Do you have a pet rat? Thinking about getting one? Know someone who has one? Either way, in any sense, rats will enjoy many different treats and foods, but as always, there are some better than others.
First off treats should never encompass more than 10% of a rat's diet because most treats are fatty, which can cause health concerns if the number of treats fed to a rat is extremely excessive.
And, never feed your rat chocolate, caffeine, or dairy (in the form of cheese, milk, or ice cream).
You want to stick to healthier treats like dried fruits, plain yogurt, fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, and yogurt treats.
You always want to watch how much and how often you give rats certain treats. As, seeds are fatty for rats, and fresh produce can cause diarrhea. Yogurt, fresh or dried, can, also, affect a rat's stomach causes diarrhea.
My favorite place to find rat treats, is at the grocery store. In the baby food isle and in the organic food section. In both sections you can find organically dried fruits, usually in mixtures such as cranberries and apples.
Petstores supply decent treats for rats. Kaytee makes ‘Healthy Bits,' crunchy treat balls composed of seeds, nuts, millet, and oats. Kaytee, also, creats a line of ‘Healthy Toppings' in flavors such as papaya, banana, and carrots, Yogurt treats such as Kaytee's ‘Yogurt Dips' and Nutriphase's ‘Yogurt Drops' can be fed to rats sparingly.
On occasion, I will buy plain yogurt for my girls. Putting just a tablespoon or so in bowl and letting them have at it. It's truly a treat for them, as they seldom get any.
Fresh fruits and veggies:
Dried fruits and vegetables:
- Horse Chestnut
- Laurel leaves
- Oak leaves
- Rabbit Mix (containing antibiotic ingredients)
- Raw Kidney Beans
- Scarlet Pimpernel
Avoid the Following Foods
- Deadly Nightshade
- Evergreen Plants
- Rats VS Mice
When deciding upon a pet rodent, make the proper decision between rats and mice. Make sure to know the true differences.
- Games and Toys for Your Rat
Find fun games for you and your pet rat(s).
- Signs of Illness in Pet Rats
Make sure that you are aware of the signs of illness in your pet rat(s).
- Housing Pet Rats
Finding the perfect cage is a must for pet rats. Make sure you know what you're looking for in a cage and accessories
- Homemade Rat Diets
Make a healthy, homemade rat diet for your favorit pet. Find out about proper nutrition. What you can and can't feed your rats.
- Homemade Rat Recipes
Find out more fun and yummy recipes that you can make for your pet rat(s).
- Homemade Rat Treats
Make yummy homemade treats for your beloved pet rat(s).
- How to Train Pet Rats
Tips for training your pet rat.
Danielle on April 29, 2012:
Are grape leaves ok for rats?
Becky on April 22, 2012:
I love the male rats but before I had my last one neutered, he bit my granddaughters arm. Not sure why. He was just laying on the couch with her
erynl33 on January 20, 2012:
Hi. So I got 2 boys from 2 diff pet stores about a month ago...they clicked and became rly good friends. i was researching sneezing too much and got scared when one sneezed (the wiped his face) and made a slight chattering noise, and i brought him back to the petstore and told them they needed to deal with this and take him to the vet bc they sold me a sick animal. my other boy who is fine was xtra depressed while he was gone for about a week. went to the vet, got SMP TMZ i think its calls. when i got him home he was still doing the same thing...brought him back and told them their prescritpion wasn't working, take him back to the vet. so about 4 days later i got him back, he had a DOXYCILIAN prescription. still seems to be sneezing crazily and now im noticing my other one is sneezing (not as much as my other one) do you think this could be caused by the stresss of being apart back and forth twice? also there is a tiny dot of poly on both their noses, is this normal in small amounts?
thekath on October 10, 2011:
rats can eat dairy. they shouldn't eat too much cheese or milk or ice cream because they are high in fat, but a tiny bit can be a yummy treat every once in a while. Also, yogurt is dairy, so please be sure to keep that in consideration when you say rats should not be fed dairy.
Hannah on August 30, 2011:
I found this page trying to figure out if it's safe for rats to have milk. This page that you put up says it isn't, but most others say it is. Why do you think that rats shouldn't drink milk or eat dairy products?
kitkatkittykat5000 on August 28, 2011:
da rat luvr, I agree mostly with Breezy, but you do know that you can't get rats from pet stores right?
Breezy on August 14, 2011:
@Tara - I wouldn't suggest peanut butter as it is very thick and tends to be oily, both of which are bad for rats. Maybe in small quantities.
