In addition to feeding a high quality commercial rat diet, it’s a good idea to supplement your rats’ daily menu with fresh, organic fruits and vegetables as well as other whole, natural foods. A few examples are:
Aim for a balance of 80% commercial diet and 20% organic, whole foods. In an ideal world, it would be great to feed our rats only organic, whole foods. However, the best commercial diets are so well formulated, they’re hard to beat in terms of getting all of the nutrients your rats need in each bite.
For a sample daily menu, read A Typical Day’s Diet.
Make sure to familiarize yourself with the list of Dangerous Foods so you omit these from your rats’ diet.
Some people prefer to make their own rat diets. If you feed a homemade diet and do not add in lab blocks, you must make sure it’s nutritionally complete. There are many diets recipes and formulas online for pet rats. In my opinion, the person who has done the most research is Debbie Ducommon. Click here to see Debbie’s homemade diet.
To learn more about pet rat nutritional requirements, I highly recommend reading The Rat Fan Club website as well as the book Rat Health Care written by Debbie Ducommon, “The Rat Lady”. My own personal diet has improved from reading Debbie’s rat diet recommendations. Prior to reading about the top vegetables for rats recommended by The Rat Lady, I had never eaten kale or bok choy. Now they are some of my favorite vegetables.
From my personal experience, an essential part of a rat’s diet is Green Mush. Ever since I began feeding my rats Green Mush they’ve lived much longer lives. My first rat, a male, only lived to be 1 ¾ years. After I began feeding Green Mush to my pet rats, my males began living as long as 3 ¼ years. Keep in mind females will live even longer.
Green Mush was originally created by the founders of Healthforce Nutritionals specifically to provide the highest quality, most comprehensive nutrition for their pet rat, June! To order and learn more, click on the photo to the left or the Green Mush advertisement found on the right side of this page or any Green Mush link in this section.
I have read mixed reviews on adding chromium picolinate to a pet rat’s diet. Debbie Ducommon advocates using it to help increase longevity. A veterinarian I highly revere also recommends using it. Because I’ve heard both pro and con regarding the effectiveness of adding chromium picolinate to a rat’s diet, I am currently choosing not to use it for my rats.
I actually did try using it a year or so ago for one week. I gave it to two males who, until adding the chromium, had been very close and enjoyed each other’s company tremendously. After one week on the chromium, however, one of the boys severely “beat up” the other resulting both in a trip to an emergency hospital as well as needing to keep them separate from then on. However, my experience is purely anecdotal and may also very well be coincidental.