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Best Ways to Support a Rat Terrier Naturally

Pet Care Tips 5 min read
Best Ways to Support a Rat Terrier Naturally

Friendly. Sweet. Fearless. Stubborn. Lovable. Happy go lucky. Adventurous. Snuggly. Do these words remind you of your furry friend?  All of these words could be used to describe NHV’s very own Rat Terrier, Chaya. Don’t let the small size and sweet golden eyes fool you. 


Rat Terriers are lively, active dogs that are often described as “compact but meaty.” Despite their small-to-medium size, they have strong shoulders, deep chests, and muscular legs. The ears of the Rat Terrier are bat-like and alert. They are known for having the typical ‘terrier personality’  and love to entertain and make people laugh.  They have a big heart and a ton of energy. Like all terriers, the “Rattie” takes great pleasure in digging, barking, and investigating. Though they are generally not yappy, if they aren’t able to catch your attention they are not shy to let you know. Here are some tips and tricks to care for your feisty bundle of energy!

Best Ways to Support a Rat Terrier Naturally

Helpful Tips to Care for Your Rat Terrier

  1. Food & diet. Because this is high-energy dog, you’ll need to ensure your Rat Terrier is being fed a high quality and nutritious diet. Many suffer from chronic food allergies, so getting a vet formulated nutrition plan can be useful to help eliminate any potential allergens.
  2. Grooming. While their short and thin hair means low grooming and bathing requirements, Rat Terriers are prone to skin sensitivities. Use gentle, scent-free shampoos and conditioners for bath time.  Weekly brushing—maybe more during seasonal shedding—and occasional baths will help keep their coat in pristine condition. Check those big, cute ears for any signs of infection or inflammation. Clean them with a natural ear cleaner such as Echo Gold to promote overall ear health! And don’t forget to regularly brush those pearly whites to protect against tartar buildup and promote overall mouth health.
  3. Safety. As they were originally bred from fox terriers to chase rats and other vermin, your Rat Terrier will have a natural tendency to dig and hunt. So ensure they have an enclosed yard or space to stretch their legs. Keep in mind- many are clever escape artists in search of adventure!
  4. Rat Terriers love human companionship. They are playful and lively, and want to be in the company of those they love. They want frequent play sessions and daily walks to make most of their quality time with you. Aim for at least 30 minutes of daily exercise to keep them happy and to help burn all that energy!
  5. Keeping warm. As Rat Terriers have a shorter natural coat, having an extra layer may be useful in cooler conditions. Ensure the jacket is well-fitted to maintain comfort, and remove any wet outerwear after a snowy or rainy walk.
  6. Socializing. Chaya grew up with Jonika and Zimba, resident NHV felines @the_office_meows , but as natural born predators and hunters, many Rat Terriers tend to have a strong prey drive. This means they love to chase and retrieve anything that moves! Focus on positive training, and walk your pup daily and introduce them to new social situations to feel comfortable.

Paws up!! 🐶🐾🐾

A rat terrier’s favorite day includes receiving belly rubs, playing hunting games with toys, and finding the sunniest spot in the room to take an afternoon snooze.

rat terrier diet

Common Health Conditions

Rat Terriers are generally regarded as a very healthy breed, but are predisposed to some health concerns:

  • Allergies. There are two main types- food, environmental and Rat Terriers are sensitive to both. Some of the common causes of seasonal allergies include dust, dust mites, pollen, grass, flea bites, or diet. Two common food allergens are chicken and beef but your Rat Terrier can be allergic to many different foods. Signs of environmental allergies and food allergies are different but often include very itchy skin, scratching, licking, ear infections or chewing the affected area. This can be very uncomfortable for your Rat Terrier and cause hot spots or sores.
  • Mange. If your dog has a weakened or compromised immune system, however, they can develop demodectic mange as a result of an immune system problem. This disorder can be localized, occurring as patches of red, scaly, skin with hair loss on the head, neck and forelegs.
  • Luxating patella. This is a musculoskeletal issue in which the knee cap ‘slips’ from the joint. Luxating Patella is thought to be a congenital condition, prone in smaller breeds such as Rat Terriers.  It can eventually lead to discomfort and limping, and decreased activity levels. No fun for a Rat Terrier who just wants to run around and play!
  • Dental problems. Rat terriers have large teeth which sometimes don’t fit in properly in their mouth, making them vulnerable to dental disease and bad mouth odor.

But wait… there’s a supplement for that!

  • Alge-Ex helps support histamine, and immune response activity. This can reduce symptoms of airborne allergies such as itchy watery eyes, rubbing of face and eyes, itchy ears, nasal discharge and sneezing associated with seasonal allergies.
  • Stimmune helps reduce symptoms of food allergies and also helps with infections while supporting the immune system
  • Yucca is useful for luxating patellas, as it contains powerful discomfort reducing and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps promote muscular strength and promotes a healthy appetite which comes handy as this breed is not a great eater or food-motivated.
  • Coco Furcare spray comes very handy for breeds like the Rat Terrier as they have sensitive skin that can get easily irritated. They have a very thin coat and exposure to the sun or a rough fabric can lead to small reddish patches. Coco furcare Spray can be used to bring relief instantly and leave the skin soft and clean.
  • Mouth Drops can be used 1-2 times daily to help keep the teeth and gums healthy. These are herbal and easy to apply. They will help your Rat Terrier have clean and disinfected mouth with no bad odor.
Rat terriers independent

Legend has it that in the 1900s farmers in the United States wanted to create the optimal pest hunter and they bred Bull Terrier, Whippet, Italian Greyhound, Beagle, and Manchester Terrier to create these doggies that we know as Rat Terriers. These fairly independent dogs are naturally inquisitive and can have frequent run-away adventures. It helps to always keep them in a space where they cannot let their instincts get them into trouble. Do you have a rat terrier in your life? we’d love to help you find the most suitable supplement for your Rattie. Just get in touch with an NHV Pet Expert today!

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NHV Pet Experts

NHV Pet Experts

We have a dedicated group of pet expert professionals, including veterinarians, vet techs, and other pet professionals to guide you through any questions. We’re committed to your pet’s wellness and can offer additional tips, resources, nutritional advice, and more.

Published: June 21, 2019

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