@Da Rat Luvr - You'd have to talk to a doctor about him being allergic, and as for the basement, you'd need to consider factors such as temperature, humidity, light, etc.
@Cozz - Rats have different preferences just like humans. Grapes are round and can be hard to bite into, try cutting them or breaking them for the rats. Your rats may just not like them. Also, some types of grapes are more acidic then others. I do not believe it is the color.
@Shawn - Blueberries should not be a regular part of his diet as they are fattier then rat food/blocks and are a treat, he may lose interest if they are available for too long.
@Kaela - It's all based on preference. Females tend to be a bit more emotional/volatile/reactive, probably due to hormones. They are also more likely to fight with other females. Males have rather large balls for such small animals, and some people do not like this. They tend to be a bit more friendly though. My little rat Breezy(a dumbo dwarf rat, apparently pedigree or something) is a guy, and so have almost all of my rats been, but that's just my personal preference. The females tend to take longer to adjust to me/my house and they tend to build up worse grudges or opinions that last longer then the males do. Females do tend to be a bit more playful, at least they did to me.
Kaela on July 29, 2011:
My question is are females better or are males?
Shawn on June 08, 2011:
I just got a pet rat after hamsters and he's so much fun and he really likes blueberrys could that be a normal part of his diet?
Da rat luvr on June 04, 2011:
I was also wondering if you knew any ways to pursued my parents if my brother isn't allergic to rats because some people in the family won't come if we get rats could we bring it into the basement for a short amount of time and not let them know about it?
Cozz on June 03, 2011:
Hi! I have two boy rats I bought from a pet shop. My last lot of rats came from this pet shop and they lived long happy lives that was 3 years ago. I got my two boys and within 3 days try were snuffling with a snotty nose yet no discharge and sneezing. Took them to the vet now they have liquid antibiotics which I inject into bread and give it a fine coat of peanut butter (no choking) they are doing a lot better. :) and they are crazy for broccoli after tonights play session I rewarded them with a piece each. I clean my rats cage daily and they have (like my Indian ringneck Jake) a decent small amount of rat food and a supply of fresh veg like tomatoes, broccoli cauliflower apples grapes celery carrots capsicum green beans and corn. Although they never touch the grapes... Is that weird? They used to lick the green ones and Munch into them but here there are only seeded green ones so we bought red seedless instead. Is it the colour?
Da rat luvr on May 30, 2011:
So I've been trying to get my parents to let me get a rat and I've been doing TONS of research looked at rats at petco and petsmart and I've found a good rat food and I know good rat treats I know what toys and what bedding to put in their cage and know how to litter box train them but my brother is allergic to dogs and cats what's the chance he'll be allergic to rats?
Tara on April 24, 2011:
We just got two males rats! Is a peanut butter a safe treat for them? We're thinking about putting a small amount on cherrios or some plain ceral?? Thanks
Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 18, 2011:
As a treat unsalted sunflower seeds are fine.
Pinkpony on April 16, 2011:
Can I give my rat sunflower seeds if they are unsalted?
rexy 101 on March 10, 2011:
ur ideas have really helped i used the pet treats and now she does tricks!!!
antoinette on February 24, 2011:
There's nothing wrong with feeding a rat chocolate as long as it's only a very small amount. In fact a little bit can have health benefits. 2 of my rats had a recurring respiratory problem, but after feeding them one small chocolate drop a day (the kind you decorate cakes with) they've were much better and they didn't get fat.
Garlic is also fine in small amounts and has health benefits (if they'll eat them, I've not had a rat that will touch the stuff!)
Sweet potato is on the list of good foods here, but people should note that raw sweet potato is not good for rats.
There are also a few common foods that have been missed out on the 'avoid' list, like raw red cabbage, raw brussel sprouts, green bananas and rhubarb. Peanut butter is also best avoided as there is a risk of a rat choking on it.
Plink/Sweetpea on January 22, 2011:
I read on various websites that garlic can be good for rats...is this not true? Is there a form in which they can eat it?
Goldiegirlx2 on January 16, 2011:
I had pet rats as a teenager, an I got 3 boys 18 months ago to join my little family. I have 2 kids 5yr an 3yrs an they love our fur babies. One of the boys Eric passed on at the beginning of last year. An last week troy just snapped for some reason. He started bitting an drawing blood. He wouldn't let me put my hand in to feed or get his brother gandolf out. I ended up having to have him put down :( after he attacked my 3yr old when he tried to feed them a treat "to make troy happy" both of them love both my kids so I'm not sure what made him turn an neither did the vet. Any ideas?
