The Best Rat Foods Compared (Updated 2017)
As owners of rats we all care deeply about our little critters well-being, health and happiness. So naturally we want to make sure they get the best of everything and this includes food!
We’ve tested and investigated the 5 best rat foods available on the market in 2016 that are both nutritious and delicious!
The Best Nutritious Rat Foods:
In this comparison post we’ve paid special attention to quality, taste, price, quantity and nutritional value.
Additionally we’re going to outline what you should look for when choosing food for your rats!
How To Choose The Right Rat Food:
When you’re looking for a nutritionally complete rat food you need to take into consideration the following:
Quality rat food is often found outside of regular pet-stores, generally you will want to look for rat food that comes in pellets or 'blocks'. This indicates that the food is lab formulated, and it also ensures that your rats are getting complete nutrition rather than picking and choosing their favorite bits.
It's hard to convince your rats to eat the nutritionally complete food if it doesn't taste good. As you can't taste the food yourself or know if they're going to like it in advance it's best to pay special attention to reviews. Additionally it's worth not buying too much at first, instead buy the smallest quantity available and be prepared to experiment.
The price of rat food depends on quality and quantity, however for an average bag of high quality rat food such as the ones we're comparing in this post, you should be looking at paying between $10 - $20 per bag. It's important to remember that you can still give your rats food to supplement their diets so this food can last a lot longer than it would if you fed them it alone, which isn't recommended anyway.
Quantity is an important factor when buying rat food. Nobody wants to pay $20 for food that is going to last a week. Also many of us can't realistically afford that kind of price. So when deciding on what rat food to buy, just try to get the best you can afford at the time that comes in a decent quantity.
Value for money is important to everyone. We want to know that we're getting our moneys worth, so when you're getting new rat food online then you should factor in how good the reviews are, the nutritional specifications, the quantity and of course the price. This will save you money by doing a little bit of research before you buy.
Nutrition For Rats 101:
Before we compare the foods we’ve researched and tested it’s a good idea for us to understand exactly what dietary needs a rat has.
Rats are omnivores which means they can eat both meat and plant life such as vegetables, fruits and salads.
In general rats need to eat around 6 times per day in order to fulfill their dietary needs and if a rat doesn’t eat for more than 6 hours they will have an empty stomach and effectively start starving.
Due to being omnivores, rats need a balanced and varied diet, while there are foods that aren’t suitable for rats they can still eat a wide range of foods.
Age, sex and whether or not your rat is pregnant can effect how much they need to eat and of what. – Source.
Similarly to humans it is not recommended that a diet high in sugars / carbohydrates be administered to rats. There’s a significant correlation between rats with diets high in simple carbohydrates and increased occurrence of tumors and cancers. Consequently, it is generally recommended that a diet that’s made up of complex carbohydrates, good protein and good healthy fats be given to rats.
Indeed rats are complicated creatures and this is why lab-grade food is recommended as the base of a rats diet, to be supplemented with other foods and healthy treats to ensure they’re getting all the minerals and vitamins they need in the ideal amounts.
Best Rat Foods Compared:
We’re only reviewing some of the best foods that we’ve personally used, if there’s a food you want us to take a look at then let us know in the comments!
Harlan Teklad Global Pellets:
Harlan Teklad rat food has been around for years and it’s well trusted and liked by many rat owners.
This vegetable-based rat food is formulated specially for growing, pregnant and nursing rats, but is still widely used by rat owners for their adult rats with no reported issues.
Our rats found this food to be delicious, however we personally didn’t think it was nutritionally sound enough for them once they reached adulthood as this is more suited to growing rats.
- Consistent quality between batches.
- Lab-Grade trusted brand that's been around for years.
- Rats seem to really enjoy this food.
- Optimal for growing, pregnant and nursing rats.
- Can be messy and crumbly.
- Poor packaging means alternate storage is needed once opened.
- Designed for growing, pregnant and nursing rats. Not adult rats.
