Rats are known to have a diverse diet, but it is not recommended that your rat be fed pet food formulated for other animals long term. In this article, we’ll go over food for other pets and which are safe or unsafe for your pet rat.
Note: We will be discussing only lab blocks/pellets in this article as they should make up the base of any rat’s diet.
Your Rat’s Diet
Thanks to their popularity as lab animals, there has been extensive research on the ideal diet for a rat.
Rats are omnivorous creatures. As they are highly adaptable (just look at our cities!), it is no surprise that they can eat a variety of foods without much issue. But, this doesn’t mean that there is no wrong way of feeding your rat.
Rats should be fed a lab block/pellet as a base with additional fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains given daily. Anything high in sugar and fat should be given sparingly.
The lab block of your choice should have the following parameters.
Protein: Min. 14%, max. 28%
Vegetables and grains high in protein as the first few ingredients, with little to no hay.
Learn more: The 6 Best Rat Food – Top Brands Reviewed
Other Animal Foods
Can Rat Eat Mice Food?
Out of all animal feeds listed in this article, mouse food is most often advertised for rats. Both rats and mice are omnivorous, so their diets are quite similar.
Some reputable brands like Mazuri offer a Rat & Mouse formula that is perfectly adequate for both rats and mice. Make sure to check the guaranteed analysis and ingredients list to decide whether the food is appropriate for your rat.
Can Rat Eat Hamster Or Gerbil Food?
Like mice and rats, hamsters and gerbils are omnivores. However, they most often live in arid deserts, where a large portion of their diet is made up of seeds, roots, leaves, and sometimes insects. Unlike mice and rats, gerbils require fewer fresh foods as they are adapted to living in places lacking in vegetation.
Most hamster and gerbil foods contain too many grasses for rats to thrive off of because grass/hay is nutritionally unavailable to them.
It’s not recommended you feed your rat hamster or gerbil food.
Can Rat Eat Rabbit Or Guinea Pig Food?
Unlike hamsters, gerbils, or mice, rabbits and guinea pigs are strictly vegetarian. Most pellets formulated for rabbits and guinea pigs contain far too much hay to be nutritionally beneficial to rats. In addition to hay being difficult to digest for rats, they also require more protein and fat in their diets than these hay-loving pets.
Feeding rabbit or guinea pig food to a rat is not recommended.
Can Pet Rat Eat Cat Food?
On the opposite of the spectrum, we have cats that are obligate carnivores. While rabbit/guinea pig food may be lacking in protein and fat, cat food will be far too high in protein and fat for your rats. Foods too high in protein and fat can not only make your rats fat, but can also lead to kidney failure.
Feeding cat food to your rat is not recommended.
Can Pet Rat Eat Dog Food?
While dogs are carnivores, they are also scavengers, having evolved by the side of humans. Because of this, they enjoy a more varied diet than our feline friends. Dog food, however, is still usually higher in protein than rat food.
Even still, some people have had success feeding lower-quality dog foods as a part of their rat’s diet. As most higher-end dog foods have fresh meat and meat meal as the primary ingredients, rat owners sometimes feed lower-end dog foods with higher amounts of vegetable protein.
In a mix, certain dog foods can be fed to rats. However, it cannot be fed as the only food in their diet.
Rats, like most other animals, do best on a diet specifically designed for them. They can sometimes eat diets made for other pets as long as the guaranteed analysis and ingredients are similar to rat food. Besides food formulated for both mice and rats and lower-end dog food, it is not recommended you feed your rats any other pet foods formulated for other species. Your rats will do best on a diet of lab blocks/pellets specifically formulated for them with fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains provided daily.