Review: Oxbow Rat Food (is it really that good?)

Oxbow is a well-known brand that is available online as well as in most pet shops. In this Oxbow Rat Food review, I take a close look at all products that belong to the Oxbow Essentials Rat Food lineup. Particularly there are a young rat and mouse food, one for adult rats and a GMO-free product. All three foods claim to be wholesome and balanced. The reputation of the brand Oxbow among rat owners is generally very good. I also can just say now, that the Oxbow Essentials Adult Rat Food is the winner of my roundup review “8 Best Rat Foods For A Healthy Diet”.

In this article I review the following Oxbow Rat foods:

Things to consider before buying a pellet-based food

All three Oxbow Essentials Rat Foods are pellet-based meaning they come with some cons and pros that don’t rely on product quality but on the design. The discussion among rat owners if pellet food or varied mixes are best is ongoing with no end in sight.

With pellet-based food, there is no way your pets can pick only those ingredients they like most. Because of that, it is easy to serve them with everything they need. On the other hand eating every day the same things can be quite boring. Even if it is crunchy and tasty. For some rat owners, the solution is to just mix varied seeds and pellets for the daily rat diet. Other pet parents prefer to enrich the food with regular treats such as vegetables, fruits and eggs. But be aware of the amount you give. Rats can get fat easily. 

Benefits that all Oxbow Rat Foods have in common

Before I go into the details of every individual food, I want to discuss the benefits that fit all products in this section.

Every food from Oxbow is developed with the help of experienced veterinarians and nutritionists. These experts make sure that the foods contain everything your pet needs for a happy and healthy life. Therefore critical vitamins and minerals are added but Oxbow doesn’t stop with that and adds prebiotics and antioxidants as well. Rats are prone to some diseases, such as cancer and nutrition is a way to support the immune system and general health.

By the way, did you know that yucca schidigera extract helps to reduce the odor of ammonia buildup? All Oxbow foods contain some of it and I think it really leads to less smell.

All ingredients come from well-chosen farmers and companies, but I also like what’s not in it: refined sugars and artificial components.


  • Balanced diet
  • Developed with veterinarians
  • Prevents selective eating


  • Pricier than other brands
  • Not all products have non-gmo lable
  • Sometimes big sized packages

Oxbow Essentials Adult Rat Food

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Nutritional Value:

  • Crude Protein (min) 15.00%
  • Crude Fat (min) 4.00%
  • Crude Fiber (max) 7.00%
  • Moisture (max) 10.00%
  • Calcium (min) 0.80%
  • Calcium (max) 1.20%
  • Phosphorous (min) 0.80%

The Essentials Adult Rat Food is probably the most bought rat food from Oxbow. As you can see in the analysis, the nutritional values are balanced as stated. Protein and fat levels are not too high and the food provides enough energy for active days. But this is only for adult rats. Young pets as well as pregnant females and nursing ones need a bit more protein. This is why this food is really only recommended for rats above 6 months of age.

Oxbow Essentials Mouse & Young Rat Food

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Nutritional Value

  • Crude Protein (min) 18.00%
  • Crude Fat (min) 6.00%
  • Crude Fiber (min) 2.00%
  • Crude Fiber (max) 6.00%
  • Moisture (max) 12.00%
  • Calcium (min) 0.80%
  • Calcium (max) 1.20%
  • Phosphorus (min) 0.60%

This food is specially designed for young rats under 6 months and mice. The main difference to the Essentials Adult Rat Food is a higher protein and fat level which makes the product also a good fit for nursing and pregnant pets. If you aren’t a breeder the package size might be a bit too large meaning that you will have quite an amount left when your rat needs adult food. Because of that you can consider feeding adult feed right from the beginning and supplement some protein by feeding eggs. 

Oxbow Garden Select Adult Rat Food

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Nutritional Value:

  • Crude Protein (min) 16.00% 
  • Crude Fat (min) 4.00% 
  • Crude Fiber (min) 2.00% 
  • Crude Fiber (max) 5.00% 
  • Moisture (max) 12.00% 
  • Calcium (min) 1.00% 
  • Calcium (max) 1.50% 
  • Phosphorus (min) 0.80%

The Garden Select is the non-GMO option under Oxbows’ rat foods. Additionally, it is vegetarian, so that some rat owners argue if this can be a good diet for rats. I personally would opt for another Oxbow product because of that. But some rats tend to like this more than foods with meat or fish.

Garden Select Adult Rat Food is suitable for rats above 6 months that are not pregnant or nursing. If you want to choose this product and your rat is younger, you can supplement protein by feeding some egg or other sources.

Oxbow Rat Food Alternatives

Even if an Oxbow product is the winner in our rat food roundup, you might want to have some alternatives. There are three other rat foods that might be a good fit too:

  • Science Selective Rat Food is my runner up among all rat foods. While some rat owners say that Oxbow is the best brand, there are also a lot that opt for Science Selective. If you want to learn more about it, you can read my Science Selective Rat Food review or check it directly on Amazon.
  • Mazuri Rodent Nutritionally Complete Rat Food has a very high protein level of 23%. This might be too high for pets in adult maintenance but should serve the nutritions young and growing rats need. The downside of this product is that it contains alfalfa and beet pulp which are not digestible in rats. You can check it out on Amazon.
  • Kaytee Fiesta Mouse And Rat Food might be a good choice if you want to feed a varied food mix. Even though this one comes with a lot of good characteristics like added probiotics, vitamins, be aware of the contained alfalfa and peanuts. The upside: This product really encourages the foraging behavior of your pets and maybe you can just sort the alfalfa and nuts out. You can check it out on Amazon.

If you want to learn more about different rat foods and their brands, we suggest reading our article “Best rat foods for a healthy diet”.


If you want to serve your rats food that is complete, balanced and was developed with the experience of vets, the Oxbow products might be the right choice. The ingredients are of good quality and many rat owners are convinced by Oxbow. I suggest having a look at the Oxbow Essentials Adult Rat Food if you want to opt for one of the company’s products.