Pets Need The Right Nutrition, And Rats Are No Exception. The Best Rat Food Can Help Your Little Pets To Stay Healthy And Even Live Longer.
Let’s Take a Look At How To Choose The Top Rat Food Brands, And The Best Way To Feed Your Furry Friends.
The right diet will have a profound effect on how your rats’ grow, feel, and fight disease.
Which is interesting, given their history of living in areas with lots of garbage!
Incredibly successful populations of rats have sprung up all over the world. Living only on our food waste.
But just because rats can live long enough to breed under these conditions, does not make this a good life.
Urban rats live short and disease filled lives. This is obviously not something we want for our pets.
So just what should we be feeding our rats to keep them healthy?
We’ll be taking a look at the best rat diets on offer, but let’s start with some rat nutrition basics.
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Best rat food
So, what’s the best rat food?
To answer this question we need to understand what rats need.
Rats are true omnivores.
This has given them a huge advantage in living alongside humans, but does mean they might need a little more variety than some of your other pets.
Where some animals will produce vitamins and other nutrients themselves, rats need a very well rounded diet to thrive.
Rats need a good supply of dietary protein in all of their food, and also the vitamins and minerals that vegetables can provide.
Without a source of protein they will also lack fatty acids essential for good health.
They don’t need as much protein as the carnivores in your home though, and an especially high protein diet can actually be harmful to a rat.
A good rat food will contain a robust range of nutritionally diverse ingredients.
A range of ingredients will also give your rat a nice variety of interesting flavors, to stop them getting bored.
These are intelligent and curious little animals, as anyone who has owned rats will know, and they need stimulation and activity to stay in good health.
Rat nutrition is the same regardless of their fur. So, white rat food will be the same as any other color of rat’s food.
It’s also good to hand feed during taming (although this can be best done on a spoon to prevent them getting nippy) and spread food around their enclosure to encourage foraging.
Sniffing out and detecting food is a major part of a rat’s life, and they need to be free to exercise this skill.
Food also offers a secondary function for rats, by wearing down their teeth.
This sounds bad for us, and it would be for a human, but rodents teeth grow constantly, and need to be ground down.
Your rat can alleviate this by gnawing on an untreated safe wood block, or with hard food items.
So what foods are okay for rats to eat, and what is it better to steer clear of?
Safe foods for rats
We all love our pets, so safety is a number one concern.
With this being said we don’t always have all of the information to know what’s safe for rats.
Often we end up assuming what’s good for us will work for them.
This assumption is unfortunately just wrong.
Rats have different digestive systems to us, and have evolved for different diets.
Many of the foods we love are dangerous and unhealthy for rats, so we need to be careful.
Rats, second only to mice, are extensively the subject of animal studies (usually aimed towards later tests in humans).
For this reason, we have literal mountains of scientific research to reference
Although many fruits like apples are fine in small helpings for a rat, some fruits need to be steered clear of.
Citrus fruits like oranges and mangoes contain d-limonene, which can cause kidney cancer in rats. Obviously not good news.
Chocolate, as anyone with a dog has probably been told at some point, is a definite no. Theobromine, present in chocolate, is poisonous to most animals, rats included.
Onions and garlic are also toxic to rats, avoid at all costs.
So, what about foods rats can eat?
Best rat food brands
Foods rats can eat do vastly outnumber the ones they can’t.
To write out a comprehensive suitable rat food list would take a very long time!
Most fresh (non citrus) fruit and vegetables are okay as a daily treat in small amounts.
But the majority of your rats diet should be made up of a pellet or block food.
Generally these foods are thoroughly well researched, and tailored to give your rat all the nutrition they need.
What’s important to remember is how easy it is to overfeed a small pet like a rat, and the consequences of doing so can be awful.
Overweight rats are more prone to a vast range of health issues, and studies have shown that rats on calorie-restricted diets live noticeably longer lives.
Serving instructions should appear on all rat foods, to let you know how much to give them.
If you notice your rat putting on a lot of weight it’s often a good idea to feed them slightly less.
Let’s take a look first at oxbow’s rat foods.
Oxbow rat food
Oxbow are an established and well known pet food brand. Let’s take a look at their main rat food*, from the oxbow essentials range.
The main ingredient in this oxbow adult rat food is brown rice, a good way for your rat to get the energy he needs.
This food also contains salmon and soybeans.
These ingredients represent a good amount of dietary protein, and bring those all important fatty acids into the mix.
Fatty acids help rats to perform a huge range of bodily functions, including the development and maintenance of their brain tissue.
Oxbow’s adult rat food also boasts a huge range of vitamins, making it a solid foundation for your rats diet. The reviews are generally great, so why not give it a try!
Oxbow Baby Rat Food
For younger rats, there’s even a specialized version. Oxbow mouse and young rat food*.
This food for growing rats is fortified with extra vitamins and nutrients!
It’s also suggested as an ideal food for pregnant rats, so they can pass the benefits on to their babies!
Once again this food get’s really positive reviews, with everyone’s rats seemingly very happy!
Next, let’s take a look at Mazuri rat food.
Mazuri rat food
Mazuri is a household name in the pet food world, and if you’ve used their other foods for your pets you might be keen to try the same with your rats.
This rat diet*, also suitable for mice, is considered nutritionally complete.
This means it should provide your rat with everything he needs to enjoy life to the fullest.
The reviewers love this one, with plenty touting it as the best rat diet on the market.
We all know things are cheaper when we buy in bulk, so can we do the same with rat food?
