Best Rat Diet Advice: Help, Why Is My Rat Putting On Weight?

Why Is My Rat Putting On Weight?

Rats are omnivores which means they will eat nearly anything and everything, but it is important to offer them a balanced diet that will help them stay healthy for as long as possible and enjoy their life without the excess weight. If you are looking for some pet rat diet advice, here’s some things you should know about.

Why Is My Rat Putting On Weight?

There are a couple of different reasons your rat might be putting on too much weight and appear a bit podgy or plump:

  • not enough exercise
  • underlying medical conditions
  • poor diet.

But by far the biggest cause of your rats being overweight is simple. OVEREATING!

Good Rat Diet = Good Weight

Here’s a few tips that will guide you through feeding your rats and making sure their diet offers them everything they need!

  1. The base of every rat’s diet should be a standard food formulated especially for them. It comes in many different shapes and sizes like little nuggets, pellets or triangles and it’s readily available in most pet stores. Deciding on a brand is really a question of trial and error as your rat might favour one brand or shape over others, but while most commercial rat foods contain similar ingredients and minerals your pet needs, it’s a good practice to check the nutritional values on the packaging first.
  2. To further enrich their diet and keep it exciting for your rats, you can also give them rat muesli which usually contains seeds, nuts or dried vegetables (don’t confuse it with human muesli as it has added sugar and raisins which are not good for rats). Sprinkle it around their cage or hide in certain places instead of serving it in the bowl. It will stimulate their natural instinct of sniffing and digging out the food but it can also help if one of your rats is constantly “hogging” the food bowl and not allowing its cage mates near it! This way everyone can have a little snack!
  3. A fantastic way to offer your rats some fresh goodness is by giving them a selection of different fruits and vegetables to munch on a couple of times a week. Some rats might prefer this type of diet and it’s fairly simple to provide all nutrients your rats need in a bowl full of salad and fruit.
rat eating carrot
Source: @dambo_ratty Instagram

So don’t worry, you don’t need to buy anything special as rats love human veggie staples! Some of the most popular vegetable choices include:

  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • broccoli
  • peas
  • green beans
  • cauliflower and corn

In addition to vegetables, you can also offer your rats some fruit. Certain types of fruit are better than others, due to the sugar content, but if given in moderation, they won’t harm your ratties at all. Most popular fruit choices, include:

  • mango
  • pear
  • strawberries
  • peach
  • banana – only ripe ones, NEVER green
  • watermelon (especially in hot summer months!)

Just make sure it’s an occasional treat as some fruit and veg are high in sugars which could contribute to your rats being overweight.

Another thing to think about is that rats don’t have a gag reflex, so they can’t make themselves sick if they eat something that is bad for them. While it’s possible for them to spit out bits of food and phlegm lodged in their oesophagus, once the food gets to their stomach, it’s not coming back out. Because of this it’s best to stick with simple foods, that you know won’t make them ill, but at the same time will provide different textures and flavours for them to experience and enjoy.

And if you are ever in doubt, think to yourself: “It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry!”

Never feed: Grapes, raisins, rhubarb, walnuts, lettuce or citrus fruits. These can be toxic for your rats. More more comprehensive list of foods rats can and can’t, check out this article!

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