People often overlook some key elements when it comes to adopting a rat, particularly when it comes to nutrition. Discover the basics of a balanced diet for a higher quality of life for your rodent.
Avoid food marketed for other rodents
It is normal to be tempted to give your rat food for a gerbil or hamster given they all fall into the same 'rodent' category. However, these kinds of foods are not designed for rats who require more protein and a less rich diet. Food designed for rats will always be your safest bet.
Grains and meat
Rats love all kinds of grains, raw or cooked pasta, muesli, rice, wheat, corn, sunflower seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and more. A lot of these ingredients can be found in your very own breakfast cereals, however this does not make them suitable for rats. These contain a lot of sugar which can cause health problems for your small fur friend.
Contrary to what some believe, giving meat to a rat will not transform them into a bloodthirsty monster! Meat is very important for a rat's development, and they can be given unseasoned raw or cooked meat such as beef, chicken, and even fish.
Check that your rat always has fresh and clean water at their disposal. The best method is to provide water in a rodent water bottle with a stainless steel nozzle for easy drinking. Water bowls can be easily tipped over, or evaporate when the weather is hot.
Soya milk (occasionally)
You can give your rat soya milk occasionally as a treat. Do not give them cow's milk (or any other animal milk) as this can upset their tummies and cause diarrhoea. A small treat of natural, unsweetened yoghurt on the tip of your finger or spoon can be given and contribute to positive intestinal flora.
If you wish to treat your rat from time to time, you should know that there are alternatives to the high-calorie treats often found in pet shops and supermarkets. As with humans, the simplest treats are often the best: melon, carrot, pumpkin seeds, and natural oats.
Foods to avoid
Rats can't vomit because their oesophagus doesn't allow food to travel in the opposite direction. For this reason, do not give your rat alcohol, soda, fizzy water or chocolate. Citrus fruits are also to be avoided as they can damage the kidneys.
Do you have any additional tips for your rat's diet?