A Guide To Feeding Your Small Pet
Read our handy advice on feeding your small pet
More about feeding your small pet
As any rat owner will tell you, rats are very intelligent and curious creatures. Part of satisfying that curious streak is to provide an interesting and diverse range of food, and to make your rat have to forage in order to get it.
Rats should be fed twice a day, and any food uneaten from the previous feed should be removed. A mainstay of your rat’s daily diet should be a commercial pelleted rat food – take care not to use foods designed for other small furries as rats need lots more protein than other species and might be deficient if not fed a proper rat diet.
Variety is key for rats, so supplementing their basic diet with small amounts of fruit, vegetables, hard-boiled egg, grains and seeds can be a great way to enrich them. This should be done in moderation however, to prevent obesity issues. This is especially true for high fat foods, which rats love. Although variety is important, new foods should be added to your rat’s repertoire slowly, to avoid digestive upsets and give time for your rat to trust a new food.
Although, as omnivores, rats can eat many types of food, some foods you should avoid include:
Scatter feeding, putting the food around their cage for them to find, is a great way to stimulate your rats, making them work for their food. It can be more difficult to check how much they are eating, so careful examination of what remains at the next feed is important.
All rats need access to fresh, clean drinking water continuously. If you have multiple rats, it is best to have multiple drinking bottles, to avoid competition and make sure if one fails to work, there is still water access.
Chinchillas have a complex digestive system, which can be managed well by providing the right types of food for them on a daily basis. Chinchillas need a lot of fibre in their diet to stay healthy, and actually some types of fibre will go round their digestive system twice – after the first trip through the intestines the digestible fibre is excreted as a special type of faeces called a ‘caecotroph’, which they eat so they can get maximum nutrition from their food. Both chinchilla dental health and gastrointestinal health rely on an appropriate intake of fibrous foods, such as hay. Having constant access to fresh, sweet-smelling hay is a key part of the healthy chinchilla diet, and also keeps them from developing behavioural problems which may develop if they cannot act out their natural instinct to graze-feed.
As well as hay chinchillas need to be offered daily quantities of a chinchilla pellet. The best pellets all look the same – this can seem boring to us, but makes sure your chinchilla gets all the nutrients they need every day. In chinchilla mix, which has a range of different parts, chinchillas are liable to pick out and only eat their favourite bits. This selective feeding can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
On top of their base diet of hay and chinchilla pellets, chinchillas can also have some vegetables as treats – this should be very small amounts, the size of your thumbnail. Overfeeding can have serious dietary consequences for your chinchilla, such as bloat. Chinchillas are also very sensitive to sugar, so high sugar options such as fruit should be avoided.
Foods to avoid include:
- Grass clippings
All chinchillas should have fresh, clean water at all times. Water bottles are the best way to do this to keep the water clean, and these need to be regularly changed.