Rat Feeding Guide

Rats are omnivores – which means they’ll eat almost anything. Not that you should let them!

Pet rats need a range of essential amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals from their diet that they cannot produce themselves. That’s why you should choose specially designed food for rats.

Never feed them food intended for rabbits, guinea pigs or hamsters as these formulas won’t meet your rats’ nutritional needs.

These super smart rodents can also be selective feeders – for example, with muesli-style food, they’re likely to just pick out the bits they fancy and leave the rest. This puts them at risk of not getting all the nutrients they need. The way to overcome this is to feed them an all-in-one complete nugget rat food that contains everything they need in each tasty mouthful.

What should a rat's diet consist of?

Your pet rats’ diet should include:

  • Nutrition-packed nuggets that are especially designed for pet rats. As well as helping to support a healthy skin and glossy coat, they contain antioxidants to support a healthy immune system and prebiotics to help maintain healthy digestion and essential vitamins.
  • Fresh water – water bottles with a metal spout are ideal. Without water, rats become seriously ill, so refill twice daily to ensure your pets are never thirsty.
  • Some rat-safe fresh food, such as small amounts of fruit, vegetables, cooked egg, grains and seeds.

What fruits and vegetables can rats eat?

As all rats are individuals, each of your rats’ favourite food may be something different. To find out who likes what, along with their rat nuggets, supplement their daily diet with small amounts of safe fruit and vegetables, a little cooked egg, or a couple of pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

The RSPCA advises including these as part of their daily food allowance. Feeding fruits and vegetables in addition to their usual food could cause obesity or other health issues.

Safe vegetables and herbs for rats include:

  • Carrot
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Chicory
  • Sweet peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Cress
  • Courgette
  • Peas
  • Basil
  • Sage
  • Parsley
  • Coriander

Quick tip

Rats require lots of exercise and stimulation and will love to explore so housing them in a large cage is important.
Product image for Excel Rat Nuggets

Excel Rat Nuggets

from £9.49

What foods should rats avoid?

Steer clear of anything sugary or high in fat, such as dairy products (particularly blue cheese as the mould is toxic to rats). There are a number of foods that are poisonous to rats, or can cause health or digestive issues, including:

  • Rat muesli – muesli-based food for rats encourage selective feeding, where rats pick out the bits they like and discard the rest, meaning they won’t get the nutrition they need.
  • Chocolate– as well as being high in sugar, chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to rats.
  • Certain fruit– citrus fruits, mango, rhubarb, grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants are all toxic to rats.
  • Certain vegetables– including lettuce, onion, avocado and uncooked sweet potato.
  • Certain nuts – including walnuts and peanuts.

If you’re unsure whether something’s safe for your rats to eat, it’s best avoided.

Rat feeding plan

How much rat food should i feed?

Rats easily gain weight so follow the on-pack feeding guidelines to make sure you aren’t giving them too much. You should aim to feed between 15g to 25g a day, per rat, depending on their size and activity levels.

Rats feed mainly at dawn and dusk, so feed your pet rats twice a day – in the morning and evening.

How to feed rat food

Choose open ceramic bowls for your pets’ rat food as metal creates ultrasound noise. This allows them to carry food and handle or eat it wherever they want – rats enjoy holding and manipulating food in their paws.

To encourage natural foraging behaviour and to keep those smart little ratty brains active, try scattering your rats’ favourite food around their accommodation. Hide some in an old rolled up sock, paper bag or cardboard tube, or push some into a pinecone.

Why choose Burgess Excel for your rat food?

Burgess Excel Rat Nuggets are a complete, balanced food for rats and they provide all the right nutrients, including prebiotics and antioxidants, for optimum health and happiness.

What’s more, our rat food is made at our very own factory in the heart of Yorkshire, via thermal extrusion, using the only the best-quality ingredients. So, you can be sure your pet rats are getting exactly what they need from their diet.

We deliver across mainland UK and you’ll get free delivery if you spend over £25.

cta banner 02 rat


Transitioning to Burgess Excel nuggets

Transition your guinea pigs’ diet over a period of 14 – 28 days. Gradually reduce their old food and replace it with Excel.
transition excel

Do you need more advice?

If you’re at all unsure about the best way of feeding your pet rats or have any concerns about specific nutritional requirements, ask your local veterinary practice for advice. You can also call our expert team, available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, on +44 (0)1405 862241 who’ll be happy to help. Alternatively, use our online contact form to get in touch.

Are your pet rats Burgess rats? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.