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How to Travel with a Pet Rat

Learn how to travel with a pet rat in this Howcast rat video featuring veterinarian Anthony Pilny.


At various times in your pet ownership, you may have to travel with your pet rat. Certainly this is not limited to just trips to the veterinarian. This may mean that you have to take the pets with you for short trips, it may mean that you choose to take them to, say, a weekend home and there are even people who choose to take their rats with them on vacation, depending on the destination and where they may go.

So traveling with your pet rat does become, a little bit, of a science. The most important thing is having a good carrier. A pet carrier, like the one that you see here, standard pet carrier, sold in all the pet stores, work really, really well. They're safe, they allow you to provide a great environment for the rat. They can be filled with towels, with bedding, with blankets. You can put their food, a small water bowl if necessary and provide everything they need. And if you train them to being used to being put in these carriers, they generally don't mind it, and they don't resent it in any way.

There are a number of different carriers. Standard cat carriers work really well for rats. Some people will choose to use the plastic critter keeper containers to transport their rats as well. Other people will use any type of specially made rat cages for the transport and movement of their rat. If it's just a short trip to the veterinarian, sometimes just putting a blanket or towel in there is fine to get them there and get them home. They do appreciate the ability to burrow, to dig underneath the blankets, and to actually have an opportunity to hide in the event they become scared or nervous when they leave the home.

Anytime you're closing a lid on them, you want to make sure they don't have their feet on the edges of the carrier. You want to make sure you don't pinch their tail in the carrier. So it's important, before the lid is closed all the way, is you see what I did here. You want to make sure that it's not closed, and it's open just enough to make sure there are no toes or tails in it, before you actually allow the carrier to close completely, and then just slide the locks closed so they can't escape from it.

Depending on the type of carrier you use, some of them have snap-on lids that snap on pretty tightly, so you want to make sure that you're being very careful and you're not taking a chance of getting any body part ever caught in the carrier when you close it.

But the recommendation would be to purchase an appropriate, escape proof carrier. A carrier that has locks on it, indicating that they can't open it, or get out and there's no chance of that. It may mean that you need to put an extra lock on the carrier, just to be sure. In some cases, it's also a good idea to cover the carrier when you take them out. A towel or blanket with a hole cut through it for the handle to fit through, and then draped over the carrier, works really well in these cases.

So, when it comes down to traveling with your rat, taking them anywhere from the veterinarian to a long vacation, an appropriate rat escape proof carrier, one filled with lots of blankets and towels, and a means for them to feel really comfortable during travel and transport times, is important. Rats don't mind travel, they don't mind going in the carrier, and oftentimes it's pretty exciting for them to have the opportunity to get out of the home. So, that's the basics of traveling with your rat.

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