Monday, April 16, 2012

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

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.
owned by Babs on

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
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).

Here is a video I got with my Scarlett No-Haira, getting her weekly massage. She is quite feisty in the video as I normally let her run around a bit before wiping her down, but since it was getting late, I went right to the massage. Whoops!


  1. Great write up!

  2. Hi, it's Babs from the Rat Forum. Over the past two weeks Dobby and Roo both sadly passed (Dobby about nine days ago, and Roo just had to be pts after an operation to remove a tumour proved she was riddled with cancer). I was gutted I had no pictures of them after my laptop broke a while ago, but then I remembered you wrote this and had included their photos. Thanks so much for that, I'm heartbroken about Roo today and this has made me feel a little better, that she's not just wiped from memory with no pictures or anything. <3

    1. My sincere condolences to you. :(
      I am glad that we were able to do this piece and feature them so you will have photos again! :)

  3. I am very happy to read this post and enjoying this Post skin care . Really it is very helpful to me.thanks for sharing!!

  4. I have a hairless and I find this blog very helpful. Thanks!

  5. I use coconut oil on my ratties after their baths (I use Johnson's baby shampoo to clean them). Do you find that olive oil works better/best? And should I be giving them baths at all or just wiping them down? Some of them seem to enjoy the bath, but others try everything in their power to slip out of my grasp. (My name is Amanda, I'll see if I can create an accnt so I can do more sharing. I currently have two female hairless and a male, one haired girl, and just adopted out a juvenile boy and girl. Love my hairless babies!