Rats can be great pets and we all think we know the answer to the question “can rats eat cheese?” but are the things we know actually true? It turns out that things aren’t as simple as we thought but the myth of rats being lactose intolerant is quite far from the truth. Rats aren’t generally intolerant to lactose but there might be individual cases that are so you should follow the same rules you do every time you introduce something new to your pet’s diet.
If they eat too much of something their body can’t handle well then the typical symptoms are diarrhea or even vomiting. To ensure this doesn’t happen start with very small bites and observe their behavior. If you give them a bit in one day and nothing bad happens try to add a little more and follow this procedure until you are sure that the food is fine for your pet.
Research the types of cheese in particular as some of them can contain some ingredients that will be harmful for your pet and for this reason we will go over a list of what they can have and what they should stay away from.
Types of Cheese
The word cheese doesn’t say too much as there is a huge variety of them out there and they are classified according to the type of milk they use, to their hardiness and to their amount of fat. With this in mind, the cheeses that are harder and go through a washing process to take out the excess will be better for your pet. The long process of production means that they have less lactose and fat so they will be better.
Among the cheeses we recommend are Cheddar, Red Leicester, Emmentaler, Gouda, Appenzeller, Gruyere, Colby and Edam. These won’t be too bad for your rat pet but you should also pay attention not to get the types that have other ingredients as well such as nuts, chili peppers or various greens since even if the cheese is fine, the whole product might not be.
Which Cheese to Avoid
The way some cheeses are processed or their ingredients make them unsuitable for rats and among these soft and chewy ones like Brie, Feta or Mozarella are worth mentioning. The threat with these is that they could choke on them and they have no natural gag-reflex so the risk is even higher with rats than with humans.
Other cheeses worth mentioning on the “to avoid” list are Mascarpone, Camembert, Blue Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Ricotta, Gorgonzola, Stilton and Ricotta.
Cheese is high in proteins and even if it has a powerful smell your pet will probably prefer other types of food that are better for them. Remember to start gradually with some cheese and consider it an occasional treat rather than a part of their regular diet. Rats are omnivores but a balanced diet will ensure their health so seeds and grain mixtures are the best choice. How much is fine for them will depend on the size and health of your pet but never give them more than a teaspoon.