Pet Sort-Out


Can My Pet Rat Have Baby Food? [Avoid These Foods]

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Proper nutrition is the basis of all healthy lives. The statement goes true even for your pet rat. Providing your pet rat with healthy, nutritious food is important for them to build a strong immune system to fight diseases in the future. 

But in that context, if the question is whether your pet rat can have baby food or not then scientifically the answer will be, NO! your pet rats can not have baby foods all the time. Baby foods do not contain enough nutrition to support your pet rats’ healthy living. Moreover, the high content of salt, sugar, and refined nutrition is not good for the fragile body metabolism of rats.

In this article below, we will have an in-depth discussion on why human baby food is not appropriate for your rat baby. Also, we will learn about food habits, balanced diets, and safe food choices that you can offer your pet. 

Is Baby Food Ideal For Pet Rats? 

You can treat your little rat baby with store-bought baby food occasionally. Rats love anything sweet to nibble on. However, this does not necessarily mean baby food is safe for their health!

It is our responsibility as pet parents to make sure of their healthy eating habits. If you want to treat your fur baby with some store-bought human baby food, I suggest picking up some organic yummies from the rack.

Many pet rat owners across the globe have chosen baby food for rats as small treats and not as a mainstream source of nutrition. Many foods that are totally healthy and delicious for us humans are proven toxic for rats.

Blue cheese, green potato, chocolates, and raw beans are some human foods that should be strictly avoided for pet rats.

An orphaned or rejected rat baby can, however, be given cow milk or baby milk formulas during the initial stages.

Feeding a rat is simple if you know what nutritious food to offer. However, the answer behind the ideal-ness of baby food for rats lies behind a little bit of complex human and rat anatomy. 

There are reports that not all human food is safe, healthy, and nutritious to help rats build a strong immune system. Home-cooked food with rich protein content helps rats seek the inner strength to fight common diseases like tumors, liver, lung dysfunction, and other respiratory diseases. 

Settling for baby foods and wrong nutrition can even cost your pet babies their lives. I suggest having a thorough understanding of the medical aspect of why baby food is not suitable for your beloved fur babies.

Why Baby Food Is Not Ideal For Pet Rats?

Rats have a lot of physical and anatomical similarities with human babies. The digestive system in rats is similar to humans. It starts from the mouth and is very crucial for proper digestion for food and healthy being. 

The digestive system helps transform food into valuable nutrients for our bodies. The digestive tract in rats is lined with small digestive glands that secrete juices contributing to the easy digestion of food. Humans and rats match all these levels of digestion. However, this does not make human baby food ideal for rat consumption.

Also, human beings and rats are both omnivorous animals, consuming all fruits, vegetables, and flesh. These make some pet parents consider that rats are qualified to have human baby food. This is exactly when rat parents push their beloved fur babies towards health hazards unintentionally!

Though there are a few similarities between humans and rats, only an in-depth study of rat anatomy will paint a completely different picture. Understand that all organs in animal bodies are designed to perform different actions to support the food digestion process. 

The gallbladder in humans helps in the easy breaking down of fatty foods. Rats on the other hand have no gallbladder included in their digestive system. Rats are small rodents who do not usually consume large quantities of fatty foods as a part of their daily diet. 

Thus, eating enriched fat full fruits, dairy, meat or human baby foods can lead to excess fat accumulation in the rat body. Uncontrolled eating in rats thus makes them obese early in life, sprouting other deadly diseases as well.

The large intestines in rats are rather more enlarged as compared to humans. Also known as the cecum, the large intestine in rats is designed to ferment grains, cereals, and seeds that are a predominant part of a healthy rat diet. The elongated large intestine is designed to soak in useful nutrients from the insoluble fibers easily.

As responsible pet rat parents, we have to understand that the physical and dietary needs of both humans and rats are different. Though rats will and are able to nibble or eat any food you offer them, the same can be toxic for their body and overall health. [Source: Hindawi Clinical Journal]

However, there are several human foods that you can easily offer your pet rats in healthy and limited quantities. Read on to know more about the same!

