Can Rats Eat Onions?

Can rats eat onions? Many sources claim that onions are toxic for rats and can even kill them. So many rat owners are worried when their critter has stolen a piece from the plate. In this article, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about pet rats and onions.

Can rats eat onions

Many people like onions and nutritionists talk about their health benefits. [1] So why onions might be bad for rats?

Do Rats Like Onion?

Most likely not but it also depends. Onions have a very strong and hot smell. For the sensitive respiratory systems of rats this is just too much. Chances are high, that your fancy rat won’t even touch an onion.

Often onions are used as natural pest control in vegetable gardens. [2]

That said, cooking will reduce the number of toxic substances to a minimum. As a result of this process, the sweet taste of the bulb comes into the foreground.

As you might have experienced, sweetness changes everything for rats. Chances are high, that your rats like cooked onions very much.

Do Onions Kill Rats?

Most likely not. Huge amounts of raw onions would be needed to kill a rat. It is nearly impossible that your rat will eat that much, especially as they don’t like the smell of the raw veggie. 

Additionally, a rat will die more from the long-term effects. You would have to feed raw onions not only once but day by day.

As you see, you don’t have to fall into panic if your rat eats even a piece of raw onion. 

But have in mind, that there is no all or nothing. Little health issues in form of a stomach ache or other minor issues can occur much sooner.

As you can imagine now, it is the smell that makes raw onion a good repellent.

Are Cooked Onions Safe?

Cooked onions

Cooking reduces the sulfur content significantly. This substance is responsible for the sharp smell and also the toxic effects. 

While high temperatures usually don’t destroy all sulfur components, they do enough to neutralize the toxicity. You don’t have to worry if your rat steals a piece of cooked onion from your plate.

But be aware of additional oil and fat that can turn cooked onions into a real bomb of calories.

Health Benefits Of Onions

Sometimes it is even discussed, if onions, in small amounts, can have also health benefits for rats. 

Perhaps this is a bit surprising at first, but at second look it might be obvious. I recently did some research about garlic and honey for rats

While both plants have a lot in common, some rat owners use the health benefits of garlic. On the other hand, I have found only a few who do the same with onions.

So if you want to feed some healthy stuff, I recommend using other fruits and vegetables. Broccoli and blueberries are two examples you can use for the fresh part of the diet.

Wrapping Things Up

There is no reason to be worried if your rat ate a piece of onion. Even if it was raw, it won’t kill your rat. But there is also no need for feeding onion. It is easy to find a lot of vegetables and fruits that support the health of your little critter.