Rats have so many similarities to humans, and another one is what they eat – rats are also omnivores. They need grains, vegetables and meat just like us.
Puppy food can be a good diet supplement in dry or wet form as well as ‘rodent mix’ and dog biscuits. It takes effort to provide your rats with such a nutritionally-complete diet but one can also use pet-shop mixes for in-between meals or as a base.
There are now a few rat food products being marketed however only one seems to be of any real quality and that is Burgess Supa Rat. Rats seem to do well on it and love eating it too. However, mothers and babies will still need real food to make up the rest of the diet with real protein and vegetables to get plenty of nutrients.
Supreme Pet Foods makes a rat food called Reggie Rat and this is claimed to be a perfect rat food. However, no rats ever seem to eat all of it, leaving the pellets alone completely. Rats love eating real food and really appreciate it after eating these rat food products for a while. Rats can also eat Burgess Supa Rabbit and Burgess Supa Natural. These work well with some fresh veggies and lean meat or mealworms added.
Rats can be pretty picky eaters at times, especially when you’re feeding them grain mix. They tend to pick out their favorite parts of the grains first, leaving the rest. Just make sure they eat all of it before giving them anymore. This will train them to eat all their food before they get more in the future. Blocks of rodent food also deprive rats of the fun of eating. They like to rummage through their food, get their faces wet, smell and chew their way through it just like we do, so it makes sense to give them real food in addition to the boring rodent food products.
The only reasons these exist in the first place is because they are convenient and people are generally quite busy. However, as mentioned before, having a rat is a time-intensive thing so don’t skimp on giving them a good diet just to save an hour a week. Make sure you get some of the following foods into their diet every once in a while:
- Cooked bones
- Cooked pulses
- Cod liver oil
Never under any circumstances feed rats any of the following:
These contain way too much sugar for a poor rat’s digestive system and the carbonated water in sodas can harm them as they cannot burp to get rid of the gas.
Always make sure they have access to clean, fresh water. The best way to do this is to make sure there is a gravity bottle in their cage within easy reach. Change the water every day and scrub out the inside of the bottle once a week. If the bottle is plastic, make sure you replace it every few months entirely. Bowls never really work out for water since rats tend to knock them over or put litter in them. However, they do like to wash themselves so it can be a good idea to provide one in addition to the gravity bottle just for this purpose. Old or unhealthy rats might find it a little tough to drink from a gravity bottle so a bowl in this case would be ideal. Keep in mind that you will also have to clean the cage more often too.