This article is from the Summer 2001 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Kids Q & A
By Nichole Royer
Karen Brennan Maloney, age 11, Georgia, e-mail
QHello, I am 11 years old and live in Georgia. I am thinking about purchasing a fancy rat. However, I also have three dogs and I am wondering how they (dogs and rat) would get along if the door was accidentally opened and the dogs were let in a room with the rat. Another thing is I cannot even find a breeder in my state. The closest one I know of is seven hours away, so I may have to buy from PetsMart. My mother is interested in helping me. I would like to hear your thoughts on all of this. Thanks for your help.
AHow your dogs and rats would get along will depend on many factors. Many dogs view the small critters as something to eat, and there really isn’t anything that can be done to change their minds. My own dogs (Malamutes and a Siberian Husky) have all been raised around my rats and mice, and they all would eat any of the little critters given the chance. I’m a firm believer in strong cages and doors that are kept closed and locked.
It is unfortunate that there are not more breeders in some areas. I checked and could not find any listed in your area. Though it is best to buy from a breeder, you can get a wonderful pet from a pet shop. You might want to visit all your local shops, and you may be lucky and find one that knows a local breeder. If not, you may be able to find a very nice healthy rat at your PetsMart. Find out when their shipments of rats are most likely to come in. Go that day, and closely inspect all the rats that come in. If any in the group have goopy eyes, runny nose, or are sneezing, wait for their next shipment. Also check their skin (under the fur) for any mites or other crawly bugs. Once you find a group that appears healthy, it’s just a matter of finding two girls or two boys with nice temperaments (I never recommend just one . . . they need a friend). This isn’t as sure a method of getting healthy rats as buying from a breeder, but with a little time and a careful inspection before purchase, you can increase your chances dramatically.