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Bringing home a domesticated rat can be an overwhelming experience for a first-timer, which is why educating yourself on proper dietary planning is so important. Relax, though, because rat pellet fully satisfies all of a pet rat's basic nutritional requirements.
Most pet rats handily eat and thrive on basic diets of rat pellet, also known as "lab blocks." Rat pellet, commercially produced, is specially formulated and balanced to satisfy the specific nutritional requirements of rats, including minerals and vitamins. The ASPCA recommends rat pellet that features soy meal as its predominant component.
Apart from the pellet foundation of a rat's diet, the little guys require fresh vegetables and fruits on a daily basis, the ASPCA website says. Fresh items are nutritious for rats, who like eating them -- a win-win for sure. Chop rat-friendly veggies and fruits into small and manageable pieces and offer them to your pet. Suitable options include melons, broccoli, peas, pears, bananas, apples, carrots and peaches.
Occasional treats are totally safe and appropriate for pet rats as long as they don't exceed 10 percent of your pet's diet, the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine says. Rats need rat pellet and mostly just that. Keep treat portions small; employ moderation at all times. Rats adore eating many "human food" items including cooked whole-wheat cooked pasta and whole-wheat bread, pizza crust, plain popcorn, chicken and egg. All of these items are fine in small portions for your rat.
Never offer your pet rat any food unless you are 100 percent certain of its safety. If you have questions, speak to your veterinarian beforehand. Many food items that are harmless to people are potentially very hazardous to rats, such as peanut butter, onions, corn, chocolate, yogurt drops, cookies and blue cheese. Keep those things far away from your rat. Always get your vet's approval before you bring anything new at all into your rat's diet. Caution is your friend!
- hamster image by Vasiliy Koval from Fotolia.com