counters are clear because if you do have an escape they are easier to catch with no dishes to hide in or around.

I fill the sink with about 1 or 2 inches of water & then leave the facet to trickle with the proper temperature of water.

Second person stands close by with a towel over shoulder & to catch rat if necessary. Also I will have that person squeeze off the appropriate amount of soap into my palm at the right moment.

Now the rat hand off

Person one quickly scoops warm water onto the rat's shoulders, back & underside then reaches out for a small amount of soap (the more often you do this the better you will be at knowing how much soap to use). Quickly work into a lather being careful to avoid ear & eyes. Scoop up more water to rinse & if there is any residue left over you have that trickle of water running... just place them under that for a couple seconds for a good rinse. Turn to the 2nd person who should now have the towel stretched out toward you. Rub briskly.

I can wash a rat like this in the matter of seconds & so long as I have no escapes I can get through bathing all 7 of mine in the matter of just a few minutes.

If I don't have a friend to help I lay out the towel onto the counter & I pour some soap into a small dish so that I am able to dip my fingertips into it.

It take practice

Hopefully this little description helps you out

**side note: I have been using the shampoo made for ferrets (four paws ferret glow) the last 3 times I washed my rats. I use only a drop or two. It is mildly fragrant, no one has had any sneezes & the hairless rat had no signs of any type of skin reaction. Since ferrets have a slight musky smell & a natural oily coat I figured this might be formulated to not strip too much of their natural oils. It has worked wonderfully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am going to buy a range of different bathing products, and see which one works the best. (I won't bathe them more then once every week!) Anyway, so far I've bought Dawn, Johnsons Body Wash, another random one I've never heard of and I'm out to get Four Paws Ferret Glow today!

I'll keep you all updated, and tell you what happens in their next bathtime! :D
 

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I faced this problem as well until I approached it scientifically.

In the wild, such a bad smell as we find in most rat cages would be a liability as dogsm coyotes, cats, snakes?, and owls could sniff them out. Try NOT sniffing them out. I looked at all the factors and when you realize what their natural bedding is, it becomes clear.

Wild rats burrow and use dirt, leaves, and other natural detritis as bedding. I copied the natural environment as closely as I could. I filled the lower level of their double cage with dirt and put fresh grass and leaves in. I watched to se what would happen. The rats dug tunnels, made nests with the plant matter, and seemed happier. But the smell? Much, much, much diminished, if not eliminated.

Curious, I investigated further the biotic processes that produced this result. Dirt naturally absorbed odor, as urine is deposited it filters through the soil and is metabolized through microscopic fauna, as are the raisins. The plant matter accelerates other healthy bacteria and you end up with an active compost ecosystem. The result? Where dirt and other natural bedding is used, odor, ammonium, and harmful bacteria are filtered, processed, and consumed through the same system that saves rats in their natural habitat. Odor is gone and a pleasant earthy smell is created.

You still must clean out the soil sample, but much less often (depending on amount). A 10 to 20 gallon bottom will last between 2 to 4 weeks as the rats constantly turn the compost heap over. Is this safe? Yes, if you are careful about the source of soil, use enough, and change it, it is very safe and happy for the rodents. I have 4 rats living 2 plus years so far on this method. Remember ammonium is replaced as soon as a rat pees in traditional bedding situations, the dirt filters and absorbs.

Is this perfect? No. The necessary amount of dirt takes up a large portion of an aquarium, the rats tend to dig it all over the floor, and the owner must closely monitor the moisture content. But as far as odor and harmful waste byproducts go, nature indeed knows best.

Mix your soil in three parts sand, clay, and detritic compost (potting soil) to preserve moisture without it getting too hard.
 

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i use baby shampoo, if you go to rat health, i have pics of what it looks like when i bathe mine :) just from today too

clip their claws BEFORE the bath or your arms will look like mine :)twisted: OZZY!) they will climb your arms but baby shampoo in the water, get them wet, avoid face and ears as much as possible. when wet, take a small amount of baby shampoo and rub it into the fur (again avoid face ears and eyes) then when lathered, rince them off WELL. then take a towel, wrap him up and give him a nice massage, make sure he is DRY or he could get sick. good luck!
 

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Is your cage powdercoated or galvanized?

I usually bathe my rats (if totally necessary) in the sink with baby shampoo or pet shampoo. For boys with a serious buck grease problem just use a little bit of Dawn dishsoap on the problem areas, and nowhere else. Bathing is usually a frightening and skin-drying experience, so unless its truly necessary then try not to. Are your boys marinaters? Maybe you need to line their hammocks in wash cloths and change them daily?

Maybe try a new bedding to find one better at odour absorption, I do very well with aspen myself. :)
 

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"Yesterdays News" works great for odor absorbtion... it's recycled and compressed newspaper pellets... odor free, 99.7 dust free, and non-toxic.

A 20lb. bag of it cost around $13 here... a little more pricey than the alternatives but i'm a firm believer in you get what you pay for... your ratties deserve the best you can give them. Sorry if this sounded like a sales-pitch! :p I used that carefresh crap (the soft fluffy recycled paper) and it didn't work nearly as good... and honestly I think the stuff smells horrid out of the bag.
 

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well my rats are pitiful in the tub. Fiona who is about 6 months old. and Lola who is about 1 month old hate them. I fill up the tub in warm water. (shallow of course) but enough so lola can swim. well i bathe them with CleanCritter or something like that I found in the pet store for small animals. they end up smelling like baby powder. =]
 

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i now have a deep, old style tub so when their tails get dingy i put in nough water so that it reaches their bellies but they can still touch bottom comfortably then put the baby soap directly in the water and froth it up. i'll let them "play" in that while i clean out their cage. they aren't as clean as when i give them a sink bath but they get some of the grime off. (i also drain the water and rinse them all off in fresh water before drying and cuddle time on the couch).

Njal: the dirt is a fascinating idea. but do you have to use an aquarim? how deep a base would you need if you just wanted to line the bottom of a cage? when monitoring for moisture what do you look for exactly? and when you said 2-4 weeks before it needs changing, that wasn't a mistype right? this sounds like a wonderful alternative and so much better suited to my circumstances if i can make it work
 
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