Ideas for how to help your ratties deal with the Heat

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SQ

Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
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Quote:

"With the heat and humidity fast approaching, please be mindful of your furry critters.
The heat can take quite a toll on the little ones!
Many small animals genetically have bad lungs and when you add excessive heat and humidity to them it creates a perfect storm for respiratory distress. Especially if you have animals suffering from chronic respiratory infections, scarred lungs or congestive heart failure please try to keep them in an air conditioned atmosphere. "

Here are some ideas:
(if you do not have an air conditioner set at a comfortable level)

1. Keep the shades drawn and do not put their cage in direct sunlight.

2. Use insulated curtains over the windows when the sun is shining against them - this keeps the heat out in the summer and the cold out in the winter

3. Water: Have at least 2 sources of water in the cage (more is better). At least 1 needs to be a water dish that can not be tipped over. Clean and change that water often (at least twice a day) with fresh cold water. Someone suggested that you can even give them an extra bottle with Pedialyte.

4. Feed your rats lab block mush - soak their rat blocks in cool water to make mush - a cool food that will help to keep them hydrated

5. Use 2 ceramic tiles. Place them in the freezer and interchange them every few hours. They make a good cool place to lay down for a snooze.

6. Fill a water bottle half way and put in the freezer. Once frozen, cover with a sock. Place in the cage so your ratties have a chilled cuddle buddy

7. Freeze milk or soda containers full of water and put them in or next to the cage to cool things down a bit. But know that they may chew it and flood the cage when the water melts

8. Frozen fruits and veggies, and bowls of water with ice cubes, make nice summer time treats that will help cool your pets.

9. Put a soda/beer bottle cozy on your pet’s water bottle to help keep it cool.

10. Change out your fleece hammocks and cage liners for cotton

11. Keep up the good air circulation with fans. If you use a fan, keep it on low and do not have it blow directly on the cage (or only aim it at a portion of the cage, making sure your pet can get away from the breeze), because drafts cause illness

12. Put frozen peas, frozen watermelon, ice cubes, etc on a baking sheet (it could get really messy)

13. Use a window fan to blow out hot air during the day and bring in cooler air at night
- I find that doing this helps a great deal

14. Fishing for peas …. set up a dish, pan, clean litter box etc for the rats containing lukewarm water and add frozen peas … this fun activity may help them to stay cool as they get wet, retrieve and eat the frozen peas

15. Wet a big towel in cold water and drape it over the cage

Note: Many commercially available cold packs contain a CHEMICAL coolant. These are not safe to use as the rats may chew on them and ingest the chemical.

Please add more ideas
 
Last edited:

allie

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Would misting them with a spray bottle to wet their coats be good? I do this with my dog. Don't know whether rats can sweat, but the water would evaporate off of them providing a cooling effect like sweating does for people. Assuming they are in a place with adequate air flow, otherwise evaporative cooling wouldn't work.
 

Teresa

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If you do mist them, avoid any water in the face...eyes and ears.
Is this a problem for rats? I regularly bathe my rats and rinse them completely with the shower. One rat even likes to swim under water. I've never had any problems with their heads getting wet. But now I'm concerned!
 

Fidget

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Get a small mesh bag (maybe onions or avocados came in it? or a mesh laundry bag), put one of those liquid-filled plastic things you freeze in it (or a bunch of the small water-filled ones you get for drinks in the buck store), drape the bag over the fan so the frozen things hang in front and anchor the rest to the back, turn the fan on low (aimed like SQ said in #9). it will blow cooled air as long the the things stay frozen...
 

allie

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Get a small mesh bag (maybe onions or avocados came in it? or a mesh laundry bag), put one of those liquid-filled plastic things you freeze in it (or a bunch of the small water-filled ones you get for drinks in the buck store), drape the bag over the fan so the frozen things hang in front and anchor the rest to the back, turn the fan on low (aimed like SQ said in #9). it will blow cooled air as long the the things stay frozen...
That's a great idea!

