People love peanut butter, so we assume that our pets will like it too. Especially rodents. But is peanut butter healthy for rats?
So, can pet rats eat peanut butter? Not really. While nibbling on some peanuts or peanut butter isn’t immediately dangerous for your pet rat, they are dangerous from them. They don’t need it in their nutrition, but it destroys the vitamin A that they need for digesting, and they can choke on it.
There’s more to know about rats and their eating habits, especially when it comes to peanuts and peanut products. Read on to find out why your pet rat shouldn’t eat peanut butter and what you can feed them instead.
Rats and Peanuts
While peanuts may seem like nice food for rats, it is not something they should eat. Peanuts are on the list of things that could prove toxic for your rat, and you should avoid giving them peanuts. There are many other things that rats can eat, which can come off as a surprise to new rat owners since they are usually represented as an animal that will eat anything.
Peanuts won’t cause instant problems, so if you catch your pet rat eating a peanut they found, it’s not a big problem. However, you shouldn’t feed them peanuts on the regular.
Research has found that enzymes from peanuts can affect the levels of vitamin A in the rat’s body and other compounds necessary to keep your rat healthy. The rats need those compounds and vitamins to break down food — especially starchy food and proteins.
Peanuts can also cause problems with their blood. Peanuts make their blood cells stick together, which also causes trouble.
Rats and Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is enjoyable for most animals. In fact, it’s so popular with rats that they often use it as a trap. This is why you may think that rats like and should eat peanut butter. But, peanut butter is just as bad for rats as peanuts.
It does the same thing to their enzymes, vitamins, and blood. In addition, peanut butter can also cause choking because it’s too sticky for them.
It might be fun to let your pet rat have a treat like this, but it’s bad for them. Again, peanut butter is an excellent source of protein, which is why you may give it to them. But, it should be avoided, and there are better sources of protein for rats than peanut butter. It contains a lot of fat, which is not helpful for rats, and even a small amount is full of peanuts. So, your pet would get a high concentration of peanuts that could harm them a lot.
Do your best to keep your furry friend away from peanuts and peanut butter. Keep it away from their reach and feed them only the recommended food. Ignore anecdotal evidence from pet rat owners who say that an occasional nibble of peanut butter or peanuts isn’t a bad thing. It actually could be.
Avoid giving peanuts, especially to old rats nearing the end of their lifetime, baby rats, and rats that are in poor health already since it could speed up their demise.
Are All Peanuts Bad For Rats?
In essence, yes — they are. However, some studies claim that your rat could enjoy an occasional “monkey nut,” which is a nut roasted in the shell, meaning that they are not raw. It’s believed that these nuts are a bit healthier and a nice source of protein.
On the other hand, the evidence shows that these still contain compounds that are bad for rats. If you still want to give peanuts or make peanut butter for your rats, you should be careful when shopping for these peanuts. Not all of them are meant to be consumed by pets or humans, so you should choose those brands that are confirmed healthy.
Do Rats Have Allergies To Peanuts?
Rats shouldn’t be allergic to peanuts since they are not as affected by the oils inside peanuts as humans. The cases of rat peanut allergies are very rare, and so are other food allergies in rats.
Of course, there are some food allergies that rats can suffer from, and they manifest as skin problems. You should be on the lookout for that. Keep in mind that they won’t show this immediately, but rather over time if you keep feeding that food to them.
Try an elimination diet to find out which food your pet rat is allergic to.
Can Pet Rats Eat Other Types Of Peanuts?
So, rats can’t eat regular peanuts because it destroys their vitamins. However, are there any types of peanuts that rats can eat?
Roasted peanuts are actually fried. But, they don’t contain just peanuts. There’s salt and oil in them — both of which are bad for your rat in excess amounts. So, you shouldn’t give it to your pet rat, in addition to peanuts being bad for their vitamin levels and blood. Too much salt or sugar is bad for rats because they get what they need directly from food — in fact, too much salt and sugar has been linked to poor memory in rats.
There are many products that add flavor to peanuts. Now you can find peanuts with all sorts of flavors like pickle, onion, cheese, etc. While these are quite delicious for humans, and we love to snack on them when we watch something, flavors may actually make peanuts even worse for rats than they were before. Especially the more extreme flavors like jalapeno.
Peanut Snack Bars
This is another snack that’s very hard for your rat to eat, and it’s not healthy at all. There’s a bunch of additives that don’t sit well with rats, and the peanuts themselves are bad for them too. They can be sharp and sticky, which is a problem for a rat.
Owners usually have a problem saying no to their pets when they want to eat something that’s bad for them, so they end up giving their pet what they want. And small amounts shouldn’t cause them any harm. But keep in mind that this builds up. So, if you want to eat something that your rat shouldn’t eat, you should take it to a different room. Your rat won’t have the leverage of cuteness over you, and they’ll stay safe.
What To Feed Your Rat Instead?
If you can’t feed them peanut butter, what else can they eat? There are many options.
- Store-bought food specifically made for rats in the form of pellets or large blocks (dry mixes of loose food may be better because it appeals to the way rats naturally eat)
- Fruit like apples, grapes, bananas, berries, melons, grapes, and plums
- Vegetables like potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsley, squash or peas
- Lean cooked meats
- Pasta and bread — better if whole wheat
- Beans and soy
- Rice, especially brown rice
- Cereals without sugars or sweeteners
- Dog biscuits in small amounts
- Sunflower seeds only occasionally
- Leftovers from your meals only if they fall into one of these categories and only occasionally since they can contain spices and salt, which is not good for rats.
Food that you shouldn’t give them at all:
- Peanuts and peanut butter
- Chocolate and other sweets for humans
- Raw sweet potato
- Cabbage, brussels sprouts, and green potatoes
- Junk food and snacks for humans like chips
- Caffeinated and carbonated drinks
- Green bananas — they have to be ripe, yellow ones
- Insects since they can contain pesticides and parasites
- Poppy seeds
- Citrusy foods, including nutmeg and black pepper