Rats are actually extremely clean creatures, unlike the images conjured up in the average person’s mind when one mentions the word ‘rat’. They spend 30% of their time awake grooming themselves. For this reason you hardly ever have to bathe or wash them unless they are for show in competitions. If you choose to bathe yours, make sure you use a puppy shampoo since human shampoo tends to irritate their skin.
Some rats however, tend to be lazy when it comes to cleaning their tails so you may need to help them out with this from time to time. You can do this with a soft, old toothbrush and bicarbonate of soda or animal shampoo. Wet the tail, apply your chosen cleaner and then stroke from the base of the tail to the tip repeatedly until it’s clean. Be very gently with his process as the tail is quite sensitive.
Some rat owners like to have their rat’s nails clipped regularly making the handling process more enjoyable. The best way to do this is to place a brick or large stone in their cage to play on as this will wear down their nails naturally. If you really want to clip them however, then get someone who is experienced to show you how to do it. If you hit a vein inside one of their nails, the rat can suffer a lot of blood loss.
The bedding in your rat’s cage needs to be changed every few days to prevent it from becoming too smelly. The only problem is, sometimes the rats can purposely make their bedding smellier because they can become insecure if it stops smelling like the way they’re used to. So one option is to add a little bit of the dirty bedding back in with the clean stuff so it still smells like home. Bucks tend to do this more than does. You can do this with the litter too if the same problem occurs there.