These little creatures are much less fussy than many of our other patients, and being omnivores, they can eat a large variety of different food items. However, this doesn’t mean everything they eat is good for them and (much like us!) if given the choice they often choose to eat the foods higher in sugars/fats. This is why it is important to provide them with a balanced block/pelleted diet with small amounts of other foods.

 

Oxbow Garden Select Adult Rat food is a nutritionally balanced block diet recommended by BBEVS. It should make up 75% of their diet. Veges and smaller amounts of fruit should make up approximately 20% of their diet. When choosing vegetables aim for those that are dark or brightly coloured, and keep those that are less nutritious/more watery to a minimum, such as iceberg lettuce, celery and cucumber.

In the wild, rats would spend a huge amount of their time foraging for food and much less time sleeping in comfy hammocks! As pets, they often tend to overeat, so you may need to consider restricting the amount of food your rats have access to. (These comfy hammocks are from Rockaby Rat Hammocks)

Oxbow Garden Select Adult Rat food is a nutritionally balanced block diet recommended by BBEVS. It should make up 75% of their diet. Oxbow have another diet that is designed for rats under 6 months of age, however this is not available in Australia due to importing restrictions. The main difference is the diet for younger rats is slightly higher protein and fat. We recommend supplementing rats under 6 months of age with approx 1 tsp of additional protein per day, such as cooked egg, insects, yoghurt, or cooked chicken.

Be sure to keep sugary treats to a minimum (max 5%)! Seed, nuts, dairy and sugary snacks should be kept for encouraging foraging, rewards for good behaviour (such as taking their medications!) or to encourage sick rats to eat.

Oxbow have another diet that is designed for rats under 6months of age, however this is not available in Australia due to importing restrictions. The main difference is the diet for younger rats is slightly higher protein and fat. We recommend supplementing rats under 6months of age with approx. 1tsp of additional protein per day such as cooked egg, insects, yoghurt or cooked chicken.

In the wild, rats would spend a huge amount of their time foraging for food and much less time sleeping in comfy hammocks! As pets, they often tend to exercise less and overeat to fill in their time, and so you may need to consider restricting the amount of food your rats have access to. You can also encourage your rats be more active by placing their food in different areas of the cage, hiding their food, and providing fun foraging toys. A fun summer foraging treat is to set up a shallow dish of water for your rats to fish for their favourite foods (peas are ideal for this activity!).

We all want our pets to live as long as possible and get the most out of their days. Keeping your rats lean and healthy can reduce the risks/severity of some diseases such as respiratory disease and tumours.

If you have any questions about your rat’s diet. Please give the clinic a call and talk to one of our lovely nurses or book an appointment to chat to one of our lovely vets.

It’s a fabulous idea to change where and how you feed your rats, to encourage foraging behaviour and exercise. Why not make a simple foraging box?

Fresh veggies and smaller amounts of fruit should be provided daily. For adult rats, this should make up 20% of their diet.

In healthy rats, be sure to keep fatty and sugary treats to a minimum, this should make up the final 5% of their diet. These kinds of treats should be kept for encouraging foraging, as rewards for good behaviour (such as taking their medications), or to encourage sick rats to eat.

Rats are incredibly smart and can quickly figure out foraging toys!

There are lots of things you can recycle to make your own foraging toys such as these cardboard ribbon rolls. Try stuffing them with your rat’s favourite treats – remember that these foods are to be kept to a minimum. Feel free to share some photos of your own foraging toys!

This is not an example of a balanced diet, but of what our hospitalised rats may be offered. Note the larger amounts of softer and sweeter foods such as baby food (custard and fruit flavours), critical care, bird hand-rearing formula (often a favourite!), fruit and grain mix. This is only to encourage a sad/unwell rat to eat. Note how the food is in a shallow dish so thiat it is easily accessible. Unwell critters do not need to spend their extra energy foraging for food.

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