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How to Feed a Pet Rat

Learn how to feed a pet rat in this Howcast rat video featuring veterinarian Anthony Pilny.


The feeding of pet rats can be fairly complicated or it can be simple. In the simple sense the recommendation is that all pet rats should be fed a form of rodent block or rat block. Blocks like these are made by a number of different pet food companies. They are complete and balanced nutrition and vitally important to the feeding of your pet rat, to their overall health, meeting their nutritional needs and well balanced diet.

Other companies do formulate different types. This is another example of one. These are called Regal Rat Diet through the Oxbow Pet company. These are rodent blocks produced by Harlan Teklad. These are originally produced as blocks for the feeding of rats in research facilities and it then tends to be the only part of the diet they get.

The recommendation in feed pet rats is to include a good quality rodent block in their diet and then to supplement their diet. It's ideal to give them fresh vegetables, healthy foods that you may eat that you want to share with them. They certainly do love treats. They love crackers. They'll love little pieces of vegetables. Occasionally they'll eat fruit. Some rats are very big fans of peanut butter or almond butter. Sometimes they have a preference to eat cereals. A lot of people will make these homemade type of mixes that are a supplement treat that may be from combining healthy whole grain cereals. They will eat dry pasta. So there is a number of different things that they will take to.

They are in some cases picky and they may not like certain foods. There are also a number of types of commercial bird foods that rats like to eat as a treat and some people will offer them. Some of the pelleted or formulated bird food diets provide some extra nutrition for them. As well as some of the seed mixes, although it's recommended that they not be fed a commercial seed mix type of diet. But to actually train them and raise them to eat rodent blocks, as you see these two are right now, as the bulk of their diet.

Rodent block should be always available. If they're overeating them or if the rat is becoming overweight it is recommended that you limit the number of blocks that you feed them. In other instances a lot of rats can be free fed. Meaning you just leave a small dish of rodent blocks available and then you offer them at various times of the day additional food, supplements, treats.

There are some people who will make a mix for their rats. They'll cook things like rice or oatmeal, add some vegetables to it, make a mix and offer a small amount of that every day. As well as, as I mentioned some people will sometimes make a mix which includes dry cereals, dry pasta, wholegrain puffed rice. Anything that's healthy, low sugar, low salt that can be offered to them is ideal.

Rats do like to eat meat, although we do recommend that it not be a big part of their diet. In some cases it's probably recommended not to feed them meat at all. Although there are some popular websites that will indicate that they can be given chicken bones to chew on, it's not necessary for them to have those. It's not important for their teeth health.

So in general I would recommend that when people are feeding their pet rats, feed them a good quality rodent block like Teklad or Regal Rat or one of these commercially available types. As well as supplement them with additional healthy foods, healthy table foods that you may be eating. And consider if you wanted to make a healthy mix for them that includes some cereals, some whole grains, some vegetables and a small amount of fruit in the diet will be appreciated by them.

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