8 Best Rat Foods for a healthy diet (Review & Guide)

For those of you, who are in a hurry: Here is our top pick, the Oxbow Essentials Adult Rat Food.

Rats have very high demands on their diet. As carnivores, they need both, plants and meat, in their food. Often it is not easy to find a good product that has good nutritional values and contains no ingredients that may harm your little friends.

As many sites just pick random foods, we decided to do some really in-depth research to find the best rat food out there. Therefore we reviewed tons of products and spent hours on research to make the decision a bit easier for you. Here is what we found out!

In this article we are going to review the following 8 rat foods:

Things To Know About Rat’s Eating Habits

Rats have very special eating habits every owner should know about. For beginners, the most confusing one is, that rats will test every new food before eating the whole portion. In this situation, it is easy to think that the rats do not like the food.

In reality, the little pet is trying just a little bite than it waits a while to see if the food makes him sick. If that is not the case, your furry friend will come back and eat the rest of it. After a while when the rat really trusts its owner, it will eat everything at once. It is in your responsibility to serve only such foods that are good for your little critter now.

Apart from that, rats eat around 6 times per day. If you and your rat are new to each other this is a good opportunity to speed up taming through some hand feeding.

If you want to bring some more excitement in the life of your pets do not always fill the whole food into a bowl. Your rats will love to search for food that you have just scattered around in their cage. This mimics the foraging behavior in the wild and will help your rats to stay active and happy.

Rats can be very possessive when it comes to their food. You should definitely have more than one food bowl to prevent rivalry.

What To Consider When Choosing Food For Your Rat

Nutritional Value

The nutritional value should be the first thing you look at when choosing a new rat food. Which and how much nutrients your pets need is tied to their age, gender, and pregnancy. 

As a reduced kidney function occurs in old rats, protein and phosphorus should be at lower levels. While very young rats need especially these nutrients to support their rapid growth. 

Rats grow very fast in their first months, so it starts to become much slower with the age of 3 to 4 months. After about 6 months they reach adult maintenance. Now you have to be careful that your rat does not become obese.

Usually, the demanded amount of food will be between 12 and 20g, to identify the exact amount your rats need, you will have to weigh them. The nutritional value should look something like this:

  • 75% carbohydrates
  • 10 to 15% protein
  • 5% unsaturated fat
  • 5 to 6% fiber

Ingredients

When it comes to the ingredients of rat food, there is one rule: the more variety the better. Apart from that, there are some other points to consider:

  • Egg and soy are the best protein sources. They protect the kidney and should be preferred to fish, chicken, and other meat.
  • Sources should be listed in detail. That is especially for meat and means that you should look for chicken instead of poultry.
  • The best foods are natural, avoid artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors.
  • When it comes to pellets and other processed foods, minerals and vitamins should be supplemented.
  • Omega 3 and 6 are as essential for rats, as they are for us humans.
  • Wheat, oat, and rye contain much phosphorus. Consider this when you choose food for elder rats and keep them at minimum.
  • There are some ingredients that are not suitable for rats. These are mainly alfalfa and other sources that contain high levels of fiber.

Pellets vs. Mixed Varied Food

There is an ongoing discussion under rat owners if pellets or rat blocks are better than mixed varied food. There are very good arguments for both types of food that we want to take into consideration.

  • Pellet foods are typically highly processed and lab formulated products. They tend to come with everything your rats need and offer optimal nutritional value. Another big argument for this kind of food is, that your rats can not pick the ingredients they like most. All things contained are ground extruded and now one piece. The downside is, that it is very boring for rats to eat this kind of food day in and day out. It is just not fun.
  • Mixed varied foods on the other side can be described as something like muesli. Every ingredient comes basically on its own and feels, smells, and tastes different. The sensory and behavioral enrichments these foods come with should not be underweight as your rats need those stimuli. As a downside we can mention, that many (nearly every) rat will pick only the parts it likes most. You can counteract this a little bit when you do not feed ad-lib and offer only as much food as it is needed per day.

As you see both foods have their pros and cons. We can fully understand that you want to offer your rats everything they need for a healthy diet. There is one simple trick that can simplify the decision for rats’ diet: You do not have to choose! Just mix both types of food and you will get what you looked for so hard.

Brand & Quality

These two factors correlate often. While most cheap foods use cheap ingredients and fillers, pricier alternatives tend to do the opposite. Additionally, brands have a reputation to lose.

We recommend going with brands other rat owners speak positively about. Read reviews like this one to determine whether a product is good or not. Of course, the price alone does not make good food, so be careful and make your decision wisely.

