How to Make a Rat Harness?

Pet Care


September 19, 2020

Rats are quirky and endearing creatures. They are also great pets to have. However, like most animals, they crave roaming and dislike being in a cage for too long!

If you’re a proud rat owner who’s looking to find a way to help your pet rat feel free while making sure they’re safe and don’t get lost, a harness and a leash might just be what you’re looking for.

In fact, if your rat gets used to having their harness and leash around the house, you may even be able to venture the outside world and explore it together!

What You Need to Know About Rat Harnesses

First of all, you may be wondering, what is a rat harness? A rat harness is a cord or a strap meant to fit snugly over a rat’s body with a leash used for restraining or guiding a rat inside a room, cage, or even outdoors. It’s popular among researchers who use rats in their laboratories and people who have rodents as pets.

If you’re looking for a harness for your furry friend, there are many kinds you can choose from. Here we’ll tell you all about rat harnesses and rat leashes, as well as which are the top-rated ones and how to make a rat leash of your own!

The Pros of Rat Harnesses

So why get a rat harness for your pet? Rats are domesticated animals that need to move and be dynamic. Keeping these cute critters engaged and active is fundamental for their happiness and health, but many worried rat owners are rightfully concerned about their pets’ safety if they let them roam free.

Freeing your pet rats can lead to a host of issues: they may get lost in small spaces, they may get hurt, and they may even run away. Putting a harness on your furry companion can help you make sure their wish to move around and wander gets fulfilled while you protect your pet. It does the job of pleasing your pet while saving yourself some trouble.

Leading your rat with a leash is not commonly done for rats as it is for dogs. It is rare for pet rat owners to be able to walk their pet rats around the block. Even if it is a possibility, it’s better not to have any expectations of this happening. However, it is an excellent way to restrain and carry your pet rat.

Putting a harness on a rat is also a great way to get them outside of a home safely and can help a lot with car rides or taking them to vet trips.

How to Choose the Right Rat Harness for You

If you’re planning on getting a harness for your furry companion, it’s important to ask yourself some questions regarding the type of harness you prefer and what suits your pet better. For instance, if you have many pet rats, you may want to acquire a harness that isn’t fiddly, and that is easy and quick to put on your pets.

Also, if your rat is allowed to roam your house without a leash, ask yourself if you need the combo with a leash or just a harness with a bell that informs you where your favorite rodent is. Furthermore, if your rat is particularly small, you’ll need to look out for smaller harnesses.

  • Know your rat’s measurements clearly

First of all, steer clear of collars. On the one hand, they are easy for rats to slip out of and escape. On the other hand, collars can be a choking hazard. Harnesses are a better option because they distribute the pressure evenly across your pet’s chest, and you can adjust them to fit your furry friend comfortably.

Make sure to know your rat’s measurements – this is where most rat harness purchases go wrong. Also, check how the strap fits onto the rat’s neck. If it allows free movement, if it can prevent injury, or if it can be used for other small pet animals you may have.

You should pick a harness that’s loose enough for your rat to move freely and snug enough that it won’t slip off. All in all, make sure it fits your furry pet comfortably. There are many standard rat harnesses and leashes you can get, or you can make your own!

If you’re looking for a harness in a pet store, you may not find one labeled specifically for rats. You can also find harnesses labeled for small animals like hamsters or ferrets that can suit your pet.

Make a DIY Rat Harness and Leash

With enough creativity and some DIY skills, you can create all kinds of amazing personalized harnesses for your furry companions. Just like you can learn how to make a harness out of a leash for dogs, you can create a harness out of nearly anything when it comes to rats. Here are several simple options for harnesses for your furry friend.

How to Make a Rat Leash and Harness From a Shoelace

To make a leash with a shoelace, start by gathering the right materials. For this harness and leash combo, you’ll need:

  • A safety clip
  • A shoelace
  • A badge holder with a clip (which you can substitute with two shoelaces and a clip)
  • Your pet rat’s favorite treat
  • A flat surface to work on

Then, you should take measurements of your pet with one of the shoelaces. Ensure the shoelace is snug around their abdomen and neck without leaving much space between the body and the lace. Less than a pinky of space should be enough.

As soon as you’ve measured and found the correct length, tie a knot, and cut the rest off. This should leave you with a circle of a shoelace.

To put the soon-to-be harness onto your rat, grab the shoelace circle and your treat. Slip your rat’s feet into the circle while distracting them with the treat. As you lift the two sides upwards, poke your safety pin through the two ends of the circle while making sure you don’t poke your little friend. Finally, clip on the badge holder’s clip and your brand new DIY harness is complete.

How to Make a Harness With Embroidery Floss

The materials you will need to make a harness with embroidery floss:

  • Three colors of embroidery floss
  • A small binder clip
  • A lightweight puppy, ferret, or rabbit leash
  • Some tape
  • Scissors
  • A flat surface to work on

First, measure your pet rat for the size of the harness. Then, gather the floss together, fold in half, and tie the floss strings into a rope where you’ve folded. This should leave you with a bundled group of six strands of floss, with two of each color.

Tape this group down on a flat surface, just above the knot, so that you can embroider and create the pattern depending on the order of the colors you prefer.

Then tie the floss ends together, make a circle, and put it on your rat just like with the shoelace harness. Encouraging your rat with a treat may help. Fasten the rope in place with the binder clip. Latch the leash onto the binder clip and voilà! You’ve got a colorful rat harness.

How to Make a Rat Harness With Pipe Cleaners

You can also make a harness for your pet rat by using pipe cleaners for a snazzy and secure result. You’ll only need one pipe cleaner, so choose whatever color you prefer.

First, make a small loop in one end of a pipe cleaner about half an inch across and twist the base. Then, bend the loose end around and thread it through the small loop. Continue by pulling the end through until the large loop is the size of your furry friend’s head, and then bend the end around again to be about the size of their waist.

Afterward, insert the end in through the loop about half an inch to make a tab; bend it back on itself to form some sort of a clasp. To put the harness on your friend, undo the clasp and pull the tab out. Then, loosen the neck loop and slip it over the rat’s head, tightening it slightly to make sure it doesn’t come off.

As for the finishing touches, twist the waist loop around under the rat, insert the tab, and the clasp. Twist it if necessary, and there you go, a fluffy harness for your fluffy friend.


Simply put, devising a harness is the safest way to make sure your furry friend stays active and motivated in a controlled environment. A harness with a leash will ensure your pet can roam and wander about your house while saving you the trouble of worrying about them getting hurt or lost.

While it’s important to keep in mind that you may not be able to walk your pet rat as you would a dog, you can maximize your chances by starting while they’re very young, so they can get accustomed to it. Get creative with making your pet’s harness and enjoy bonding and exploring the world with your friend!