How to Kill Rat Fleas

Fleas can be a painful irritant to your pet rat.
Fleas can be a painful irritant to your pet rat. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

While pet rats are generally clean animals, they are as susceptible to flea infestations as cats and dogs. Most rat fleas cannot live on humans as a long-term host, but they can deliver irritating bites to you and your other pets and make your rat miserable. There are few products marketed directly for pet rat flea control, but most products designed for puppies or kittens work well on rats. Once the personal infestation has been stopped, you should take steps to prevent re-infestation.

Things You'll Need

  • Flea shampoo (puppy or kitten formula)
  • Flea powder

Gently bathe the rat in the sink using a flea shampoo formulated for puppies or kittens. Rinse the rat thoroughly and dry it with a towel.

Remove all bedding from the rat's cage and scrub it thoroughly in hot water. Add fresh bedding and return your rat to the cage.

Sprinkle flea powder on the carpet surrounding the cage. This will help to prevent re-infestation. Do not put flea powder inside the cage, as extended exposure can harm the rat.

Examine your rat daily for signs of re-infestation. At the first sign of fleas, bathe the rat again. Repeat until fleas no longer appear.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have other pets in the house, bathe them as well. Most rat fleas will not thrive on a dog or cat, but they can provide a short-term habitat that will allow your rat to be re-infested.
  • Do not use flea control products meant for adult dogs or cats, and do not use flea control drops. A rat's small size and low body weight makes it much more sensitive to concentrated chemicals than dogs or cats.

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