Quantity

Rats are fairly small pets. Think about the amount you will feed every day when you choose the quantity or size of the product. Often it won’t be more than a few teaspoons. You will only need large bags when you have many rats. It is often better to buy more small packages instead of a large one. Fresh food smells and tastes better, apart from that it contains all the nutrients that it should.

When you try out a new food order the smallest package available. You can buy in bulk later when your rats showed that they like it.

Best Rat Food Reviews

Best Block Foods / Pellets

Our top pick: Oxbow Essentials Adult Rat Food

Nutrients:

  • Crude Protein 15% min
  • Crude Fat 4% min
  • Crude Fiber 2% min
  • Crude Fiber 5% max
  • Phosphorous 0.8% min

Many rat owners say that the Oxbow Essentials Adult Rat Food is the best available and it is also our top pick. Looking into the lists of nutrients and ingredients shows that the product is very well formulated. It contains all essentials that rats need for a happy and active life.

Proteins are balanced such as carbohydrates and fat. Added antioxidants support the immune system of your rats and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Vitamins and minerals are rounding up the nutritional values of this food.

All kibbles are of the same size, color, and taste, which effectively prevents selective eating. In fact, most rats really like this food, they even stash it away and hide some pieces for bad days.

As the manufacturer calls this a food for adult rats we have to say that it will satisfy your rat’s needs when they become 4 months old.

Depending on how many rats you keep, the bag might hold for quite a time, but it stays fresh when you close it properly and squeeze out the air.

Buyers report about the increased longevity of their rats. Besides that, the fur seems even shinier and the eyes brighter.

Pros:

  • Good balanced nutritional value
  • Added antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins
  • Formulated with top veterinarians and nutritionists
  • Kibbles of the same size, color, and taste
  • Stays fresh for a long time
  • Yucca extract reduces odor

Cons:

  • No non-GMO label

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Supreme Petfoods Science Selective Rat Food

Nutrients:

  • Crude Protein 14%
  • Crude Fat 4%
  • Crude Fiber 4%
  • Phosphorus 0.4%

The Supreme Petfoods Science Selective Rat Food might be another good option. The nutritional values are balanced and offer a complete diet for rats. A con might be, that there are only a few ingredients, but those are all-natural. Sugar and artificial products are not added to this food.

The food helps to sustain healthy skin and coat. Antioxidants are coming from apples and blackcurrants, fatty acids are mainly unsaturated and added vitamins are supporting the immune system.

Most rats really enjoy the kibbles and some owners report that feces are not that smelly when they serve this food. But they complain also about the smell of the food itself.

Pros:

  • Good nutritional values
  • No added sugar
  • No artificial colors
  • Natural antioxidants
  • High in polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Low in saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Prevents selective feeding

Cons:

  • Only a few ingredients
  • Food itself is smelly

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Oxbow Animal Health Garden Select Adult Rat Food

Nutrients:

  • Crude Protein 16% min
  • Crude Fat 4% min
  • Crude Fiber 2% min
  • Crude Fiber 5% max
  • Phosphorus 0.80% min

This food from Oxbow is inspired by vegetables growing in our garden, additionally, all ingredients are non-GMO. Like all Oxbow foods, the Garden Select prevents selective eating through its uniform kibbles.

By nature, this rat food is rich in antioxidants that support the immune system and prevents cancer and tumors. Prebiotics and chelated minerals are added and can easily be absorbed. You won’t find any sugar or artificial ingredients in this rat food. 

Sounds like very good food right? The only thing is, that many rats like the other variant (our top pick) more. But if you want to opt for a non-GMO, high-quality food with all-natural ingredients, this one might be the right choice.

Pros:

  • Good balanced nutritional value
  • Added antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins
  • Formulated with top veterinarians and nutritionists
  • Kibbles of the same size, color, and taste
  • Stays fresh for a long time
  • Yucca extract reduces odor
  • Non-GMO label

Cons:

  • Contains beet pulp
  • Many rats like our top pick more

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Kaytee FortiDiet ProHealth Rat/Mouse Food

Nutrients:

  • Crude Protein 20% min
  • Crude Fat 4% min
  • Crude Fiber 7% max

This food is marketed for rats but honestly, it might be the right choice for hamsters or gerbils, but not for rats. The values of both protein and fiber are too high for rats and the product contains alfalfa and beet pulp. No pro like the price, probiotics, or support of dental health can compensate for the poorly composed ingredients. 

