It’s always nice to treat our pet rats, commonly known as fancy rats.
What isn’t always easy is knowing whether there are things we should and shouldn’t be feeding them.
Many foods that are found for humans to eat can be harmful to animals, some everyday foods can even be toxic.
In this article I’ll talk about whether our fancy rats can eat grapes, whether there are any health benefits from eating grapes for rats and how many grapes pet rats can eat.
Pet rats can eat grapes. They can be a healthy addition to their diet but there are also risks if fancy rats eat too many grapes. Grapes can have negative effects on the health of your pet rat if given in excess, therefore they should only be given in small quantities as an occasional treat.
Although grapes are known to be toxic to some animals, such as dogs, they are not known to be toxic to rats. They also have some great health benefits so let’s look at that next.
The benefits of grapes for pet rats
Grapes, just like many fruits, have fantastic health benefits for rats.
Let’s run through some of the key nutrients packed into grapes and why they are good for the health of your fancy rat.
This vitamin is an antioxidant. That means it helps to protect the body from free radicals.
Free radicals are atoms that attach themselves to cells in the body. The body’s immune system then treats the cell as an invader and destroys it.
Long term this can help to reduce inflammation and cognitive ageing.
This is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with blood clotting. It also aids bone metabolism and supports the regulation of blood calcium levels.
This B vitamin is responsible for glucose generation as well as supporting the proper function of red blood cells, the nervous system and the immune system.
The right amount of fiber can help to improve the digestive system.
Fiber gets fermented into fatty acids by bacteria in the intestine. In turn, those fatty acids help to prevent any excess of bad bacteria and reduces the exposure to any carcinogens your rat has consumed.
Potassium is an important electrolyte, it helps to control nerve impulses, brain function, muscle activity, and heart function.
It also helps to promote muscle growth and works in conjunction with calcium and phosphorus to support healthy bones, teeth and fur.
The health risks of grapes for pet rats
Clearly, there are many benefits for rats eating grapes, but there are certainly dangers too when they have too many.
These effects are often enhanced for smaller pets like rats as overfeeding is quite easy to do.
Let’s take a look at what can happen if we feed our fancy rats too many grapes.
Grapes contain lots of natural sugar which can lead to weight gain when excess sugar is converted to fat.
Of course, this will often lead to negative health effects for your fancy rat. Conditions caused by excess weight can include heart disease and high blood pressure.
Increased weight can also put more pressure on the body as a whole, leading to quicker deterioration of muscles and limbs.
Some fiber will be good for your rat’s digestive system; however, problems can occur from ingesting excess amounts of fiber.
Too much fiber can cause diarrhea, as well as preventing the absorption of some vitamins and minerals.
Can pet rats eat raisins
Raisins are essentially dehydrated grapes and they are safe for pet rats to eat.
However, there are dangers you need to be aware of when feeding your fancy rat raisins.
The sugar content is very concentrated and excess sugar from raisins can continue to the same side effect mentioned above.
It’s much easier to overfeed your rats’ raisins due to their smaller size but you do need to be careful about how many to feed them.
Don’t feed your pet rat more than 1 or 2 raisins every few days otherwise, they may begin to gain excess weight.
Remember, rats should gain all the nutrients they need from good quality rat food, so anything extra like raisins should be offered as the occasional treat rather than as part of their general diet.
How many grapes can my pet rat eat
Whilst pet rats can eat grapes, and will even get some health benefits from them, it is important to be mindful about how many grapes you feed them.
They should be considered a treat, not as a regular part of your rat’s diet. Therefore they should only be fed occasionally, a maximum of every two days.
Don’t give your rat more than one grape at a time, you may even want to slice it in half for them the first time as they can often get a little confused as to what it is due to the tough skin.
Once they know that the grape is food, they will gnaw through that skin in no time in the future!
Always feed your pet rat new food with caution
Whilst most rats will be able to eat grapes in moderation without any problem, all rats are individual.
Generally, rats usually have a pretty strong stomach, they can eat most things you’ll give them without much problem.
Some will have greater sensitivity to certain food and there’s always a potential for a certain food to cause digestive upset.
This is more often the case with older rats, but a rat of any age might not take well to certain food.
If you’re feeding your pet rat grapes or raisins for the first time always make sure you monitor them for the next day or so.
Look for signs of digestive issues, this is quite hard to spot in rats but diarrhea is the most obvious sign, or you might notice they are less active too.
If you see those symptoms you should stop feeding your rat grapes and try an alternative treat.
If the symptoms persist you should consult with your vet.