Hairless Rat Skin Care

Hairless rats need a bit more special care than your typical furred ratty. For more info on their special needs, you can check out this great post about Hairless Rat Care.

Cassius, another hairless cutie
owned by A.ngelF.eathers on RatForum.com

Two of the main ailments of hairless rats are dry skin and eye irritations. Both can cost you a pretty penny in vet bills so to avoid that, I do two things with my hairless, Scarlett No-Haira, that I think have drastically helped- wipe her eyes daily and give her a EVOO massage once a week.

I wipe her eyes daily using a damp cosmetic sponge. Because hairless rats…well…have no hair, they also have little to no lashes to keep dust and other debris from getting into the eye and irritating it. I use a cosmetic sponge because unlike cloth or tissues, it doesn’t leave anything else behind, which would defeat my purpose all together! Just a little warm water, squeeze out the excess, and gently wipe their eyes. You may see a little tint of red left behind on the sponge. That is porphyrin and in small amounts is normal. Its only when you can see excess staining around the eyes and nostrils that it can indicate a problem such as stress or illness. This helps wipe away any dust or debris that might otherwise irritate your naked ratties’ eyes. I suggest taking a good look at what type of litter or bedding you use if eye irritation continues to be an issue. I had a horrible time with Carefresh bedding. While it was one of the best for odor absorption, it was incredibly dusty. I found Yesterdays News and Planet Petco paper pellet cat litters were the best for odor as well as being very low in dust particles. Another alternative would be to use fleece or flannel material to line your cages.

Roo
owned by Babs on RatForum.com

The other issue hairless rats face is dry, flaky skin. Without fur, they are also more susceptible to scratches and nicks. By massaging olive oil into the skin, you can help moisturize it as well as make it soft and supple. Soft skin is more resilient to nicks. Some people suggest using baby lotion or oil, but I don’t think they realize that the rat is going to lick itself during grooming! Olive oil is not only more natural, but a lot safer too. It’s completely edible! I usually pour the tiniest bit in a shot glass then just dip my fingertips in it, rub them together a bit, then massage the oil into the skin of my hairless ratty. Most rats won’t sit still for this, so you could try rubbing the oil in as if you were simply petting them. What I like to do then is go back over the ratty with that damp cosmetic sponge again. I found it helps spread the oil over the rat a bit more evenly,especially if they are wiggly. You can do this massage once a week or as often as needed. Then rub your hands together and enjoy the fact that you too just got a moisturizing hand treatment in the process!

Dobby, meditating
owned by Babs on RatForum.com
And remember that hairless rats need a bit more protein than their furry cage mates, so reward them at the end of their treatment with a high protein snack, such as a bit of hard boiled egg, a piece of meat such as chicken, turkey, or beef, or a small cube of low sodium Parmesan cheese (ranked #1 in the 10 foods highest in protein).
🙂