What Do Rats Eat

Figuring out what do rats eat is an important step before you get one as a pet. With rats, you have a choice of giving them commercial rat food or a diet of fresh foods, but there are some things you need to avoid.

Proper Pet Care for Rats
Rats need to be fed once a day. Use a heavy plastic or earthenware food bowl that won't tip over in the cage; this makes a mess and could injure your rat. Rats also need fresh water every day. A drip bottle hung on the side of the cage is one of the essential pet rat supplies. Both the food bowl and the drip bottle should be washed and cleaned every day.

Choosing Food
Good quality rat mixes can be purchased at any pet store. The rat mix should not contain items that are high in calories, sugar or fat.

A good quality mix does not contain nuts or seeds. These can cause spots and skin problems. You can use sunflower seeds as a treat, but they should be given minimally, not every day. Your rat might get two or three sunflower seeds, at the most, every other day. 

Do not overfeed your rats. Feed the recommended daily amount on the package. Rats like to hoard food. Cages should be cleaned at least every other day, with a careful eye out for old and stale food. Remove this wherever you find it, and be sure to check inside toys and shelters for hidden food stores.

Feeding Fresh Foods
Rats are omnivores; they eat both plants and meat. If you choose to feed a raw or cooked diet to your rat, be sure to choose foods that offer a wide variety of nutrients and are low in sugar, fat and carbohydrates. Rats will eat grains, nuts, vegetables, fruit, eggs and any kind of meat or fish. They'll also eat any bugs, worms or other animals that wander close to their cages.

When feeding your rat a homemade raw diet, add things like raw oats, raw vegetables, fruit and chicken. Be sure not to overfeed your rat. If you notice it getting a bit too chunky, cut down on each of the ingredients you are feeding him. You do not have to feed every type of food every day-balance over time. If you feed chicken on one day, be sure to feed fruit, grains and vegetables on another day.

Soy products are also good for rats. Soy helps to prevent mammary tumors and decreases a rat's sensitivity to pain. Female rats should have more soy in their diet than male rats.  

Rats like to gnaw on hard things, because their teeth are always growing. You can purchase wood chews from pet stores. They also like apple wood, crunchy biscuits or dog biscuits.

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