What Human Baby Food Can You Feed Your Pet Rats For Ample Nutrition?

Understanding the healthy food habits of our pets can help us identify foods that can be offered to them. It has become easy to select one brand of readymade food, with a rising number of pet care stores all around the globe. 

These rat foods are highly laden with sugar, salt, and other refined nutrients that can be unhealthy if continued in the long run. Also, our beloved pet rat babies always have a plethora of flavors and nutritions readily available. 

This excessive food supply and unconscious eating patterns are deadly as it may affect their digestive system. Many reports have shown that pet rats get obese as soon as twelve months. Thus, it is utterly crucial to develop healthy and homemade food habits from a young age.

Below listed are the regular human food that is absolutely safe and healthy for your pet rat babies:

FruitsApple, apricots, avocados, bananas, pear, watermelon, grapes, kiwi, blackberries, blueberries, corn, cucumber, papaya, butternut squash, tomato, plums, strawberries, pomegranates (If your pet rat rejects any fruit, do not force-feed them). 
VegetablesKale, celery, mint, basil, cooked green beans, boiled sweet corn, cauliflower, potatoes (strictly avoid green potatoes), broccoli, collard greens, carrots, beetroot, spinach, sweet peas, zucchini, pumpkin, spinach.  
TreatsStore-bought baby food (occasionally), unsalted plain popcorn, whole wheat pasta, semolina, dry oats.
MeatShredded boiled chicken, small pieces of cooked meat, beef, pork, cooked fish.
DairyMilk, Yogurt, butter, cheese like cheddar, elby, gouda, gruyere (Please avoid any other cheese for your pet rats).
NutsCashew nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts. 
Whole-grain foodsBread, cooked rice, whole grain boiled pasta, whole grain crackers, biscuits.

Fruits, veggies, and meat act as important food sources for pet rats to help them build a strong immunity system. However, it is important to keep in mind that all the food you offer to rats must be chopped into small cubes for easy consumption.

Unsafe Human Food For Your Pet Rats

Our beloved fur babies love to eat and nibble on food. Give them vegetable peels and frozen treats on hot sunny days and watch them enjoying small organic treats. However, these little curious explorers can consume human foods that are toxic for rat health.

The list below covers all food that you should strictly avoid for your pet furry babies. 

  • Chocolate, 
  • Raw sweet potato
  • Raw corn
  • Raw beans
  • Cabbage
  • Poppy seeds
  • Onions
  • Cabbage and Brussel sprouts.
  • Lemon (any citrus fruit)
  • Carbonated drinks, liquor.
  • Avocado skin( better to offer only peeled fruits and vegetables)
  • Blue cheese, cottage cheese, gorgonzola, ricotta, mozzarella, stilton, brie, feta (Soft, strong cheeses are to be avoided).
  • Wild insects and raw meat.
  • Avoid any junk food, caffeinated drinks that you are consuming.

Any of the above-mentioned foods can be very toxic for your pet baby. We advise you to be careful and keep a close eye on any human baby food that you offer to your pet rat.

An Omnivorous Balanced Diet For Pet Rats

Rats are nocturnal rodents and no wonder they make great pets. Drawing a basic picture of wild rats, it is clear that they feed on a wide palate of food and flavors. Ranging from vegetables, seeds, grains, and animal proteins occasionally. These eating habits make them omnivorous in nature.

The wild rat diet works as a basic graph of our fancy pet rat diets. However, it is important to change all foods into healthier versions to avoid common rat diseases like early obesity, tumors, and respiratory infections. Controlling the calorie intake and stimulating activities also become crucial parts of healthy pet rat growth. [Source: Pet Care Veterinary Hospital]

In the points below I have drawn a detailed outline of a balanced pet rat diet. This also includes food habits many human babies may adopt. I encourage having a detailed read to understand rat specific dietary needs and how you as a responsible pet parent can help them attain the same. 

