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Can Rats Eat Raisins? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Raisins are tasty and relatively healthy snacks for us humans, and we know our pet rats enjoy sweet fruits in their diet. As pet owners, we understand that animals can’t always enjoy the foods we do, for a variety of reasons. But can our pet rats eat raisins? The short answer is, yes! 

There are some things to consider before feeding your rat raisins, though. Raisins have a very thick, gooey texture and it may be difficult for your rat to chew. We want to avoid the choking hazard they present so it’s best to cut them up into very tiny pieces to make them easy to eat.

Another thing to keep in mind when feeding your rat raisins is that they are pretty high in sugar, and you don’t want your rat consuming heavy amounts of sugar, even if it’s natural. They have sensitive stomachs, and an overload of sweetness isn’t good for their health. So as a rule, it’s best to feed them raisins sparingly, no more than once per week. Otherwise, raisins are rich in magnesium and potassium and make for a great source of antioxidants.

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What Does a Rat’s Diet Consist of?

It’s no secret that in the wild rats will eat just about anything they come across. They have shorter lifespans in the wild due to this reason. They tend to eat very unhealthily as they rummage through human garbage and eat as much as they can. They’ll also unknowingly eat poisons set out by humans simply because it tastes good.

Pet rats generally live longer thanks to their human companions that keep their best interests at heart. Most rat owners do their research and understand what kind of diet to feed their rats to ensure their overall health and well-being. What does that diet look like?

Rats need 80% to 90% of their diet to consist of high-quality pellet mix formulated for rats. Another 10% to 20% of their diet should be fresh fruits and vegetables. Rats are omnivores, so they can be given occasional treats such as meat, certain nuts, and seeds. Like raisins, these foods should be fed sparingly due to being high in calories and fat.

Mouse eating mixed nuts
Image Credit: Nature_Blossom, Pixabay

What Fresh Fruits Are Safe to Feed Rats?

Knowing that raisins are safe but best in moderation, you may be wondering what other fruits you can implement into your rat’s diet. Remember, only 10% to 20% of your rat’s diet should be fruits and vegetables, so these fruits won’t make up a large portion of their diet. We’ve compiled a list of safe fruits below:

  • Banana
  • Blackberries
  • Blackcurrant
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Coconut
  • Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Dragon Fruit
  • Elderberries
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi
  • Mulberry
  • Nectarines
  • Olives
  • Papaya
  • Passion fruit
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
rat eating strawberries
Image Credit: Grace800, Shutterstock

What Fresh Vegetables Are Safe to Feed Rats?

Now that you’re familiar with some of the fresh fruit options to implement into your rat’s diet, here is a list of fresh vegetables that can be included:

  • Asparagus
  • Bell Peppers
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Parsnip
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Turnip
  • Zucchini
Rat eating cabbage
_Image Credit: Iuliia Ryba, Shutterstock

What Foods Shouldn’t I Feed My Rat?

It’s important to know what kind of foods you need to avoid when feeding your pet rat. We’ve put together a list of foods that are either best avoided entirely or should be fed very sparingly.

  • Artichoke (avoid, rats cannot digest)
  • Alfalfa (avoid, rats cannot digest)
  • Beans (raw beans will deplete vitamin A and destroy digestive enzymes in rats)
  • Beets (high in oxalic acid, can cause kidney stones, calcium deficiency, and other health issues)
  • Bread (feed sparingly and in small amounts)
  • Brussel Sprouts (avoid, causes vitamin B1 deficiency in rats)
  • Caffeine (avoid)
  • Candy (avoid, high in sugar)
  • Chocolate (avoid, contains high sugar and caffeine)
  • Red Cabbage (avoid, causes vitamin B1 deficiency in rats)
  • Iceberg Lettuce (high in water content, no nutritional value)
  • Leeks (avoid, choking hazard that can cause upset stomach)
  • Onions (avoid, can cause anemia, and upset stomach)
  • Peanuts (avoid, can destroy digestive enzymes and deplete vitamin A)
  • Spinach (feed sparingly, if at all, high in oxalic acid, can cause kidney stones, calcium deficiency, and other health issues)
  • Rhubarb (high in oxalic acid, can cause kidney stones, calcium deficiency, and other health issues)
  • Swiss Chard (high in oxalic acid, can cause kidney stones, calcium deficiency, and other health issues)
pet rat eating mango
Image Credit: jarleeknes, Pixabay

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Conclusion

Rats can most definitely eat raisins but it’s best to offer them sparingly due to the high sugar content in this tasty treat. You need to cut the raisin into very small pieces due to the thick texture. This will help prevent the raisin from being a choking hazard to your rat. Overall, they are healthy and rich in vitamins and nutrients.

Pet rats rely on their owners to ensure they are fed a high-quality, nutrient-dense diet for the sake of their health. They may have shorter lifespans than your average pet, but you can help them reach their maximum life expectancy by knowing what diet is best for them.


Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.