Feeding Pet Rats
Rats are omnivores and need to eat both meat and vegetables. They require a diet that has variety. They can be fussy eaters. A pet rat’s diet should consist mostly of fruit, vegetables, and a small amount of cooked lean meat. Rat pellets are available at Pet Stores and can be used to substitute parts of their diet. The pellets can help provide a better-balanced diet for rats.
Food That Is Suitable For Pet Rats
Pet Rat Diet
A rat’s diet should consist mostly of the following:
Cooked lean meat, chicken bones, apples, pear, bananas, grapes, strawberries and other berries, cherries, stone and citrus fruits, broccoli, cooked sweet potatoes, cabbage (but not red cabbage) cucumbers, carrots, boy choy and other Asian greens, celery, parsley, peas and corn (in small quantities only), wholegrain wheat pasta and bread.
Other Dietary Considerations For Your Pet Rat
Whenever possible, all fruit and vegetables should be washed and peeled to get rid of any residual pesticides on the skin.
Rat diets should be a combination of foods that comes from the following three primary food groups:
- Complex carbohydrates
- Good proteins and
- Healthy fats.
Foods That Are Unsuitable For Pet Rats
Avoid foods that are high in sugars or simple carbohydrates as these can possibly lead to the rat developing tumors and cancers. (Sound a little bit like a human diet.)
Avoid These Foods if possible:
Raw peanuts, green potatoes skins, licorice, orange juice, mango, raw artichokes, raw dried beans, raw red cabbage, raw brussel sprouts, raw sweet potatoes, avocado, lollies/candy, and seaweed.
Danger Foods for Pet Rats:
These foods are highly toxic to rats.
Bay leaves, pepper, peppermint, blue cheese, poppy seeds, bitter almonds, green potatoes, rhubarb leaves and stems, moldy food, and fruit that has d-limonene, for example, mango and orange juice.
Pet Rat Feeding Hints And Tips
How Often to Feed Your Pet Rat
As a guide, rats tend to eat around 8% to 22% of their body weight each day. More frequent, smaller meals are better than one big meal each day as rats have small stomachs. They will, therefore, need to have access to food at least every six hours. This is important as otherwise, they run the risk of starvation and gastric complications.
How To Give Your Pet Rat The Right Amount Of Food (How To Tell If Your Pet Rat Is Overweight)
The best way to monitor food quantities is to observe your rat (including physical activity) and watch their weight by actually weighing them on kitchen scales. After weighing your rat several times, you will get an idea of your rat’s normal weight for that breed (different breeds have different average weights). Rats don’t tend to become overweight unless they are overfed on excessively fatty or sugary foods or do not get regular, stimulating exercise.
Food Games To Play With Your Pet Rat
Rats are very smart and can be quite playful. They will love playing hide and seek with their food. Start by hiding a small amount of their food around a sealed room safe for them to run around in (that is, no cat or dog waiting for their opportunity to also get in on the act). It is important that they (or you) have found the food as rotting food not only smells (especially to us humans), it could also cause intestinal problems for any animals (rat, cat, dog or child) that may track down rotting food later (not to mention potentially attract uninvited vermin).
Bonding With Your Pet Rat
Whilst your rat is out of their cage with you, it is also a great opportunity to bond personally with your rat and even teach it a few tricks (for food-motivated rats, of course). This will go a long way to cementing a long and loving relationship with your lovable pet rat.
When, where, how, and what you feed your pet rat is important. With a little bit of planning, you can make this a fun time and training opportunity with your pet.