Can Pet Rats Eat Apples – A Complete Guide


We all know apples are good for our health, but can fancy rats eat apples?

Just because a certain food is known to be good for humans, doesn’t always mean it’s good for our pets.

In this article, I’ll explore whether pet rats can eat apples and how much apple a rat can safely eat.

The answer might be a bit surprising because not all of an apple is quite as safe as you may have thought!

Apples are generally safe for rats to eat. Rats should not be fed the apple core as the flesh may be difficult to digest and apple seeds can be toxic in large enough amounts. You should never allow your pet rat to eat apple seeds.

Health Benefits of apples for rats

Before we move on to the potential risk of apples for ats, let’s first look at the health benefits.

There are plenty of them, so as long as you feed your pet rat apples in moderation, and avoid the cores and seeds (I’ll go into detail on those later in the article), then they can get plenty of great health benefits.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is the vitamin in carrots that your parents said would help you to see in the dark.

There’s actually a lot of truth in that, vitamin A does support good eyesight, and a vitamin A deficiency can result in ‘night blindness’.

It also helps to support a healthy immune system and is involved in the production and function of white blood cells. White blood cells help to capture bacteria and other pathogens in the bloodstream.

On top of that, vitamin A works along with vitamin D, protein and calcium to help maintain strong bones, allowing for proper growth and development.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps to protect the body against cell and tissue damage as well as aiding the body to better absorb iron.

It also helps to produce collagen, that’ll lead to more healthy skin and bones for your rat and aids with wound healing if your rat were to have an accident.

Fiber

Fiber is essential for healthy digestion. It has two categories, soluble and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber helps to control the blood sugar level of the body and aids in ridding the body of fatty substances such as cholesterol.

Insoluble fiber helps to keep the digestive system moving, it will add weight but also softens to your rat’s stools which in turn will help the digestive system to work effectively.

Calcium

This is quite often overlooked but apples actually contain a good amount of calcium.

That’s going to be great for your pet rat. Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth, as well as thick fur with that lovely shiny look.

In addition to that, calcium also helps to ensure the blood clots effectively and helps to regulate muscle contractions, that’s important for vital bodily functions such as ensuring a strong regular heartbeat.

Potassium

Potassium is great for helping to maintain a well functioning nervous system.

It also helps to regulate muscle and heart contractions as well as preventing high blood pressure.

Potassium has also been shown to support bone and muscle strength as the body ages.

Health risks of apples for rats

There are pretty much always health risks associated with eating too much of anything.

This is particularly true for fruit because it’s so easy to think that it can’t possibly be bad for your rat.

But it can be! Too much apple can have a negative effect on your pet rat and here’s why.

Excess sugar

Just like any fruit, the main reason your rat will love the taste of apples is because it’s sweet.

That sweetness comes from sugar, apples are natural sugar but in excessive amounts, it can still be harmful to your pet rat.

If your rat consumes too much sugar then they are probably going to start gaining weight, as the excess sugar is converted into fat.

That’s going to cause all sorts of problems, such as high blood pressure and cardiac stress, your rat will probably also become less active which will just add to the issues long term.

Excess fiber

Fiber is great for the digestive system, but too much fiber can start to cause digestive issues of its own.

An excess of fiber can block up the digestive system rather than helping to keep things moving. This can result in discomfort, constipation or diarrhea.

Digestive issues are never going to be nice for either your rat or you! Digestive issues will be even more of a risk if you feed your rat the apple core, which contains more fiber than the rest of the apple.

Can rats eat apple cores

Rats can eat apple cores but I would recommend not feeding apple cores to your rat.

Apple cores are tougher and harder to digest, your rat will be able to digest them, but it is far more beneficial to feed your rat parts of the surrounding apple, which that digestive system will much more easily be able to break down and extract all the nutrients from.

Your pet rat should be eating such small amounts of an apple anyway, that it doesn’t make much sense to give them the part that’s hardest to digest.

Can rats eat apple seeds

Apples seeds may be toxic to rats and they should not eat them.

Apple seeds contain a chemical called Amygdalin, this is converted into Cyanide once chewed and is actually quite a poisonous product.

Studies have shown that around two cups of ground-up apple seeds could be fatally toxic to a human.

Of course, that’s a lot of apple seeds! But remember that rats are also a lot smaller than you.

I haven’t found a study on apple seeds specifically for rats. But going off the human toxicity level above it may not take that many seeds to make your rat seriously ill.

There might be four or six apple seeds in an apple core if your rat ate all of them I think it would be a cause for serious concern.

You should not let your rat eat any apple seeds at all.

Can rats eat apple peel

Rats can eat apple peel. You do not have to peel an apple before giving it to your rat.

Apple peel is a great source of nutrients and actually contains far higher amounts of them than the rest of the apple.

An apple that still has its skin contains 332% more vitamin K, 142% more vitamin A, 115% more vitamin C, 20% more calcium and 19% more potassium than an apple which has been entirely peeled.

If you have access to them, the best apple peel is from natural apples that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides.

If you can’t get hold of these then just try to wash the apples as best you can before giving them to your rat.

How much apple can a pet rat eat

You should only feed apples to your rat in small qualities and infrequently.

They should not be considered part of their normal diet and should only be a treat.

I would recommend feeding no more than one apple slice to your rat per week.

That might seem a little stingy, but that’s like eating an apple the size of your head every week!

Personally, I think it’s best to slice the apple up into little manageable pieces that your rat can hold, here’s a video showing the ideal apple size to give your rat as a treat.

A final note – All rats are different

Rats are capable of eating most things, it’s one of their evolutionary perks.

But you should still remember that some rats will find certain food more difficult to stomach than other rats.

Some rats may struggle to digest certain foods, especially older rats.

Wherever feeding your rat a new food, including apples, always watch them for a day or so for any signs of digestive issues.

Digestive issues can be hard to spot in rats, but noticeable things could be diarrhea or a sharp reduction in activity levels.

If you notice any unusual symptoms or behavior it’s probably worth not feeding your rat apples again and trying a different treat, their stomach just might not agree with it.

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