Oxbow Regal Rat Food:
Oxbow Regal rat food is one of our favorite foods for rats because it’s extremely well balanced and nutritious!
It got a bad rep for it’s taste and even today people still believe this is true, but they actually re-formulated the flavor in 2011 and now there are few rats, bar the fussiest who turn this food away.
Since it has no artificial flavors, no artificial preservatives and no seeds (many seeds cause skin issues in rats) this makes the food one of the healthiest on the market. When lab-grade food is already so good it’s nice to see that brands are still looking for ways to make their food healthier.
- No seeds, sugary fruits or nuts.
- No artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.
- Corn free.
- Lab-grade food.
- Re-sealable bag.
- Great value & price.
- Not suitable for growing rats under 8 months.
- Isn't the best tasting on the market due to lack of artificial flavors.
- Not easy to get outside of North America.
Supreme Science Selective Rat Food:
Currently one of the best rat foods on the market due to it’s low-sugar, healthy heart promoting ingredients that are high in polyunsaturated fats and low in saturated fats, the selective rat food by Supreme Petfoods is a solid choice for adolescent and adult rats.
Widely available in the United Kingdom it’s our current rat food of choice for price, quality and quantity for those in the UK. It’s not as price friendly in the U.S. just as Regal isn’t as easy to attain or price friendly in the UK.
This food tastes great as all of our rats love it, it’s also supposed to help promote digestive health through the inclusion of minerals such as Zinc and Magnesium. Formulated for health this food is ticking a lot of the boxes and for overall nutritional value we think that only Regal Rat Food surpasses it.
- Promotes good heart health.
- Digestion friendly & digestive protection.
- Comes in pellets to prevent selective feeding.
- Low in sugars and no artificial color.
- Best processed rat food on the market.
- Processed / Not Lab-Grade.
- Not completely artificial flavor free.
- Not as easily available outside the UK for a good price.
Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Rat Food:
Normally we wouldn’t recommend something that is advertised as being for rats and mice, but this food by Kaytee is actually very good and deserves a spot on this comparison of best rat foods.
High in natural anti-oxidants, probiotic and prebiotic ingredients for stomach health and high in Omega-3 fatty acids for overall joint, eye, brain and coat health, it’s formulated really well however we recommend it only be fed to females in conjunction with another rat food.
The food contains corn and citric acid. The latter isn’t recommended for males and the former isn’t great in high quantities for any rats. However if you want to get the benefits of the other ingredients you couldn’t buy them all individually for the $8.99 price for a 5lb bag of this food.
- High in Omega-3 fatty acids
- High in natural anti-oxidants.
- Great value for money.
- Prevents selective eating.
- Mixed reviews about rats actually liking this food.
- Not as nutritionally complete as other brands.
- Contains corn which is not recommended for rats.
- Contains Citric Acid which is not ideal for male rats.
Mazuri Rat & Mouse Food:
This is another good budget food for rat owners on a budget. This food may not be as good as the top performers on this list, but it still beats most pet store foods hands down.
The main downsides to this food are that it contains corn, which as we stated earlier isn’t great in high quantities for rats. However if you’re mainly feeding your rats another base food or supplementing their diet really regularly it’s not a bad choice.
We’ve only given this a 3 out of 5 because while the price is good it’s not much cheaper than the Kaytee rat & mouse food, except it doesn’t boast the benefits of high anti-oxidants and so on.
- Good value for money.
- Rats seem to like it.
- Prevents selective feeding.
- Contains no nuts or seeds.
- Contains corn.
- Protein is slightly high for adult rats.
- Doesn't provide additional health benefits.
After having reviewed 5 of the best foods available for rats, it’s clear that the best of the bunch for adult rats is the Oxbow Regal Rat Food or if you’re in the UK then the best choice is the Selective Rat Food due to availability.
If you’re looking for food for young rats, expecting mothers or mothers that are feeding then the best choice is the Harlan Teklad Rat Food.
Also although the other foods in this review scored lower they can make good base foods for those on a budget if supplemented well with a balanced diet of veggies and lean protein sources.