An addition to the family in the form of a pet can mean a lot of things. Yes, there are the aspects that’ll bring you endless joy. All the cuddles, laughs and playful moments will certainly always take up a place in your heart. But, keeping and nurturing a pet also signifies responsibility.
It makes sense any pet guardians would be concerned about the food they feed their animals. After all, you can keep your pet healthier for longer, happier, and free-of-illnesses by the diet you offer them.
So, can rats have peanut butter? Technically, rats can eat small amounts of peanut butter. However, peanuts can negatively affect your rat’s vitamin A levels, which can be harmful to their digestive system. If you do feed peanut butter to them as an occasional snack, make sure it is pure, organic, unsalted, and unsweetened.
Let’s talk a bit more about why this is the case and what you can do to make sure your rat lives a long, happy, and healthy life!
Why Is Peanut Butter Bad For Rats?
Your furry friend isn’t going to fall ill immediately from a few nibbles at a tiny serving of peanut butter. It’s not fatal instantly. But, yes, peanut butter consists of many ingredients that are bad for your small companions in the long run.
The most fundamental component of peanut butter is, of course, peanuts. And, recent studies have shown that peanuts contain compounds that severely affect the vitamin A levels in a rat’s body. These compounds weaken a rat’s ability to digest protein and other nutrients in its body.
Furthermore, peanuts have anti-nutrients that harm the digestive system of rats. And, rats are particularly susceptible to the fungi that grow on most grains, such as corn or peanuts.
It is a well-known fact that excessive salt can cause multiple health problems in humans. Now, when you consider the size of your little friend, you must surely realize that even a meager amount of salt is going to affect their body significantly. Salt directly impacts kidney function. Also, continued consumption of peanut butter for long durations can very well spell the demise of your fur baby.
Another insight into salt intake is that extra salt in the body leads to a condition known as salt poisoning or salt ion intoxication. And, salt poisoning is reported in practically all known species of animals in the world.
Sugar is the world’s number one contributor to high blood pressure and obesity in humans. And, it has pretty much the same effect on rats. The only defining difference is that it will hurt your pet rat far more and much sooner than it will start to damage your own health.
4. Hydrogenated Oils
Most well-known brands of peanut butter make use of hydrogenated oils to bind the ingredients together. Now, hydrogenated oil isn’t something that your pet rat’s digestive system can easily digest.
The energy that it takes for a rat’s body to digest these stubborn fats actually is detrimental for your rat’s body. Their internal temperature and blood pressure reach high degrees to be able to ingest such unknown elements.
Also, when the body does manage to digest it, there is very little good that comes of it. The extra fat is stored in the system, subjecting your rat to obesity and a host of other illnesses that can come with it.
What Kind Of Peanut Butter Can Rats Eat?
Many well-liked brands of peanut butter provide two general options to their consumers. Creamy peanut butter is where you get smooth and silky peanut butter with no peanut chunks.
Chunky peanut butter consists of larger chunks of peanuts that make the butter nuggety and thick. But, both the creamy and chunky peanut butter versions have similar ingredients when it comes to generic brands.
The only safe option for you to go with when it comes to rats is an A-grade, sodium-free, organic peanut butter. And, that too is something that should be offered to your pet rat in minimal quantities.
Can Rats Eat Other Kinds Of Peanuts?
Rats can eat almost anything you feed them, including all other kinds of peanuts. But, rats aren’t discerning eaters. The more appropriate question to ask is whether or not your rat should eat peanuts. Here are the most common types of peanuts and whether or not your rat can stomach them.
Roasted peanuts: These peanuts have been fried and seasoned and are loaded with fats, salt, and other ingredients that aren’t healthy for rats.
Flavored peanuts: Many international brands offer a wide range of flavored peanuts. These nuts are often flavored using different ingredients such as additives, preservatives, and colorings that are pretty damaging even for the human digestive system. So, flavored peanuts are a definite no-no for your pet critter too.
Peanut snack bars: These are chocolate bars that have a base of peanuts. Now, chocolate is toxic for most animals, including rats. Furthermore, these snack bars are laden with sugar and other additives that are harmful to your rat’s well-being.
As mentioned earlier, peanuts have compounds that are seriously unsafe for rats. Hence, peanuts aren’t a food item that any animal food expert would recommend to introduce to your pet’s diet.
What Is Safe For Rats To Eat?
There are hundreds of options for you to feed your rat that are so much healthier and tastier than peanut butter. Store-bought A-grade rat food or pellets (such as this brand) should always be the main part of your rat’s diet. These rat pellets are specially formulated to provide all the vitamins and minerals that your rat needs to function effectively.
Now, rat pellets should not make 100% of our rat’s diet either. You can feed your fur baby fruits, vegetables, meats, grains, and seeds. Fruits such as apples, bananas, pears, and melons are safe and healthy choices.
When it comes to greens, you can go for carrots, broccoli, squash, corn, and asparagus to provide plenty of variety in your rat’s meals. And, seeds such as chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and even quinoa are healthy choices for your pet. Rats are omnivores, so they enjoy eating anything from certain meats and insects to fruits and veggies.
The only thing that you have to remember when it comes to the diet of your pet rat is that if a food item has ill effects on the human body, then in no universe will it be suitable for your rat. So, all junk food, candies, carbonated drinks, or chocolate fall under the ‘not-to-feed’ list for your pet rodent. Citrus fruits, caffeine, and underground vegetables such as raw potatoes, raw sweet potatoes, and even rhubarb aren’t good for your pet.
Furthermore, if you have done your research right and intend to introduce a new food item to your pet’s meal, it is always a good idea to take things slow. You should start with just a few nibbles and keep a close eye on your pet to see how well they adjust to the change.
And, the best thing that you can do for your pet is to seek the advice of a local vet. Your pet does need to have regular medical check-ups, and when you are there, you can always take advice from your vet on foods that would be healthy for your tiny fur babies.
Are Rats Allergic To Peanut Butter?
No, rats aren’t allergic to peanut butter. Most rat traps use peanut butter because they seem to enjoy eating peanut butter. However, if you’re planning on catching or killing a rat in a trap, you’re likely not concerned with its long term wellbeing.
Keeping your pet away from certain food items isn’t depriving them of a meaningful life. Rats don’t live long lives in the wild, as their lifespans are usually 2-3 years. And, the only way for you to add longevity to their life is by ensuring that they eat right and stay fit.
Now, there’s no denying that rats make fascinating pets and can be the life of the party. Yet, it is essential to ensure that you closely monitor everything that your pet rat eats to keep it healthy. A bit of exercise and tons of love will certainly go a long way in making your pet companion healthier and happier.
Up Next: Can Rats Have Strawberries?