I also have a female Lilly who is 8 months old they have had babies together last year an I kept a girl Hannah to keep Lilly company. But now not sure what to do about gandolf, do I get him a friend as he is now on his own an never been on his own or do I leave him on his own due to being 18months old an not wanting to stress him out??
Any ideas or thoughts would be great thanks :)
Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 11, 2011:
I'd say too acidic
Leah on January 10, 2011:
Just wondering if it is ok to give my rats grapefruit? I've looked on so many sites and it is NOT on the forbidden list but it's also not on the OK list.
carol on January 03, 2011:
I notice that you don't recommend the use of bindweed for rats. I've read that bindweed (capsules) is supposed to be a much more powerful anti-angiogensis treatment for tumors than shark cartilage when used with other natural remedies to shrink tumors. Given that rats get tumors regularly, can you not use the properly prepared components of bindweed extract capsules for rats? I understand the natural plant has dangerous alkaloids, but that one refined pharmaceutically, are okay. Please confirm, if you can, as I'm considering trying the bindweed extract, with Coriolus, to try and shrink my rat's small benign tumor.
holly on January 02, 2011:
hey whitney my two lil rats love salmon, is it okay to let them have it? they go mad for it :)
mianama555 on December 28, 2010:
thank you so much whitney
Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 28, 2010:
When you first get a pet rat, you want to leave it alone for a few days so that it can get adjusted to the new cage, smells, and sounds. You can stress out the pet by constant play upon first getting the rat.
mianama555 on December 27, 2010:
i got a rat fr cristmas and i have been trying to give him as much attention as possible. yesterday i foun a who to train a rat book and i tried t find treats he liked. he refuesed apples, cucumber, carrots, celery, and bananas! do you have any sugesstions? thank you for ur time!
Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 24, 2010:
In some cases, yes. In other cases for bonded pairs or groups, they may take care of the sick. It just varies case by case.
Terabojin on December 23, 2010:
I read somewhere that if one is sick, the others will attack it, starve it, or kill it, is that true?
Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 21, 2010:
Mazuri rat block is one of the best rat diets that you can purchase. It can be found at petsmart, but not petco. Bullying requires separation.
Terabojin on December 21, 2010:
Whitney05, I just reicently brought home my little boy Casanova, and about 4 days later my boyfriends daughter got her little boy Stormy. Casanova and Stormy are close in age, but I think Casanova is older. Casanova keeps "bullying" Stormy. They don't bunk together, though they are in the same cage, he won't share the water bottle. When I feed them fresh veggies, Casanova hordes it all away from Stormy. I don't want Stormy to get sick, be starved, or be bullied by Casanova. What do you suggest? Also what kind of food do you suggest for them daily? I'm using Sunscruption vita prima currently and I don't think they like it much at all. Also I got them a ball to play in, but they just sit there once they're in it. How can I get them to run in it? Thanks!
Answer Ghost on December 04, 2010:
Hey Maddie? I tought mine with the smallest peices of turkey. he knows how to turn off the lights now.
Maddie on December 04, 2010:
I just bought a pet rat and I'm trying to teach him tricks but he wont eat any of his treats so he wont train. I've tried yogurt chips from my hamster, fruit, cheese, anything. I've even tried potato chips, and he just wont eat them.
Ang on December 04, 2010:
I got 2 female rats about 6 months ago when they were 2 months old. One of them is very tame and loves being held, petted, sits on my shoulders and runs back to be by my side. But her sister is the complete opposite. She doesn't like being near me, when I hold her she practically flys across the room to get away and is really fidgetty when I hold her. I can never hold her more than about a minute. I'm always nice to her and let her know I'm going to pick her up before I do and talk to her nicely. I've never been mean to her. I try to spend time with her as much as I do her sister but it's hard to when she acts like that. What can I do to make her less scared of me?
Hdhdhd on November 29, 2010:
I heard that polar fleece is great for bedding. Do you know where i could get some and how much it costs
Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 28, 2010:
Yes, rats like cheerios. Plain ones, not the honey or sugared ones.
Hdhdhd on November 28, 2010:
I heard that feeding your rat cheerios for a treat is good, is this true?
Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 26, 2010:
Offer only what you want the rat to eat, and eventually the rat will eat it.
Dani on November 26, 2010:
Does anyone know how to get a junk food fed rat to eat what's good for him.
