A chew toy or a gnawing toy is probably the most important toy you can give your pet rat.
Rat’s need something to gnaw on, in the wild, they would gnaw on anything they could lay their teeth on, that’s one of the reasons why wild rats and mice can be a bit of a nuisance if they find their way into your house.
They will chew through wires, wood, in fact rats will pretty much chew through anything except metal.
In this article I’ll recommend some great little chew toys for your rat. I always had a chew toy in my pet rats cage and a decent one will last a good while.
My favorite chew toy for pet rats to gnaw on is the Pawliss Teeth Grinding Lava Block. It’s simple, a good size and is hard enough to last a while before your rats gnaw it all away. It’s the most practical gnawing block to ensure your rat’s teeth stay healthy.
In a hurry?
You can take a look at the Pawliss Teeth Grinding Lava Block on Amazon here.
If you’re interested in more recommendations for rat chew toys I’ve made another two below.
Why do pet rats gnaw
First of all, it’s important to know why rats are such obsessive gnawers.
In the wild rats (and other rodents) have to constantly chew hard objects. Whether it’s to make their own bedding or gnawing through hard foodstuff.
They have very powerful jaws relative to their size, which lets them tackle hard foods with ease.
A rat would have no problem gnawing through the shell of a coconut, for example, imagine that! we must be 100x larger than a rat but just imagine trying to bite through a coconut shell!
All that gnawing means their teeth grind down really fast if they just had a set row of teeth like us they would get grinded down to nubs in no time and the rat would starve to death.
Nature’s answer to this is to give rodents constantly growing teeth. No matter how much they grind them down they will always regrow.
What that means is that rats need to grind down their teeth or they would literally grow too large for their mouth, they may eventually even piece it, ouch!
In the wild they have so much access to things they can gnaw on that grinding them down is easy.
As a pet, eating relatively soft rat food, they have nothing to grind their teeth down on unless you give it to them. That could lead to some very serious problems.
So let’s look at what makes a good chew toy for a pet rat.
What makes a good rat gnawing toy
You can get a range of chew toys for rodents all of different hardness.
From my own experience of owning rats, they can easily handle a very hard chew toy.
Seriously, it sounds like they are gnawing on a solid rock when they are chewing them! But that is exactly what they need.
I always found that my rats needed a harder chew toy than my hamsters did, they also always seemed to really enjoy gnawing on it.
So my recommendation would be a super hard, relatively simple chew toy. You can get ones that hang from the top of the cage to make them more interesting, but I would also recommend just having a simple, large chew toy you can place on a level surface in their cage so they can easily gnaw whenever they need to.
Let’s have a look at some of my specific recommendations for pet rat gnawing toys.
Best Chew Toys For Rats To Grind Their Teeth
I’ve got three recommendations for toys your rat can gnaw on to grind their teeth down.
I’ve given a selection of toys, one for its practically and two for fun, so no matter what you’re after you should be able to find the one you need.
Personally, they are so inexpensive that I would recommend getting all three, keeping the Pawliss in your rats cage permanently and then rotating the other two as a bit of an interesting treat for them.
Pawliss Teeth Grinding Lava Block
Out of my three recommendations this one is the ‘work horse’.
This grinding block is larger than it looks in the photos, check out some of the customer photos on Amazon for a true depiction of the size.
They are rock solid and a fairly good size. You get six in a pack and it should take your rat a while to gnaw through a whole block so they’ll last a while.
I would recommend having one of these in your rat’s cage permanently. That’ll give them something to gnaw on at all times and means there will be very little chance of your rat developing any issues related to overgrown teeth.
I had used a pretty similar product for my rats (unfortunately they don’t seem to make it anymore), and they loved it.
It’s not the most fun product on this list but I think it’s the best one to ensure your rat can easily maintain its teeth.
You can take a look at the Pawliss Teeth Grinding Lava Block on Amazon here
Fruit Shaped Lava Teeth Grinders
These aren’t as large as the Pawliss product I recommended above but they are more suitable for adding a little extra fun to your rat’s cage.
It’s also made of lava stone so it’s going to do a great job of grinding down your rat’s teeth and they shouldn’t be able to gnaw it away too fast.
There are 5 fruit shapes that are certainly more attractive than the grey square shape of the practical Pawbliss toy.
But the main feature, from your rat’s point of view, is that they can be tied to the cage.
That lets you place them in all different locations, making them more of a challenge for your rat and helping to keep them mentally stimulated.
Rats need a lot of mental stimulation, far more than other rodent pets, so additions like this are great.
I’d still recommend getting my first choice Pawliss toy too as gnawing is so important that you don’t want to always make it a challenge for your rats to do it. Sometimes they just need to be able to gnaw easily.
But to add a bit of excitement to their day this is a great choice.
You can take a look at the Fruit Shaped Lava Teeth Grinders on Amazon here
Kaytee Lava Ledge
Another fun gnawing toy is this lava ledge.
It can be attached onto the cage either horizontally or vertically.
If you put it horizontally on the side of the cage it also acts as a ledge that your rats will be able to climb onto.
They will certainly have lots of fun grinding their teeth on this and it’s a good size too, it should take a while to gnaw it down.
One thing to note is that rats are really quite strong. From what I can see on the customer review your rat will probably be able to remove the lava stone from the latch before they are finished chewing it.
I don’t really see this as a problem though, if they’re anything like mine your rats will probably quite enjoy the destruction!
If the lava stone does come off the older you can still leave it in their cage for your rats to gnaw away on, so it doesn’t really matter.
You can take a look at the Kaytee Lava Ledge on Amazon here
Are chew sticks good for pet rats
Your pet rat will certainly enjoy a chew stick, but they aren’t the best chew toy for actually maintaining their teeth.
An adult rat will easily gnaw through a whole chew stick in one afternoon and I just don’t think they’re the best product for constant tooth maintenance.
They can be great as a treat, but I prefer having a rock-solid chew toy permanently in the cage as well so your rats always have a hard surface to grind their teeth on when they need to.