Why is My Rat Sneezing? [3 Possible Reasons]

So, you have a pet rat and you are noticing it is sneezing often nowadays. Sometimes it sneezes a lot and other times it’s moderate. Naturally, this is making you worried. 

Now, you’re maybe wondering why is your rat sneezing?

There can be various reasons why your rat’s sneezing. It may be distressed or suffering from any internal problem or disease. However, the reason is normally multifactorial. There are also cases where stress or any risk component in your rat’s environment can cause it to sneeze.  

Still can’t understand why your rat is sneezing? Don’t worry. Here we’ve included 3 possible reasons why your rat is sneezing and their solution. 

Keep reading to find out!

Is it Normal for Rats to Sneeze?

Is it Normal for Rats to Sneeze

No, it’s not normal for rats to sneeze. If it happens only once a day, there is nothing to be worried about. 

However, if it happens more than once, it may be a sign of distress or disease. So, whenever you see your rat sneezing, observe carefully how often it occurs. Also, whether the sneezing stops after a few hours.

Often times continuous sneezing in rats can be a sign of some major health issues. So, you need to resolve these issues as soon as possible to give your rat a healthy life. 

3 Reasons Why Your Rat is Sneezing

As it has been mentioned before, rats usually do not sneeze. So, when you hear them sneezing, you should know your pet is showing signs of protest. They usually do it through audible vocalization.

Find out what’s wrong and take the necessary steps.

Reason 1: Respiratory Disease in Rats

Respiratory diseases are extremely common in rats. There can be various signs such as sneezing, nasal discharge, wheezing, and odd sounds while breathing, including honking.

The causes of respiratory disease in rats are usually multifactorial and can include different bacteria-induced infections. There can also be some possible viral causes. 

Mycoplasma can be transmitted via aerosolization. It acts as the main player in most chronic respiratory diseases in rats. It can also be transferred when pets sneeze or breathe on each other. Also, occasionally a female rat may transfer it to her babies.

Solution 1: Antibiotics

Antibiotics are generally used to prevent or control bacterial infections. Many antibiotics prescribed for respiratory infections in rats may also include anti-inflammatory effects. 

This can help boost up your rat’s relieve symptoms. Antibiotics that are normally used for rats include ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, azithromycin, and amoxycillin-clavulanic acid.

Solution 2: Anti-Inflammatories

Drugs with anti-inflammatory effects are prescribed to minimize any inflammation that can be occurring in the rat’s airway. This is very common in the early stage of any respiratory disease in rats. It may sometimes indicate deterioration in your rat’s clinical state.

Solution 3: Bronchodilators And Mucolytics

Bronchodilators expand the airways of the rat’s lungs. This allows additional air to pass through. Mucolytics help break up any extra mucous build-up. 

If your rat is having trouble breathing, both Bronchodilators and Mucolytics may enable your rat to breathe better.

Solution  4: Nebulisation

A specialised nebulizer can be used to treat rats suffering from respiratory disease. This type of nebulizer turns drugs into vapour. This way the drugs can be easily delivered to your pet’s airways.

Nebulisation also helps your rat get rid of mucous that may have built up in the airways during the disease.

Reason 2: Lots of Dust or Air Pollutants

Another reason your rat is sneezing can be because there are tons of dust or air pollutants in your rat’s environment. Their lungs are very delicate and fragile. Avoid keeping them on softwood shavings, Cedar or any type of bedding that is dusty. It may cause them to sneeze.

Rats also can’t tolerate the build-up of ammonia well. It may happen if you keep them in a bin cage or tank.

 If any type of chemical sprays, such as air fresheners or plugin sprays, air fresheners, pet deodorizers or any spray perfume, is used anywhere near your rat it may trigger sneezing.


Try to move your rat to dust or a pollution-free environment. Make sure to vacuum their room well, including the pet’s carpet. 

Normally, chemical sprays/scents tend to trigger sneezing in rats. Avoid using any type of diffusers, incense, air freshener, oil warmers, candles, etc. around your rat. These can induce sneezing and may increase adverse reactions.

Reason 3: Your Rat is Stressed

Rats frequently sneeze when they are stressed.

Examine the rat’s eyes and nose for a red secretion. When suffering from stress, your rat may discharge red fluid from a gland situated behind its eyes.

This also occurs if it experiences any illness or injury. Pay close attention to whether your rat is releasing this liquid, that resembles blood, through its nose and eyes.


First of all, try to find out the possible cause of your pet’s stress. It can be tension or dispute with the other rat in its cage.

If that’s the case, try to keep them separate for a couple of days. That way, your rat can relax mentally. But even after this, you see no change in your rat’s state, then it’s time for you to find another solution.

Early Signs

Seeing your pet rat sneezing can be quite tough for you to digest. However, to limit your rat’s sneezing in the future, you need to look out for a few things. 

Here are some signs that you need to look out for in your rat: 

  • Monitor your rat’s energy levels. You need to see whether they are lethargic or not for early diagnosis. 
  • Check for clicking sounds from your rat’s sinuses. This could be an early sign of a disease. 
  • Keep track of your rat’s eating
  • One more thing that you need to look into is whether there’s any red discharge coming from your rat’s nose. 


Do rats sneeze when stressed?

Yes, rats may sneeze when they’re stressed. Most commonly, audible vocalizations should be taken as indications of stress in rats. 

What does it mean when a rat sneezes?

If you notice your rat sneeze, it may be happening because of dust or air pollution. It can also be because you have recently moved your rat to a new environment. This is causing it stress. Lastly, it can be because your rat is suffering from Urinary Tract Infections.

How long do mycoplasma rats live?

Rats with the condition of mycoplasma may live to about 2-3 years. Mycoplasma is a type of infection that occurs in rats and mice.


Hope you have already got the answer to your question of why is your rat sneezing?

Now, after you have figured out the reason, take all the necessary steps. You might think you are not able to handle it alone. In that case, seek professional help. 

So, that’s it for now. Have an amazing day!

Ryan Dugan
Ryan Dugan
Ryan Dugan

Ryan Dugan is a dedicated pet care professional who offers top-notch services for a variety of pet species. He has a soft spot for my own feline companion, Sophie. He is passionate about animals He shares his knowledge and experience on his blog to help other pet owners understand and care for their own beloved companions. Whether you need a pet-sitting service or advice on pet care, He is the go-to expert.

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