Rats are becoming an exceedingly popular pet in American homes.  Nearly half a million people own pet rats in the United States (Source: Pet Rats). While they may not be a popular pet for most, those that own them care deeply for their health and well-being. This care includes the food their rat eats. 

Can rats eat yogurt? Yes, rats can eat low-fat yogurt in moderation. However, it is essential to provide a balanced diet that caters to your rat’s dietary needs and helps to prevent obesity.

While rats like cheese and dairy products, it is critical that their intake is monitored.  In this article, you will learn about how much yogurt a rat can have and other dairy products that can be supplemented.

Is Yogurt Okay for Rats?

It is okay to give yogurt to rats, but you must do so with moderation.  Just like anything, too much of a good thing can cause significant problems.  We tend to think of rats as devouring anything they encounter, like Templeton from Charlotte’s Web.  While this may be true for wild rats, it is not the case for pet rats.

Obesity can be deadly to rats and other rodents, so their food intake needs to be monitored closely. When you look for yogurt to feed rats, you need to be sure you focus on a low-fat option to ensure you are not providing excess fat unnecessarily. (Source: Brisbane Veterinary)

If you are unsure about the amount or type of yogurt to feed your rat, you can also purchase yogurt bites that will provide the same nutritional value with a safe amount of fat. 

Here are some excellent options that you can choose from:

·         eCOTRITION Yogies

·         Kaytee Yogurt Chips

These are not yogurt in the traditional sense, but they will likely be much more convenient and safer to give to your rat.

Can Rats Eat Vanilla Greek Yogurt?

It would not be advisable to give your rat vanilla-flavored yogurt simply because of the additives that help provide the flavor to the yogurt.  While rats can eat many things, there are certain chemicals and flavorings they are highly allergic to.

Another thing to factor into your decision is the amount of fat included in Greek yogurt.  Regular yogurt has 5 grams of fat, while Greek yogurt has 10 grams (Source: AARP).  If you are trying to focus on providing a healthy diet for your rat, Greek yogurt may not be the best to use.

Can Rats Eat Cheese?

The idea of rats eating cheese seems to make sense; however, it is crucial to limit the amount and type of cheese a rat consumes. Cheese is extremely high in fat, so it is something that needs to be limited or only used sparingly as a treat for your rat.  It is also essential to know that not all cheeses are created equally.

Please do not go to the store and grab the first cheese you see and think it will be okay for your rat.  When choosing cheese for your rat, you need to make sure it is made with goat or cow milk only.

The following chart details good and bad cheese choices for your rat:

Good Cheese Bad Cheese
Cheddar Colby Gouda Blue Cheese Mozzarella Feta

The above is not a comprehensive list of cheeses that are good and bad for rats; however, they are the cheeses most commonly found in homes. 

When introducing your rat to cheese, it is essential to do so slowly and carefully, as they can have lactose allergies. Evidence of allergies may not always be easy to see. Nonetheless, your rat could be suffering from low blood glucose levels, and you may notice a quick onset of diarrhea as well (Source: Science Direct)

What Can Rats Eat?

As a pet rat owner, you must know precisely what a rat can eat to live a long and healthy life. Because of this, you must plan your rat’s diet well. It must be balanced and nutritious with the appropriate amount given for each serving. 

A rat’s diet will consist of carbohydrates, fat, protein, fruits, and veggies.  Remember, a rat doesn’t need an excess amount of fat in their diet, so you must track their fat intake carefully, so you don’t create an obese pet (Source: Rat Club).

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates will make up most of your rat’s diet.  You can try to create your own carbohydrate mix to meet the needs of your rat, or you can purchase premade pellets that are specially fortified for rats.

Some premade pellets that are high in carbohydrates you can buy include:

·         Oxbow Rat Food

·         Kaytee Rat Food

·         Vitakraft

Fat: Remember, rats need fat in a minimal amount, so you need to be acutely aware of the amount they are consuming.  Some foods that can provide a healthy fat source are:

  • Avocado – NO SKIN!!! The skin can make a rat extremely ill.
  • Yogurt or Yogurt drops
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Eggs

It is not a good idea to include these high-fat foods in each meal for your rat, but they could be provided as occasional treats.

Protein: When offering protein, you also need to consider the fat content to make sure you are not providing too much fat to your rat. 

Some protein sources that can be given to your rat are:

  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Flax Seed
  • Beans (Butter and kidney)

Fruits and Vegetables: Even if you feed your rat exclusively with premade nutritional pellets, you must provide fruits and vegetables each day to help balance their diet.  When choosing fruits and vegetables, you need to use some caution.  Rats are not able to process all fruits and vegetables. 

Here are some fruits and vegetables your rat can enjoy safely:

  • Pears
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Melon
  • Apples – Make sure all seeds are removed.  An apple seed can be toxic to a rat.
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables
  • Pumpkin or squash

This list is not an extensive list of foods your rat may enjoy, but it is a good starting point when it comes to providing a well-rounded diet for your pet.  As with anything, you need to provide these foods in moderation, so your rat remains strong and healthy.

(Source: Pets on Mom and RSPCA)

Dangerous Foods for Rats

It may be hard to believe, but many foods are dangerous and even deadly to rats, so you must avoid exposure if possible.

Make sure to avoid feeding the following foods to your rat:

  • Mango
  • Red cabbage
  • Wild insects
  • Raw sweet potato
  • Rhubarb
  • Green bananas
  • Sticky foods like peanut butter

(Source: Rat Club)

Many other foods could be dangerous to rats, so it is vital to research before you begin feeding your rat.

Problems with apple seeds:  Rats love apples, but they cannot ingest any of the seeds.  Seeds contain toxins that can be lethal to the small body of a rat. To ensure the apple is safe to eat, it is best to core the apple before feeding it to the rat.

(Source: Understanding Pet Fancy Rats)

Final Thoughts

Rats can make remarkable pets if they are cared for and properly fed.  While yogurt is not a food that you can feed your rat often, it can be a sweet treat occasionally. 

If you ever notice your rat having an adverse reaction to any of the foods you are providing, you may need to seek the advice of a veterinarian.  Take the time to research the food you feed your rat and make sure it is a balanced diet.