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How To Prevent, Eliminate or Mask Pet Rat Odors

Three pet rats lounge in their cage in a play tunnel.

Three pet rats lounge in their cage in a play tunnel.

Out of all of the rodents one could possibly own, pet rats are some of the smartest, cleanest and most loving. As with any rodent, however, your rat might have or produce an unwanted odor.

Pet rats, in general, produce the least amount of odor. If you don't want a stinky pet that you have to bathe often, get a pet rat. They bathe themselves daily, spending the majority of their lives grooming themselves and each other. Female rats usually never have an odor. Male rats, on the other hand, sometimes can have oily fur or can produce a scent that smells faintly musky. If, however, you find yourself with a stinky rat, there are a few ways to combat the problem.

If your rat is a complete slob and he/she tends to leave stinky trails of feces in the cage, then you might want to try a bedding that will absorb these odors. Pine and other woods normally do a good job of eliminating waste odors for other small animals, but for rats, using any sort of dusty debris, especially wood chips, is something that should be avoided at all costs. Rats have extremely sensitive respiratory systems and their problems could be exasperated through the use of dusty bedding. Instead, look at something like FiberCore or Carefresh bedding (listed to the side). I don't use either of these, but I've done a fair amount of research on these products and it seems like everyone is pleased with them. These two products are only a few of the many products available to you.

In terms of bedding, make sure you avoid anything that has a perfume smell or an extremely strong odor. This might upset your rat's sensitive nose. Shredded paper and shredded newspaper do nothing for odor and, if you're really having a problem while using paper products, you either need to change out the bedding more often or use a new product.

If you've tried everything and the room in which you keep your rats in begins to smell on a daily basis, you might want to invest in pet odor eliminator like the ones listed to the side. These products only mask odor, but they definitely work and will overpower the smell of your rat's cage. However, make sure you invest in a PET ODOR eliminator. If you just buy a Febreze plug-in, you might be harming your little rat's sensitive nose. Find something that is specifically for pet odor and, I promise you, it will work to mask the odor. 

If your actual rat is stinky, then you have to combat that problem with something like a waterless shampoo or by bathing them with a baby shampoo. To see various options for bathing your rat, read my other article (on the sidebar), "How To Bathe Your Rat."

Rats, just like any other rodent, can be extremely stinky. Our noses can get used to smells very quickly, so if you think you're smelling something from your rat's cage, then you probably are. 


Miquel on July 30, 2011:

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If u like "rats" so much why don't u get one?

I had a Husky Fancy rat and dog for 2 years and there was no problem. They used to play together.

Just don't say, after that speech "...if I didn't have a dog."


Sorry my english, i'm portuguese.

Maddie Ruud from Oakland, CA on March 21, 2011:

I also tweeted your Hub on bathing rats, by the way. Look for it with the #GreatHubs hashtag!

HIllaryKladke (author) on March 21, 2011:

Thanks, Maddie. I have two right now and they're awesome! They're like little puppies and a lot of people don't realize that. But thank you :)

Maddie Ruud from Oakland, CA on March 21, 2011:

I love your Hubs! Many people have this idea in their heads that rats are stinky, dirty creatures that belong in a sewer. I've always found them incredibly cute, and would get one in a heartbeat if I didn't have a dog.

Keep up the good work!

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