  •   The Foundation of Pet Rat Diet:

Fortified foods contribute to setting up a strong base of the pet rat diet. Specifically, these fortified foods are readily available foods that add up extra much-needed nutrients to our fur babies. 

You may pick this basic source of nutrition from the shelves of most pet food stores. However, this is where your work as a responsible rat parent begins! Keep a close eye on the guaranteed amounts of macro and micronutrients that fortified foods provide.

Start with checking the macronutrients like proteins, fats, vitamins, and fiber content mentioned on the back label. Many pet rat parents only check the first few nutrients and leave the rest. Certainly, here is where you are neglecting your rat baby’s health.

It is important to have a thorough read on the listed nutrients and their percentage in the food pack. Understanding the nutritional value of store-bought fortified food for pet rats will help you feed them a healthy palate of nutrition in the long run. I recommend reading all the nutrients carefully to ensure balanced nutrition for our furry babies. 

  •  The Fiber Factor:

As I mentioned earlier, rats are considered omnivorous in nature, most pet parents consider protein and fats to be the main source of nutrients. Fiber nutrients are often neglected in the process. However, fiber brings its own set of health contributions when consumed.

There are two main types of fiber that are an important nutrition source for pet rats. Soluble and insoluble fibers. 

Soluble Fibers: To begin with, soluble fibers come from food like oats, flaxseeds, carrots, beetroot, barley grain, etc. No doubt that your pet rat will love these foods when offered. Experiments and pet parents who tried giving these fibrous foods to their pet babies have reported better excretion quality, improved colon health, and cholesterol reduction. 

Soluble fibers when consumed in appropriate quantities create a thick gel in the stomach. This gel formation of food creates a fuller appetite feeling and saves rats from overeating

Insoluble Fibers: Insoluble fibers come from food sources like hay, wheatgrass, bran, cereal husk. The insoluble fibers do not absorb water and pass through the rat intestine almost unchanged. However, insoluble fiber sources help rodent pets with improved gut health, insulin production, and balance excess weight gain. 

It is important for pet parents to understand the importance of both fibrous nutrients. A mix of these two can be of great help to pet rats. Thus, selecting the right fortified food will help fulfill all nutritional requirements of our omnivorous pet friends.

  •  Food supplements:

As omnivorous species, rats have a tendency to nibble on all possible food sources. This includes rich proteins and fats. If the intake of these rich sources is not controlled, obesity is inevitable. 

Vegetables, fruits, and homemade diets should thus be a predominant source of nutrition for your pet babies. The table below will help you understand the quantity and major food sources for your rats.

Nutrition:Quantity:Food Source:
Fats2-3 times a week only (half teaspoon).Unsalted nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, pecans, pistachios, avocado, cashew nuts.
Proteins2-3 times a week only (one tablespoon).Mealworms, hard-boiled eggs, cooked shredded chicken, cooked beans, cooked meat.
Fruits 2-3 times a week only (less than one tablespoon).Apples, Bananas, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, grapes. (all fruits are mentioned in the previous table)
GrainsEveryday.1-2 TablespoonCooked rice, bread, and wholewheat pasta.
VeggieEveryday.1-2 TablespoonPotatoes, celery, kale, tomato, cauliflower, pumpkin, etc,(all fruits are mentioned in the previous table)

Proper care when accompanied by healthy food intake will help keep your pet rats at the best of their health. Choose better as pet parents and your fur babies will thank you!

Nourishment makes a strong contributing factor to all animals be it human babies or rats. Though there are many similarities between a rat with a human baby, the dietary needs are different in both. 

A human baby can not make up for all the necessary nutritional requirements for a healthy pet rat. It is thus important to select the right, healthy and nutritious homemade food for our little fur babies