Feeding Your Small Rodent (Mouse or Rat)
What do pet rodents eat?
Pet rodents can be fed a good, high quality rodent chow (pelleted food) available at pet stores. It is important to feed these high-calorie foods in restricted quantities as obesity is a common problem (especially as many of these pets are not especially active!). If you find food stashed or buried in bedding when cleaning out then you are feeding far too much!
How often should I feed my pet rodent?
Fresh food and water should be available at all times.
Do I need to give my rodent vitamins?
As long as your pet is not selectively feeding (ie. picking out only its favourite food items) then vitamins are probably not needed. However, this is often not the case so a basic water-soluble vitramin supplement will do no harm, especially if there has been a risk of slight food spoilage in storing.
Can I offer my rodent treats?
Seeds and nuts can be offered as an occasional treat (less than 10% of the daily diet). Fresh, well-cleaned vegetables and occasionally a small amount of fruit can be offered as well. Leafy green vegetables (not lettuce or celery) can be offered, as well as yellow and orange vegetables. The total daily amount of these "human foods" should not run more than 20 % of the diet. Thus, the pets should eat mainly pellets (80% of the diet), 15-20% vegetables and fruits, and occasionally a few seeds or nuts as treats. Many owners offer the food in heavy, spill-proof ceramic dishes, although feeders can be purchased and attached to the cage. Offering hay (such as alfalfa cubes or clover) free choice to the pets as a source of fibre is also acceptable (as long as your veterinarian approves).
What about water?
Fresh water should be available 24 hours a day and is usually provided in dripper bottles available at pet stores, although it can be placed in spill-proof dishes. The water should be replaced DAILY (at least) and the bottles (specifically the end the pet drinks from) inspected daily for blockage that can develop if the pets spits food into the dripper tube.
Many owners offer their pet rodents wood sticks to chew, which helps control overgrown incisors.
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