As the days become hotter, it's important to maintain a comfortable living environment for your pets. Rats do best in temperatures that are comfortable to us humans - the range between 60°F to mid 70°F are ideal. If your rats become overheated, they can experience heat stroke, heart attacks, and death.
Due to the seriousness of heat stroke and heart attacks, you should NOT keep your rats outside. The changing temperatures throughout the day (and night) are not good for our domestic fancy rats - especially during the summer months.
Keep An Eye Out For The Following Symptoms!
Lethargy (slow or no movements)
Hot to the Touch (tail, ears, and feet)
Laying Stretched Out
Eating Less Than Normal
When I know that it's going to be a hot day (upper 80°s and 90°s) I leave my AC on while I go to work. This isn't an option for everyone, but it is the best choice for maintaining a constant, comfortable temperature. Window units are a cheap option that will keep your rats nice and cool. They can easily be installed in a bedroom window and are cheaper to run than standard AC units.
Fans are used for air circulation. Don't position a fan directly at your rats as a heavy gust can do more harm than good. Keeping a fan at a reasonable distance will generate a breeze and stir up warm, stagnant air.
To escape the heat, your rat may enjoy laying on a cold surface. That surface can be as simple as a floor tile! Pet brands sell cooling ledges, but tiles (which do the same thing) are often sold individually as samples (for cheaper prices than the pet alternative!).
Stick a tile in the fridge or freezer for more impact!
Pea fishing allows your rats to get cooled down by water while they eat their favorite treats! If your rats aren't fond of peas, simply switch them out for something tastier. Dried meal worms and other fruits or veggies work great.
I like using paint roller trays for pea fishing. The trays are slanted, creating a shallow end and deep end just like a swimming pool! This allows your rats to walk in as far as they're comfortable with.
You can purchase these at any home improvement store. I even buy mine from the dollar store!
Pet fountains are a great enrichment tool and they'll keep your pet nice and cool! Since these fountains are electric, please never leave your rat unsupervised and never keep the fountain in their cage.
Toss in a favorite treat and take pea fishing to a whole new level!
If your rats are noticeably overheated, you may decide to dip them quickly in water (avoiding their ears and head). Room temperature water is best for this. Ensure that your rats are dry by night and that they do not become cold during the day.
Frozen Water Bottle
Once a water bottle has been frozen, you can place it directly in their cage. Keep in mind that rats love to chew - so expect to clean up a watery mess by the end of the day. If you have excessive chewers and are worried about choking or other injuries, use a different method.
DO NOT use frozen ice packs as they often contain chemicals.
Put ice in a water bowl or in their water bottles. By drinking the cold water, it will cool their body temperature.
Freeze fruits like cucumbers, bananas, or strawberries. Purchase a bag of frozen peas. You can even freeze baby food in ice trays!
What do you do to ensure that your ratties are comfortable during the hot summer months??