Is this a problem for rats? I regularly bathe my rats and rinse them completely with the shower. One rat even likes to swim under water. I've never had any problems with their heads getting wet. But now I'm concerned!
I learned last summer that rats are excellent swimmers. I have wild rats that live under my house and shed, and last summer I went out to our small pool and found a wild rat having a swim on a hot day! When I walked up to the edge and she saw me, she went under the water and swam across the pool to the other side, then put her little front feet up on the edge and just floated there for a while.
 

Synchro246

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Ideally yes, we should offer all of this- and this is just one anecdotal experience.
My rats had had uris before. But they were healthy. .. well one had cancer but no more lung stuff.
During irma in Florida last September I was forced to leave without my rats or fish (did leave with 2 dogs 2 ferrets and 6 kids) . They went without human help or electricity for 2 weeks during evacuation. But we did do large water changes and cage cleanings and stocking before leaving.
2 weeks gone with no electricity I was scared to return.
I just knew I had lost all of my charges...



But all were well! No harm! Both rats! All 20 fish!
They must have been sweltering, but they were ok!
No doubt this isn't ideal, but it goes to show rats (and fish) are heardier than we might feel sometimes.
 

allie

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That must have been really hard to leave them, I can't imagine :( I'm glad all of you and your pets made it through safely!
 

Synchro246

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Thank you. It was terrifying but once we were back together it was all so much more than ok. Tears of joy and sooo much gratitude
 

Luna&Ralph

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Synchro246, that story was amazing! So happy to hear that they were well!

Teresa, the problem with skin staying wet for long periods of time is that it can lead to infection, specifically in the ears. As long as they get sufficiently dried after, it shouldn’t be a problem. In general, warm+wet=infection, but it isn’t an issue unless it stays like that for a while. It sounds like you’re doing everything right, no need to be concerned!
 

ratgamer16

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My ratso's favorite summertime treat is frozen watermelon chunks. I also make homemade snack shacks out of toilet paper tubes, honey and crushed nuts and banana chips, and putting these in the freezer both cools down the rats and helps solidify the nut mixture. I have found that the best way to give the rats a cooling device in the cage without them chewing it up and spilling melted ice all over is to put a bunch of ice cubes in a glass jar and simply replace the ice cubes whenever they melt.
 

Chachinicus

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We live in Phoenix so it’s very hot here right now. We keep the house set between 75-77 degrees at all times and also have a ceiling fan going nearly all day. So while it’s very hot outside, it’s cool-mild inside during the day and cool at night. Do I need to worry about them overheating in this environment? I’m making them hammocks and sleep sacks with cotton and fleece. Is this too hot for them? I’m also going to provide them with tissue boxes for hiding and sleeping, what should I give them to stuff in there with them without overheating them?
 

SQ

Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
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We live in Phoenix so it’s very hot here right now. We keep the house set between 75-77 degrees at all times and also have a ceiling fan going nearly all day. So while it’s very hot outside, it’s cool-mild inside during the day and cool at night. Do I need to worry about them overheating in this environment? I’m making them hammocks and sleep sacks with cotton and fleece. Is this too hot for them? I’m also going to provide them with tissue boxes for hiding and sleeping, what should I give them to stuff in there with them without overheating them?
they should be fine at those temperatures …… it sounds like they are very lucky little ratties
but all rats need to have at least 2 sources of water, and at least one source needs to be a water dish they can not upset
 

Chachinicus

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they should be fine at those temperatures …… it sounds like they are very lucky little ratties
but all rats need to have at least 2 sources of water, and at least one source needs to be a water dish they can not upset
Perfect, thank you! :)
 

SQ

Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
Joined
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central New Brunswick Canada
I use a window fan to blow hot air out. When the air outside is cooler then inside, I use the window fan to blow the cooler air inside - I do this when raining too unless the rain is coming into the window.
I would highly recommend a window fan.

I also use insulated curtains over the windows when the sun is shining against them - this keeps the cold out in the winter and the heat out in the summer

I found that this helps a lot.
But I know that during to summer I am doing good if I can keep the temperature down to 80 degrees because it gets so hot ……. as long as the ratties have opportunities to cool off (cold tiles, fishing for peas etc) and the temperature does not change a lot, they seem to do ok
I also use several of the suggestions found on this thread
 

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