Introducing your pet rat to water is probably something you may not ever
need to do, but should there be a scenario where say your rat needs a bath
because it becomes particularly soiled or for medical purposes or if it
gets some sort contaminate or chemical on them that needs to be rinsed off,
in this one time situation you may need to just put your rat in a soapy
bath or in a small sink.
If you're introducing them to water because you're the type of person that may
want to bathe them frequently, or may have a rat that needs it, the best thing
to do is do it slowly. Start with a small pan. Put just a small amount of water,
place the rat in the pan and let them get used to what it's like to stand in
water, to be in the water and to actually get the sensation. And then you
want to gently pour water overthem. Essentially what you're doing in desensitizing
them to that.
Rats are adept at swimming although they generally don't and the majority of
people don't take them to the beach or take them to the swimming pool but
if you have a rat where bathing regimens are important, you're going to
have to start slowly by just getting them used to water, getting their feet
wet and then basically moving further towards pouring water over them,
getting them wet and getting them used to the sensation of what it is to be
in a bath, to get wet and to understand what it's like to then have shampoo
and then to be rinsed all is a very slow, very calm, very patient process
so that the rat doesn't become fearful or doesn't have any type of panic or
stress reaction as some may be afraid of water. Especially if they're in
water that's too deep for them to get their footing.
That being said, there are people who have rats that do swim. They will put them
in a bathtub as a means of exercise and a means for these rats to be able to have the
opportunity to get in a swimming pool type environment. I mean we're
talking about a pan or a bathtub, but for the most part a lot of people
don't do this and it's probably not necessary. It becomes more of an
individual choice on whether you want your rat to be desensitized to water,
whether you're going to need to bathe your rat frequently, and if you choose
to do so you're going to have to get them used to it slowly and calmly.