Selena on November 19, 2010:
Help! I was eating a slice of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and he was on my bed and i looked away for a second ad he was eating a piece and when i tried to take it away he ran under my pillow and ATE IT! Is he going to be ok?
Tonya on September 08, 2010:
I have a dumbo eared rat who is still a baby... Her name is Izzy Pop....I was so glad to find this list as up until now she has only gotten rat food. I am sure that she will be much happier now that I know she can have fresh fruits and vegies....
Sarah on September 04, 2010:
I have 2 male rats and i has been sneezing alot so i took him to the vet and the vet said that he's fine but i just want to double check.
Jack on August 10, 2010:
I like to give my rat chopped carrots and he really likes them but I dont know how much i should give him daily do you know?
Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 28, 2010:
I wouldn't offer it all the time. An occasional treat will be fine.
Kay on July 27, 2010:
Hey, I was wondering if rats can eat fresh kiwi without the seeds? I gave my female Abby a little piece and she really liked it but I don't want her to have to much if she can't.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on June 10, 2010:
No, I wouldn't recommend pepperments.
LostLove98 on June 10, 2010:
how about peppermints
Lori on June 08, 2010:
Bit late, but awhile ago, nicole asked about her rat swinging it's tail when she picked it up. Rats who have lost some of their sense of balance due to an old ear infection will do this.
Sue on June 06, 2010:
Hi all, I have just come across your forum and thought I would say I have 19 rats in total and they are fed a mixture of rat and hamster food and every other day, they have a variety of fresh food. Cucumber seems to be the preferred favourite at the moment, with bread, digestive biscuits, plain popcorn, and peas all coming a close second :)
A large number of my rats have come from people who needed to find a new home for their rat(s) or adopted from rescue centres. I have found that the majority of rats prefer to have a least one other friend and the best way to socialise them that I have found, is too carry them around on your shoulder and also letting them run around on the sofa and all over you. Do this a number of times and then do a full cage clean, but put a piece of bedding from each cage into the clean cage before putting both rats in, the new one first.
Sarah on June 05, 2010:
FYI... rats turn yellow as they age. it's not necessarily a dirty cage. remember, they have no gallbladder so its thought that the bile that goes directly into the small intestine may be reabsorbed and turn the coat yellow.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 27, 2010:
The cost will vary depending on where you purchase the rat.
Male rats are typically more docile, and female rats are generally more inquisitive. Other than that male or female doesn't matter. It is your fault you let bullying get so severe that one died because the other wouldn't let the one eat. They don't all like to be caged with friends, and if they're not introduced properly they won't get along. That is your responsibility.
No, rats should not be taken on car trips. If it's just the trip home, the rat may not get too stressed out. If you're talking about regular trips, then the rat will probably get stressed out. Make sure to use a proper carrier to put the rat in throughout the trip, and don't handle it.
jane on April 25, 2010:
do rats like car trips cos wen i get one its three owers till i am home so yer.
jane on April 25, 2010:
ohh and is it better to have to boy rats or to girl rats or one of each.
cos once me and my brother had to and thay were boys and one starvd the uther one so yer.
jane on April 25, 2010:
do you no how much rats cost.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 21, 2010:
If you're asking about a daily diet, I'd recommend Mazuri rat block. As for treats, you can consider some of the above fruits and veggies as good occasional snacks.
jane on April 20, 2010:
me and my sister are going to get a rat soon and dont no what to feed them or not feed them.
so could you tell me some stuff they love and what they could die ova.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 23, 2010:
Keep the foods raw, not cooked. Rats can live up until their 5, although they are averaged to just 3 years. I've known many to live that long. My girls lived about 3-4 years or so.
Christine on February 22, 2010:
I've got a lovely baby rat called Ianto (pronounced Yan-toh) and I'm trying to get him onto little sunday dinners (about twice a week). They consist of broccoli (I've heard that it helps to prevent cancer in rats?), carrots, mashed potato (all of my rats have loved mash! yum!)and Colliflower. I used to give little dinners like these to my two rats (sadly passed away last year) and I think it prolonged their life because they lived till they were 4 years old. Is that a really really old age for rats? Has anyone had a rat that was at least 4 years?
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 22, 2010:
It could be the salt lick. Rat's generally don't need one of those anyway. You can remove that from the enclosure. Yes, you can use lukewarm water and gently bath the rat. Do not use human shampoos. You can use a mild anti-bacterial soap or purchase a small animal shampoo. Personally, I'd just stick with water and see how that takes care of it.
