Euless, Texas

I have kept rats as pets for a long time now, and within the past few years I have started taking in rescues. Previously, all of my rats have been from Petsmart (which are wonderful, healthy, and long lived). However, the rescues I have taken in have been cheap feeder rats from Petco, and have cost me hundreds in vet bills.

While all female rats are prone to mammary tumors, lung issues, and skin problems, I have rarely had these issues with high quality Petsmart rats. Every single Petco rat I have ever taken in has had these problems, and the majority I have taken to the vet to be put down after a year or so of life.

I have heard these same issues with small animals besides rats who had been purchased at Petco vs Petsmart. The staff at Petco knows little about how to care for rats, and they are often kept in cramped conditions (twenty or thirty rats in tiny cages kept on pine bedding, rats should never be kept on pine and the general rule is one rat per every two square feet). Whereas Petsmart keeps their rats in excellent conditions.

I am sick and tired of taking in these poor unhealthy animals. As rats, they always have wonderful dispositions, and it is always heartbreaking to get these wonderful animals put down, especially after spending hundreds to get the tumors removed, and just having them come back in different spots.

If you do go the Petco route, be prepared to spend hundreds at the vet. Please consider the Petsmart small animals instead. I know Petsmart isn't perfect, but when it comes to the long term health of their animals, they are wonderful.

(I've been to multiple Petco and Petsmart locations in different states, and I find that this general rule holds true at both locations.)

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How much do they COST dammit :(


About 11 dollars for fancy rats and about 15 for dumbo rats! :) hope that helps!


I have had rats as pets and have only gotten females. I only got them from Petsmart and small local specialty pet stores. I have gotten other small animals from PETCO years ago and not one was healthy.


I got my rat Winston from petco and he has upper respitory problems and he had to be on expensive medication. I know what you mean about those high vet bills, but we couldn't see him die.

He was so sick when we got him, he wouldn't have lived much longer. He was very unhealthy and needed medical attention. When I complained to Petco they simply demanded a phone number, which I prefer to keep my number privite. I am sick and tired of how Petco keeps their rats in horrible condition.

In a cramped, glass tank in cedar bedding. Cedar bedding is extremly harmful. My rat is sick from being in there.

Hes getting better finally, but it was an expensive thing to do to help him. I suggest you go to Petco IF you want a sick rat, are willing to spend tons of money on vet bills, and want to support their rat abuse business.


a few years ago me and my sister got a ferret at petco and we bought the food they tolld us to buy and it almost killed him and when we brought him home and gave him a bath the water turned brown cause he was so dirty and then my sister got a rat at petco after her hamster died and all of a sudden she got fat and really mean and we found out she was pregnant! and we didnt even hav a boy rat we only had her and another girl rat tht was my brothers so we made petco give us the money back for the rat we bought and the money we would have payed for all the babys also at petco the animals dont look as healthy like they arre at petsmart so i prefer petsmart so if ur to buy a animal go to petsmart i only go to petco to look at the animals


Small animals at our Petco are overcrowded. The Birds too, and when I asked, I was told they are supposed to and allowed to put up to 45 small birds in one glass case...

:( Alot of the small animals and fish come in already dead or dying. :(


Its horrible to hear this. I am a petco employee and our rats are taken care of.

We do not use any wood bedding and there are 1-3 young sm-med rats in a 15-20 gallon tank. Note for all sales associates who work for any animal supply store that carries pets - inform your manager what you are seeing, wait a week to see if conditions improve then contact your district manager, then animal control or animal abuse hotline. get things changed all it takes is one person.

get the local media into it if you have too. help the animals


I'm extremley pissed with petco!!! we just recently bought a male rat and a week later another male, we returned the rats today because we cought ringworm from the rats and they were also pretty sick.

When i took them up to the register today and told the lady what was going on she laughed and said it wasn't the first time and that she had got ringworm from a ginnea pig from the store and showed it to us on her finger. We were VERRY pissed because we had become very attached to our ratters and we were informed that they would be changed to feeder i guess the next animal to eat them will get ringworm???

And also ringworm is very contagious so the other rats will get infected and the employee will spread it throughout the store. I WILL NEVER SHOP PETCO AGAIN!!!


So instead of taking the poor things to the vet you decided to take them back to the store where they will be used as food for a snake? Seriously?

How is that ANY less lacking in care about animals then what you are saying PETCO has?

You are just as bad. Incase the irony was lost on you.


@?-chemicals in the bedding can cause the tumors. The "planet petco" wood shavings come from recycled wood apparently. Like from houses.


The bedding is not pine. Its aspen.

I agree about everything else though. I'm an employee, and the state of care for our mice and rats is not what it should be. I personally though have never seen more than 5 rats in one of our 15 gallon tanks.

Keep in mind that petco does sell the rats as feeders, which is why you see so many in a cage-they're expected to go fast. Not saying I agree, that's just how it is.


How is it their fault that the rats get tumors? Do you know how cancer works?