Bulk rat food
The good news is, if we want to buy our rat food in bulk quantities, we can.
So how do these foods measure up to the others?
Our first bulk food is a 20lbs bag from Mulberry Lane Farm*.
At only $2.75 a pound this food is clearly cheap, but is it value for money?
Looking at the ingredients and reviews, i’d certainly say so. The concern with cheap foods is that they’re often all filler with no real substance.
This food has fish meal and soybeans for protein and fatty acids, and also contains a good range of vitamins.
Check it out on Amazon here.*
So what should we feed our rats if we want them to have some extra protein?
Mealworms as an addition to your rat food
Although popular as bird food, mealworms are a great option for rats too, and you can buy them in massive quantities.*
Mealworms can’t make up a rats entire diet, but they make a delicious treat.
Rats love these little worms, and they’re packed with protein and other nutrients.
These worms are freeze dried, so your huge sack won’t go off any time soon.
Next, lets look at Kaytee rat food.
Kaytee rat food
Kaytee are a massively popular pet food brand. If you have rabbits or hamsters you’ve doubtless used their food at some point.
They also make food for rats! Get news for us owners and our furry friends. Kaytee forte-diet health small animal food for mice and rat.*
This well rounded rat food is extra crunchy, which is great for rodents.
Crunching up these pellets helps to wear down rats’ constantly growing front teeth.
More than this, kaytee’s food contains probiotics to help aid digestion. On top of this there’s a good supply of soy beans for protein, and algae meal which provides omega 3 fatty acids.
There are tons of great reviews for this one so it seems like an excellent option for any rat owner.
Kaytee Fiesta Rat Food
Kaytees ‘fiesta’ rat food* looks just as good.
This rat food contains a ton of differently shaped pellets and seeds, plenty of stimulation for your little rat friends. Once again there’s probiotics for better digestion and plenty of crunch for rat dental health.
The reviews are stellar on this one, so go ahead and try it for your rats today!*
Let’s take a look at a few more pellet based rat foods.
Rat pellets food
Pellets are great for rats. These curious creatures love food they can pick up, scrurry off with, and gnaw at.
Let’s look at enviro’s rat food pellet diet!
Envigo Rat Food Pellets
Envigo rat food pellets* are designed for rats over 8 months, and is aimed to fulfill all of their nutritional needs.
This is a vegetarian food, so you might worry about protein, but don’t.
Envigo’s pellets use soybean meal to reach an excellent 14% protein despite using no meat products.
According to the reviews this food really works, with many owners saying their rats are visibly healthier since switching diets.
Science Selective Rat Food
For our next pellet-based rat food, lets take a look at Supreme Petfood’s Science Selective rat food.*
This food actually comes personally recommended to me by a family member, as they use it for their rats.
It’s not the cheapest rat food out there, but boasts high quality ingredients and complete nutrition to give your rat a solid foundation.
The reviews are great on this one, it looks like a really solid option for any pet rat.
So what about feeding rats food that’s not meant specifically for them. Can rats eat cat food? Can rats eat dog food? And, can rats eat guinea pig food?
Can rats eat other pets food?
It’s great to be able to share food between our pets. At this point though, most of our pets’ food is so specialized that it will kind of only do for that one pet.
Many people feed their rats small amounts of dog food, as part of a homemade rat food mix.
Similarly with guinea pig food, as long as the rest of their diet fills in the blanks, a rat can be healthy with it taking up part of their meals.
With this being said, rats’ dietary requirements are very different from other pets.
Even when it comes to close relatives like the guinea pig, the ideal food is different.
Rat’s require more dietary protein than most other rodents.
Too much protein though, can create other problems.
Foods meant for carnivores like dogs and cats will typically contain more protein than a rat needs.
Dogs and cats are also capable of surviving on meat, bones, and offal alone, so their food won’t contain all the vitamins and minerals a rat needs.
Best rat food?
So what is the best rat food? And what food do rats like?
We can determine what’s healthy by looking at labels, but what our rats actually enjoy eating is entirely up to them.
Rats have unique personalities, and what one might consider a tasty snack, another might turn it’s nose up at.
It’s important to bear this in mind, as it means we may have to try a few different products before finding the ideal food for our furry friends.
For your rat, eating food is a pretty major activity, so variety can play a huge part in providing some stimulation.
You can always give your rat treats like mealworms along with it’s main food, but it’s well worth counting calories.
If you take the amount of treats away from the amount of food your rat has for it’s meal you can make sure you aren’t overfeeding, or you could end up with a fat rat!
There’s a huge range of food that rats can eat, so there’s tons of fun to be had. What’s your rat’s favorite food? Let us know in the comments below.
Affiliate link disclosure: Links in this article marked with an * are affiliate links, and we may receive a small commission if you purchase these products. However, we selected them for inclusion independently, and all of the views expressed in this article are our own.
- Risk assessment of d-limonene: an example of male rat-specific renal tumorigens. G. C. Hard
- Tumor incidence patterns and nutrition in the rat. M. H. Ross
- Oxbow essentials rat food
- Influence of Dietary Fat Composition on Development of Insulin Resistance in Rats: Relationship to Muscle
Triglyceride and ω-3 Fatty Acids in Muscle Phospholipid
Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acids Normalize BDNF Levels, Reduce Oxidative Damage, and Counteract Learning Disability after Traumatic Brain Injury in Rats
- Rat care – ASPCA
- Rat diet – RSPCA