A large number of those who have the squeaky furry friend as a pet seem to think that taking care of a rat is sure no biggie. We see their point. After all, how hard it can be, to take care of an animal that loves to live in your hand. This is exactly where most carelessness happens as well. Humans love to share whatever they are eating, with their rodent friend. Rats are only too happy to oblige. They are not going to refuse your kind offer of food; all they want to do when they are not squeaking is a nibble. It is your responsibility to check if the food you are sharing with your friend is safe or not. This has led to a plethora of inquiries on pet care platforms. One most commonly asked question is about apples. In today’s discussion, we find the answer to the following question: Can rats eat apples?
Apples: an overview
Sounds almost silly, recalling apples. However, ever since humans shifted to junk food, fruits have faded away from our memories. Therefore, recalling apples cannot hurt, given the context. Anyhow, an apple a day keeps a doctor is a bit of cliché associated with apples. That is not all apples are about, the health aspect. They are yummy, they are great in lifting your mood and they make up some wonderful desserts. There are thousands of varieties of this fruit, all very popular in their particular areas of cultivation. Oh, and did you know? Apples belong to the rose family, a fact that surprises many people!
Can rats eat apples?
Well, let us not dawdle and first answer the question around which this discussion will revolve. Yes, rats can eat apples; there is nothing wrong about your squeaky friend munching on apples. This is a short answer, and as is the case with most short answers, it is an incomplete one. You cannot start feeding your pet rat apples, simply because we nodded our head in affirmative just now. No, you need to know all about the health benefits, suitable quantities, ways to introduce the fruit in rat’s diet, and much more. We knew you would want to know more about rats and apples. Therefore, we compiled all the relevant information for you here. We are rather good at guessing!
Health benefits associated with rats’ eating apples
How much a particular fruit is beneficial for any animal is easily determined by looking at the nutritional package that the fruit has to offer. In case of apples, boy oh boy, you are looking at heavenly stuff. An apple is enriched with minerals, ions, and vitamins. All of these have separate roles to play in regulating the physiological functioning of your pet. There is iron, cobalt, calcium, and magnesium found in decent quantities in an apple. Ions have a great impact on cardiovascular, nervous, and Musco-skeletal systems proper development and regulation.
Then there are the vitamins. An apple is enriched with vitamins like Vitamin A, C, and D. Vitamin A has been shown to have an amazing effect on vision, as well as skin protection. Vitamin C, on the other hand, has an important role to play in preventing diseases like scurvy from happening. Rats cannot produce enough of these vitamins on their own. Therefore, one of the best ways to supplement is by adding fruits like an apple into their diet. How and how much? These are the next questions to answer.
How to feed an apple to your pet rat?
Well, it is not as simple as it seems, you have to be extremely careful about the quantity and manner of feeding apples to your furry friend. It must be noted that eating too much of anything is harmful to your rat; apples are no exception to this rule. There are possible risks associated with eating too many apple slices, something that we will discuss shortly. The most obvious reason is of course obesity. Just a couple of thin slices per week at first is enough in our point of view. You can gradually increase the quantity if you like, but nothing in excess, please. You can serve the apples, either alone or in combination with whatever your rat is eating already.
Some important considerations
We are sure that you know about these already. We are just going to recall them for you. Right, freshness is the first item on the agenda list. There is no point feeding worm food to your pet rat, is there? Please keep your eyes open when you are fishing for apples at the grocery store. Weed out the rotten ones; they will do more harm than good. Then, there is a possibility that your rat might choke, simply because you were not careful about slice size when you were dicing apples. Avoid that by cutting the fruit into small, thin slices. Lastly, wash the fruit properly to get rid of the sprayed pesticides.
Skin and seeds
This confuses some people, a lot, mind you. The apple peel is safe for your pet rat; you can give some along with the soft pulp of the fruit. Apple’s skin has many nutrients, which are quite beneficial for your pet’s health. Apple seeds, on the other hand, are a very different subject. They are not suitable for your pet rat, because of two reasons. One, seeds are always can cause choking, not joking. Secondly, studies suggest that apple seeds have infinitesimal amounts of cyanide, which is poisonous by nature. Therefore, it is prudent to rid the fruit of all the seeds first, and then serve it in front of the rat.
Possible risks associated with rats’ eating apples
On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with eating apples, for either you or your rat. However, too much of apples can bring the doctor back into the game, rather than keeping him or her away. The sugar content is a little higher than what is the ideal range. Therefore, you need to be cautious when you are feeding your rat apples. Follow the golden principles of moderation; otherwise, be prepared for some nasty consequences. For example, the once agile and active rodent friend can become obese and lazy, in case too many apples are served in front of the pet. Fruits with higher acidic content are more likely to damage the teeth. Rats have four only; make sure that they are not damaged by too much apple juice.
The pesticide hazard is a common one these days, something not limited to apples only. Unless you can get organic apples from an orchard, there is nothing much that you can do about this problem. However, you can still get rid of the most sprayed chemicals by simple washing. However, you have to wash extremely well, and thoroughly, under running water.
Gosh, will you look at the time? We have been droning about rats and apples for quite some time, it is time to wrap up and bid farewell. We hope that via this discussion, you learned something, if not everything. Your pets are unable to help themselves in the matter of food safety and security; they are solely your responsibility. Hence, do your bit and look up the safety value of every food item before you feed it to your pet rat.