Your pet rat’s diet is important to monitor. Just like cats and dogs, pet rats need specific nutrients that are provided through a healthy diet. There are some foods you should avoid giving rats, however, because they can cause rats to choke or get sick.
Pet rats can eat tuna, but you should only feed them tuna occasionally. Tuna contains high amounts of mercury, which is harmful to rats in large quantities. Rats need diets that are low in fat and protein, so tuna should only be an occasional treat.
This article will discuss proper diets and foods that are safe and aren’t safe to feed pet rats.
What Kind of Nutrients Do Rats Need?
Rats are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and meat. Omnivores require a variety of foods to receive the necessary nutrients. You can’t live on bread alone or vegetables alone, and neither can your pet rats.
To be healthy, your rat needs to eat:
- Seeds and nuts
Not all categories need to be fed frequently to your pet rat. In fact, protein, fruit, and fats should only be fed to your rat a few times each week. Finding an appropriate balance for your rat is key. But first, you need to understand what kind of balance they need.
The food you feed to your pet rat should be 16% protein and 4-5% fat. This diet should be mostly fruits, vegetables, and lab blocks. The Oxbow Essentials Adult Rat Food is recommended for adult rats because the mix is low in fat and is a good balance of nutrients for most rats.
You should only feed your rat seeds, grains, and proteins occasionally. Try to avoid feeding your rat seed and grain mixes because these tend to have a lot of sugar and fat in them. Plus, rats sometimes pick out the pieces they like the best, which might result in missing out on key nutrients.
A well-rounded diet will not only keep your rat healthy, but it will keep them entertained, too. Let your rat try new foods that are safe for them so they can get their nutrients in various ways.
Do I Have to Feed My Rat Lab Blocks?
You don’t have to rely on lab blocks as the main source of food for your rat. However, it’s a guaranteed way to make sure you’re providing the right nutrients to your rat. Supplementing lab blocks with fruits, vegetables, and occasional pieces of meat or seeds is a great way to keep your friend healthy.
You can definitely create your own diet for your rat, of course. Remember that rats like to single out their favorite foods, so be sure that they’re eating all the foods you give them. Use plenty of variety in a homemade diet.
If you have any doubts about whether or not your rat is receiving the right nutrients, you can always give your rat some lab block to munch on.
What Foods Can I Feed My Rat?
You probably associate rats with food since they always seem to be found in kitchens. Rats can eat pretty much anything because they don’t have a gag reflex. But, this doesn’t mean that they should eat anything that’s put in front of them.
You should only feed safe foods to your pet rat, so they don’t get choked or sick from eating something harmful. As a general guideline, if it’s healthy for you, it’s probably healthy for your rat in smaller quantities.
Here are the types of food you can feed to your rat.
There are plenty of different vegetables you can feed your pet rat. Most vegetables should be cooked before you feed them. In most cases, cooking the vegetables first will make it easier for your rat to eat and absorb the nutrients. Some vegetables, like mushrooms and sweet potatoes, shouldn’t be fed to rats raw, so cooking them will make them safe to eat.
Some vegetables you can feed your pet includes, but isn’t limited to:
- Avocados (small portions)
- Green beans
- Green peppers (not spicy)
- Mushrooms (cook it first)
- Sweet potatoes (must be cooked)
Most fruits are safe for your rats to eat. There are a few exceptions that seem to be harmful to rats. Mangoes and orange peels are harmful to male rats but might be okay for female rats. It’s better to avoid these fruits altogether instead of taking chances.
Make sure all the fruits are ripe when you serve them. Green bananas can cause digestion issues in rats.
Some safe fruits to feed your rats include:
- Bananas (not green)
- Dried fruits (bananas, cranberries)
Never feed seeds to rats because they’re toxic to them.
Seeds, Nuts, and Grains
Seeds and nuts should only be fed to your rat in small amounts a few times a week. They’re high in fat, which rats don’t need to eat a lot of. It might be best to use them as a special treat for your rat rather than as a staple of their diet if they receive fat from other sources of food.
If you do feed your rats seeds and nuts, make sure they don’t have shells and aren’t salted or seasoned.
Nuts and seeds that are safe include:
- Brazil nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Grains, on the other hand, can be fed daily to your rat in small quantities. Rats need plenty of carbs, which are found in grains.
Safe grains include:
- Brown rice (cooked)
- Whole-grains (cooked pasta, crackers)
Meats are a great source of protein for your rats, but you can also provide protein in the form of eggs and cottage cheese. Remember that rats only need their diet to be 16% protein, so you should only feed them meat a few times each week.
Great protein sources include:
- Beans (cooked)
- Eggs (hard-boiled might be best)
Chicken is the best meat to give rats because it’s healthier, but you can also feed them beef and fish.
Fish, including tuna, is relatively safe to feed rats, but you should only feed them these items sparingly. Tuna contains high mercury levels, which can be harmful to rats and humans in large quantities. It’s best to feed your rat tuna and other fish occasionally as a special treat.
What Foods Should I Never Feed My Rat?
There are some foods that you should never feed to your rat because they’re unhealthy or toxic. Be sure to avoid these foods. Take your pet rat to the vet if they accidentally ate something they shouldn’t.
- Blue cheese
- Green bananas
- Green potato skins
- Potato eyes
- Raw legumes
- Alcoholic beverages
- Carbonated beverages
- Raw onion
- Raw sweet potato
- Wild insects
Pet rats need healthy diets so they can live long and happy lives. Lab blocks, fruits, and vegetables are the best way to make sure your rat is receiving all of the necessary nutrients. Remember that rats need a diet that is high in carbs and low in fat and protein.
If you choose to create your own diet for your rat, make sure you know the macro and vitamin content of the foods so you can make sure that you’re not feeding your rat too many proteins or fats.
Rats enjoy special treats, so be sure to give them one every now and then.