LilMommyOfTupac on February 21, 2010:
He has an orange colored salt wheel thing in his tank with him. But I have never really seen him touch it. I wiped him down with a baby wipe and the pink color was starting to come off, but when it was coming off it was sort of an orangish pink color at that point. Could I give him a bath? Could it just be maybe urine or something? I clean his tank 3-4 times a week due to the smell, so he has regular clean bedding.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 19, 2010:
Has the rat had colored chew blocks?
LilMommyOfTupac on February 18, 2010:
Whitney, I just pulled Tupac out of his tank and I noticed that his fur is starting to turn pink on his back. What could be causing this?? I'm really worried about him. He has a regular diet, he eats his rat food and he had one little thing of yogurt and part of a rice krispies treat. He eats peanuts on occasion. Please let me know if you have any ideas on why he would be turning pink.
LilMommyOfTupac on February 11, 2010:
Thank you so much Whitney...I really appreciate the advice and help. I will be sure to try and socialize with Tupac more. I do try to hold him at least twice a day. So thanks so much.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 11, 2010:
Yes, that is a good reason as to why he's not socialized.
LilMommyOfTupac on February 11, 2010:
Thank you for the advice about the Rice Krispies Treat. But I also wanted to say, I didn't get him from a pet store, I got him from someone on Craigslist, and she had to find him a new home because she was irresponsible (her own words). Could that be another reason why he is freaking out when I hold him? Could it be that they just didn't handle him very often while he was in their care?
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 11, 2010:
kapowski, You may want to consider a vet just to make sure. Sometimes they will sneeze when they are excited, stressed, or nervous. What is the rat doing when she sneezes?
LilMommyofTupac, none flavored rice krispees is fine ones in a while, but not regularly or as a staple food. Because you just got him, it'll take time to tame him down. Some are tame from day one, but some need a little work. Just be patient and don't expect too much. Teeth should be orange, and males have big balls (it's actually why many people don't like males)
LilMommyOfTupac on February 10, 2010:
Hi there, I recently got a little man named Tupac. I am thinking that he might be a dumbo because he has extra skin at the moment. But anyway I was wondering if it was safe to give Tupac small pieces of a Rice Krispies Treat. I haven't given any to him yet, I decided to do a search to see if it was safe and I came across your forum. He is an awesome companion and he gets along great with my two and half year old son. I just wanted to be able to give him a treat for being such a good boy, and also to see if it might calm him down a little. As he is having a problem with being held. He doesn't bite, he just freaks out and scratches as if he is falling off a building or something, even when we are just sitting on the floor or the bed and he will be in my lap, he will start to scratch away at my hands. But yeah, any suggestions on how I can help him adjust to being held? And are Rice Krispies Treats safe for him. Also I was told that he is under a year, but I noticed that his teeth are really orangeish color, and he also has HUGE baknockers. I haven't had a chance to take him to my vet yet. Doing that on Friday.
kapowski2010 on February 10, 2010:
No other signs and ive heard it a couple times since my last post, she is still very active and eats n drinks regularly, she is very playful they both are! Just as a precaution though i went ahead and made them both a vet appt for tomorrow afternoon...hopefully everything is well, only had them for about a week n im already very attached! One other thing, both rats sleep on their levels in their cage and not in their bedding or hammock is this normal?
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 10, 2010:
Is she showing any other signs? Drainage from eyes or nose? It may be a good idea to have her checked out just in case.
kapowski2010 on February 10, 2010:
i just heard a small sneez about 10 min ago, is this a sign of a resp. infection? Should i take her or both of them to the vet??
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 10, 2010:
The bedding could have been dusty causing the sneezing. Keep an eye on the rat closely.
kelly on February 10, 2010:
I recently got 2 female rats and one of the has started sneezing, i had been using total comfort bedding for about 3days, when i noticed the sneezing i immediately switched to carefresh and i havent heard her sneeze at all. Should i still be worried n take her to the vet???
Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 07, 2010:
It's not necessarily normal, but it's not really aggression signs that I've ever heard of. How long have you had her? She could just be adjusting to you.
nicole on January 06, 2010:
i have a rat, shes a girl and whenever i pick her up she tends to swing her tail in a windmill motion, is that normal?? an aggression sign... i really dont know. if you know please reply :)
Cloe on November 19, 2009:
Ok thank you so much!
Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 16, 2009:
There isn't that much difference betweein the two. Both are good versions. Between the two, I think the 2014 is slightly more recommended because of the lower proteins.