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Can Rats Eat Meat? [Diet Considerations For Rat Owners]

Taking good care of your pet rat involves providing them with a safe and comfortable place to live, interacting with them and feeding them a healthy diet. But what about meat? Can owners look to feed this to their pet rats, should they and are there any benefits or dangers in doing so? I decided to do some research. I’d like to share my findings with you here today.

So, can pet rats eat meat? Pet rats can eat meat. Meat is a great source of protein and protein is a key element in a healthy diet for your pet rat. Chicken, beef and liver are all meats that your pet rat might enjoy, make sure they are cooked though. Rats are omnivores, meaning that in the wild, they eat a mix of plants and lean meats. A healthy diet for your pet rat will emulate their omnivorous natural diet as much as possible.

To ensure your pet rat lives a happy and fulfilled life, diet is undoubtedly an important factor: a healthy rat is a happy rat.

Naturally, owners, or perspective owners, will have some questions about a rat’s diet. Let us now look at some of the most common ones asked around meat. This way, you’ll have all the information you need to make an educated decision as to whether or not to offer it!

Do Rats Eat Meat?

Your pet rat is likely to enjoy eating some meat as part of their balanced diet. Lean meats are best to ensure that your rat doesn’t gain weight. Meats like cooked chicken, cooked beef and cooked liver often work well.

In the wild, rats are omnivores, meaning that they consume a mix of plant-based foods and meats. To ensure you are providing a healthy diet for your pet rat at home, this should also be followed.

Meat as a source of protein for your rat should not make up the entirety of their diet. Protein should form roughly 20% of what you feed your pet rat. It is advised that you feed your rat meat no more than once or twice per week.  

Specialized rat food, containing the optimal balance of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are often a good place to start and can easily be purchased online.

These Oxbow Fortified Nutrition Pellets available from Amazon are specially formulated from GMO Free natural ingredients to provide your rat with all of their nutrition they need. Its an optimal feed that can make up the majority of your rats diet. Many owners swear by it.

From there, cooked meats such as chicken, lean beef and liver (chicken or lamb works well) are an excellent supplement to to dry rat food. It is highly likely that your pet will enjoy eating meat, so it can make a tasty treat for them.

Meats, are rich in many nutrients and vitamins that will support the health of your rat.

Another thing that is of great benefit for your pet rat is bones! Gnawing on bones is not only super healthy for their dental health, but the marrow inside bones is a great source of nutrients.  

With anything in life, balance is key and same can be said for your pet rats’ diet. A healthy diet for your pet rat will include a variety of different plant-based foods as well as protein like meat.

It is important to note that an owner should seek to keep their rat’s diet as consistent as possible to avoid stomach upsets for their pet.

Sudden changes in what you feed your rat can result in diarrhea, so when introducing new foods, such as meat, do this gradually over a few days.

Do Rats Need Meat?

Owing to the fact that rats are omnivores, meat is generally considered to be a part of a healthy and balanced diet for pet rats. Meat is a great source of protein which is great for growth and repair of muscles.

However, meat should not form the bulk of your pet rats’ diet. Instead, lean meats should be used as an additional source of protein for your pet.

There are many nutritional benefits of feeding your pet rat some meat, but owners should also be aware that there are considerations that need to be made also.

In the first few months of your pet rat’s life (from around 3-5 months), there is great benefit to providing your pet rat with additional protein such as meat.

It can help with their early growth and development. A little meat once or twice per week should suffice and its generally recommended that the portion size of such does not exceed a teaspoon full per rat.

However, as your rat becomes older, they will need less protein in their diet.

Excess protein stimulates growth in kittens (young rats) but can cause tumors in old rats. therefore offer it in moderation and in small quantities at a time.

Can Rats Have Red Meat?

Red meat, like beef is a great source of iron. Pet rats can have red meat, as long as it is lean and cooked.

Rat’s can become iron deficient, meaning that the iron in their blood is low, and this can cause tiredness and fatigue. Supplementing your rats’ diet with iron rich foods such as red meat and leafy greens can combat this.

I would recommend that you feed your rat beef as their source of red meat if you are choosing to do so. Also, that the red meat is lean and preferably cooked by boiling, to avoid any excess fat in your rats’ diet.

Owners can also feed their pet rats small amounts of ‘human food’ from time to time as a treat.

So, if you have enjoyed a joint of beef on a Sunday, feel free to let your rat snack on a few tasty morsels!

Can Rats Eat Ground Beef?

Rats can eat ground beef if it is cooked and not too fatty.

Excess fats can be harmful to rats, so if you are unsure, we would urge owners to err on the side of caution.

Ground beef is generally sold in different fat quantities ranging from lean ground beef (5% – 12% fat) to ground beef with a higher fat content (20% – 35% fat).

Rats should only eat lean meats.

Ground beef that has a low fat content can be enjoyed by your pet rat more frequently but still should only be an occasional food within their diet.

The higher the fat content of the meat, the less frequently you should look to offer it; and in smaller quantities at a time.


Rats, by nature are omnivores. This means that in the wild their diet consists of both plant-based food and meats. Your pet rat’s diet should be as close to this as possible to ensure that your pet rat remains happy and healthy for their entire life.

Rats can eat meat. The meat you feed your rat should be lean and it is recommended that owners stick to lean, cooked chicken or beef.

Liver is a nutrient dense protein source that has added health benefits for your rat in terms of the rich array of vitamins and minerals that it provides. Liver can be fed to a pet rat too.

Rats are sociable and clever creatures; they make excellent pets and often have distinctive personalities.

Wondering what else a rat can eat? Check my other feeding guides below: