Typically, dog food might not be appropriate for rats. However, some dog kibble are fine for nursing mothers and baby rats, as it aids baby growth, and helps mom renew strength while nursing.
I have also discovered that adults do great on light dog foods (for overweight or senior dogs).
The best dog for rats brand that I have encountered is Nutro’s Natural Choice Lite, that has low protein composition (14%) and is lamb- and rice-based (not corn). Generally speaking, the protein content of a rat’s diet should not be more than 25%. Below 18% is best for adult males. Some rats are more sensitive to protein than others.
Note: Avoid feeding rats/mice dog puppy food; this is way too rich in meaty proteins.
Seed mixes formulated for parrots and rats are fine as supplement to the staple diet, but should not be the base/sole diet. These mixes often contain things that go to waste, like tiny seeds and alfalfa pellets. They also do not supply full nutrition, and contain many nuts and seeds that are high in fat, which can cause protein issues and obesity (where the rat becomes itchy, and scabs will develop).
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Best Dog Food for Rats
If you’re already feeding a good lab block as a base, it’s not compulsory you feed dog food, but if you must, I recommend going for a high quality senior mix. Personally speaking, you want a canine food with less than 18% protein and as low a fat as possible.
I feed mine a mix of Nutro’s Natural Choice Lite dog food, Oxbow Maintenance (when available) and a homemade grain mix.
Top Dog food for rats include:
Solid Gold Holistique – CHECK ON AMAZON
Wellness – CHECK ON AMAZON
Natural Balance – SEE ON AMAZON
Innova senior – CHECK ON AMAZON
These are the dog food for mice/rats I would advise when you want to do the dog food/grain mix thing.
Note: Go for high quality dog food and avoid low quality ones. Low quality dog foods contain more fillers and grains, those fillers/grains are not necessarily ones that are best for rats. You run the risk of meat byproducts, wheat middlings, corn, alfalfa and ethoxyquin amongst other things.
Even if you want to go low, avoid going too low quality as that could be a problem.
Remember, rats in most cases do not eat meat. Meanwhile meat is a primary ingredient in some dog food. The more meat they get the stronger the smell of their poop is, and the higher they can get skin problems and some dyes can kill them.
In most cases, the cheapest food for canine is the best dog food for rats.
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Alternatively, You can use a product called “Doggie Bag” from Tractor Supply and Amazon. It has no meat, all grain and bone meal based – a great amount of protein and vitamins at 16% so was perfect for rats. You can get 50lbs for $10.
Basically you need to read the bag. To make an even better food for rats, you should combine many products to make your own well balanced feed.
Hope this helps. Cheers!