Hairless rats require more care than rats that have fur, but lotion isn't advised for either kind. Lotion can actually be dangerous to your pet's health. But in your pantry is likely a natural skin moisturizer suited to keeping your hairless rat's skin soft and smooth. It's safe enough that your pet can lick his skin afterward without problem.
Because the hairless rat lacks protection for its skin, it's easy for the animal to get dry skin, to become sunburned and to acquire cuts and abrasions. In other words, you have to take more care with hairless varieties to prevent skin problems that are less common in rats that have hair.
Dangers of Lotion
You may have been told that baby lotion is an okay moisturizer for a hairless rat. Unfortunately, people who claim this don't take into consideration that the animal will groom himself, which includes licking. Consumption of baby lotion can poison the animal. Meanwhile, some lotions are alcohol-based, which also will irritate a rat's skin. Because of their acute sense of smell, rats may have allergic reactions to scented lotions. For the safety of your pet, never use lotion on him.
Moisturizing the Skin
Lotions are dangerous for your hairless rat's health, but the skin still requires moisturizing. Olive oil makes a great moisturizer because it is all-natural and edible. Pour some olive oil into a small container, dip your fingers into it and rub the oil into the rat's skin weekly. Because rats may get anxious during this process, you want your movements to feel more like petting than rubbing. Your pet will also enjoy the nice massage he receives. Be careful to keep the olive oil out of his eyes, ears and nose.
Other Issues With Hairless Rats
Dry skin isn't the only issue you have to address with hairless rats. Keep in mind that hairless rats have a harder time staying warm than other varieties, eat more due to their higher metabolism, and are more prone to illness and allergies. Being hairless means your pet doesn't have eyelashes to protect his eyes, so it's more likely they'll get debris in an eye, causing it to water, than rats with hair.
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Amy Brantley has been a writer since 2006, contributing to numerous online publications. She specializes in business, finance, food, decorating and pets.