We all know that rats tend to nibble any piece of food they may encounter. As a matter of fact, they are known to pick crumbs that are scattered on the floor. Even with their nature, you must never allow them to do that. Like any other animals, they too require certain nutrients to be able to make it through the day.
So what are the foods you must and must not feed them? Find out the answers below.
What They Eat
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables contain lots of nutrients that are known to prevent cancer. So as much as possible, give your rats fresh fruits like melons, apples, plums, peaches, bananas, berries, or pears and vegetables, such as squash, pumpkin, zucchini, Romaine lettuce, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli.
But then again, don’t get too carried away with feeding them fresh produce. You don’t want your little pals to get the runs. Just feed them with small portions.
Lab blocks are foods made for pet rats. These contain all the essential vitamins and minerals they need to keep your adorable friends healthy and lively. Considering the fact that they have a high metabolism rate and a very small size, it is just right to feed them well.
When looking for a rat food, it is advised that you look for something that has soymeal as one of the primary ingredients. Soy is very important among rats as it helps prevent cancer, which is very common among female rats.
Yes, you read it right. There are certain dog food brands that are considered safe for rats. Since these critters are omnivores, they can digest meat with veggies, beans, and grains. And there are low-fat dog foods that contain these.
Male rats must eat those rat foods that have low protein blocks, ideally within the 16 to 18% range. If you give them protein in large amounts, they might have itchy skins, causing too much grease. For the nursing, pregnant, or those that are still very you that must still be kept in rat cages, they need more protein dosage, which is about 22%.
Like humans, these rodents also enjoy occasional treats, such as orange guide, potato chips, cookies, and chocolates. But you need to make sure you don’t give them too much. Doing so may lead to obesity and some other related problems.
In addition, you can also offer them hard treats at least once a week. Treats like branches from fruit-bearing trees or nuts can keep their teeth in good condition.
Clean and Fresh Water
By giving your rats free access to fresh and clean water at all times, then you won’t ever have to worry about them being dehydrated. Whenever possible, fill and change the water in the bowls every day. But before doing that, make sure you check it for algae. You don’t want to put their health at risk because of that.
You know what your pet rats love to eat. With that, you can try and experiment a homemade diet that they will truly love. If they love to eat squash, be creative and prepare something out of it. But still, do consider their nutritional needs. Do not just give them a homemade squash diet the whole month because you made a lot. Remember, their body needs other nutrients that are not found in squash alone.
What Not to Feed Them
Other Fruits and Vegetables
Yes, some fruits and vegetables are safe for these tiny critters. But be mindful that there are also those that are hazardous to them. For example, the fruit of the apple is perfectly okay for rats to eat. However, its seed contains a toxic cyanide derivative. Other harmful foods include spinach, turnip greens, radishes, celery, poppy seeds, and eggplants.
Generic Rodent Mixes
Rats do have specific nutritional needs. Although rodent mixes are becoming very popular today, they don’t contain the amount of nutrients your pets need. Aside from that, they contain foods that aren’t essential to your pets’ well-being.
Commercial Rat Mixes
These days, there are lots of commercial rat mixes sold at pet stores. Even if they look enticing, help yourself and never ever buy any of these. Yes, they do contain the right vitamins and minerals, but take note that it can only be considered a complete meal if everything is eaten. If there are tidbits that are left behind, it only means that your buddies haven’t got their full load of nutrients.
Most commercial rat mixes are also said to be unhealthy as they contain perilous additives, chemical preservatives, and waste foods. Others even contain corn that may carry mold and fungus and are hard to digest for rats.
Feeding rats isn’t that hard. But it is extremely vital to offer them a diet that is specially designed for them. Though you can opt for homemade diets that are suggested by professionals and experts, do not forget the importance of fresh supplements. When all these are taken into consideration, you can definitely live a happy life with them.