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Crunchy for dental health
  • Pre- and probiotics

Cons:

  • Contains alfalfa and beet pulp
  • Relatively high in protein
  • Relatively high in fiber
  • No non-GMO lable

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Mazuri Rodent Nutritionally Complete Rat and Mouse Food

Nutrients:

  • Crude Protein: 23% max
  • Crude Fat: 6.5% min
  • Crude Fiber: 4.5% max

What we like most about this food is the odor-reducing formula with yucca extract. Also, there are no artificial colors and flavors added. Apart from that, the cons are overweighting all the pros from our point of view. Protein and fat are way too high for rats and even if fiber is at a good level, there is alfalfa and beet pulp processed in this food. Both are not digestible in rats which leads to the fact that we do not recommend this product.

Pros:

  • No added artificial colors and flavors
  • Dried yucca extract helps to reduce odor

Cons:

  • Contains alfalfa
  • Contains beet pulp
  • High in protein

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Best Varied Mixed Foods

Kaytee Fiesta Mouse And Rat Food

Nutrients:

  • Crude Protein 13.5% min
  • Crude Fat 7% min
  • Crude Fiber 10% max

One look into the ingredients of the Kaytee Fiesta Rat Food shows how much variety it offers. The shapes and textures of the single pieces support dental health through a natural chewing activity. 

Prebiotics and probiotics are added and support digestive health. Apart from that natural antioxidants support the immune system. Seems like it contains everything rats need for a healthy and active life.

However, there are some cons too. We think fat and fiber levels could be a little bit lower for an optimal fit. Apart from that, we have to say that this product contains alfalfa and peanuts in small amounts. These few pieces might not do harm to our beloved pets, but we think they do not belong in rat food.

Pros:

  • Huge variety for enrichment
  • With pre- and probiotics

Cons:

  • Contains alfalfa
  • Contains peanuts
  • High in fat and fiber

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Vitakraft Vita Smart Rat/Mouse Food

Nutrients:

  • Crude Protein 17%
  • Crude Fat 5%
  • Crude Fiber 10%

The rat food by Vitakraft is varied and comes without any artificial ingredients. To provide everything a rat needs it is fortified with vitamins and nutrients. Looking into buyer reports there are different opinions: While some really like this food, others say it is poorly designed and bad for rats. Although some picky eaters refuse to try it.

In our opinion some nutritional values are quite high, this is especially for fiber. While it contains alfalfa and peanuts we do not recommend this food.

Pros:

  • Good for enrichment
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Added vitamins and minerals

Cons:

  • Contains alfalfa and peanuts

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

F.M. Brown’s Tropical Carnival Gourmet Pet Mouse and Rat Food

Nutrients:

  • Crude Protein 14%
  • Crude Fat 7%
  • Crude Fiber 9%

F.M. Brown’s is a family-owned and operated corporation. The Tropical Carnival Gourmet Rat Food comes with a great variety of vegetables and foods. Sadly there are also some peanuts in the package. Another big con is that many ingredients are highly processed.

Pros:

  • Good variety
  • Added vitamins and minerals

Cons:

  • Contains artificial ingredients
  • Contains peanuts
  • Many processed ingredients

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Conclusion

The rat food we liked most is the Oxbow Essentials Adult Rat Food. Its nutritional values are perfect for rats and in contrast to many other foods, there are no ingredients that can harm your furry friends. Vitamins and Minerals are added and support the immune system of your rats while the yucca extract reduces the odor of their urine. We know that this option is not the cheapest on the market, but just read the reports of other buyers if there are any uncertainties.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Rats Eat Other Pet Food?

Most rodent foods are not a good substitute. That is especially for gerbil and hamster food, as these normally contain alfalfa which is not digestible in rats. However, some rat owners give small amounts of guinea pig food. Apart from that dog food or dog biscuits can be given occasionally as treats as they clean and sharpen the teeth of your rat.

How Much Food Should I Give My Rats?

The amount of food your rats need varies between 12 and 20g per day and pet. To get the exact amount we recommend starting with 14g. Weigh your rats and give more or less food when they gain or lose weight.

We recommend feeding per 24 hours and not at lib as this will help to avoid selective eating. Do not use the food bowls for the whole portion and scatter some pieces in the cage.

Can I Give My Rats Some Of My Food?

Fresh food is definitely a good choice for rats. But make sure that it is only given additionally, the amount of their normal food should not be less than 80% of their diet.

You can give your rat most vegetables and fruits to your rats, even whole pasta and small pieces of pizza bone can be tasty for your friends. But have in mind that sweet things and junk food can lead to obesity when you give them regularly. Here you can find a list of foods you should avoid at all. And here is another one with foods that are safe.

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