Can Rats Eat Chocolate?
Can rats eat chocolate is a fairly common question that we receive, and it’s a good question to ask because it’s so important to know if something is safe to feed your rats before you give it to them.
Chocolate is non-toxic to rats and therefore you can definitely give rats chocolate.
The real question is how much chocolate you can give to rats…
How Chocolate Is Safe For Rats:
Since chocolate is non-toxic in rats it’s technically a safe food to give to them.
There are a few other things that make certain types of chocolate beneficial for rats, which means that giving it to them as a treat, as part of a well-rounded, balanced diet is a good idea.
- Chocolate is high in free-radical containing flavinoids.
- Chocolate contains phenyethylamine which has known anti-depressant and mood elevating effects.
- There are chemicals in chocolates that act as natural pain killers.
- Theophylline is found in chocolate, which is also used synthetically as a drug to treat bronchal issues in rats such as chest infections.
When it comes to choosing what chocolate to give to your rats you can give them anything that is as close to pure chocolate as possible.
Dark chocolate in particular is the better choice for rats, especially if you want to make use of the benefits listed above, such as helping your rats breathe if they’re having trouble doing so. This makes chocolate a great natural remedy to aide their breathing before getting to the vets to seek out proper medical treatment.
A Word Of Caution:
It’s good to be aware that not all chocolate is technically chocolate… White chocolate for example doesn’t technically count as chocolate due to it’s ingredients and composition, and foods that are labelled as ‘chocolate flavored’ are also not real chocolate.
Theophylline the chemical in chocolate that helps rats breathe is also a derivative for Aminophylline another common chemical used for treating bronchal issues in rats… This means that if your rats are already taking prescribed Theophylline or Aminophylline that you should take caution when giving rats chocolate due to their effects on the respiratory system.
Chocolate also has small amounts of caffeine in which should be kept to a minimum if your rats have any heart problems as this can act as a stimulant.
How Much Chocolate Can Rats Eat?
Even if your rat is otherwise perfectly healthy you should only consider giving them chocolate in moderation, minimizing how much you give them and how often they’re allowed it is important due to the high sugar and high fat content.
Chocolate is the kind of food that is better given to rats as a special treat maybe once a week or less regularly if your rat struggles with it’s weight already.
We recommend giving your rats no more than a pea sized chunk of chocolate.
Regular feeding of chocolate in rats can and most likely will lead to obesity which brings with it a lot of complications itself and of course obesity can eventually lead to death.
In short, rats can eat small quantities of chocolate in moderation and giving them chocolate now and again actually has numerous health benefits. Just be careful with looking for the best quality chocolate you can find and making sure you don’t give them too much!
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– Chocolate One Image Credit: flickr under the following attribution license.
– Chocolate Two Image Credit: flickr under the following attribution license.