It is nice to see that the reputation of rats is rapidly changing and more and more people are starting to add a pet rat to their family with rats seeing solid growth in their popularity in recent years.
Rats really can be great pets and first time rat owners are often surprised by just how loving and affectionate their pet rat can actually be.
Due to so many people out there keeping pet rats these days, we commonly see people reaching out with various questions about how they should be caring for their pets.
One question that we have seen being asked more and more frequently recently is based around if rats can eat flax seeds or not.
This is largely due to some people sharing photographs of their pet rats eating flax seeds on social media and there being a heated discussion on the topic in the comments of the photograph so we wanted to publish a dedicated article going over the topic to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
Can Rats Eat Flax Seeds?
The quick answer to this question is that yes, rats can eat flax seeds.
Most rats seem to really enjoy eating flax seeds too with some people using them as a high nutrient treat food for their pet rats to increase the overall nutritional profile of their pet rats’ diet.
Rats usually have no problems eating the flax seeds either so there is no need to worry about a choking hazard or any other potential problem like that.
Some people within the rat keeping community also use flax seed powder as a topper for other food sources rather than actually give their pet rats actual flax seeds.
This can work well too as it still helps to make sure that your pet rat is getting the nutritional benefits of the flax seeds in their diet without you having to give them the food in seed form.
What Are The Nutritional Benefits Of Flax Seeds For Rats?
You may be surprised to learn that flax seeds contain a pretty impressive nutrient and mineral profile which actually make them quite good for rats to snack on from time to time.
However, it is important to remember that like with anything else, moderation is key and you should only ever feed your pet rat a small number of flax seeds as part of a healthy and well-rounded diet to ensure that they don’t end up consuming too many calories which could lead to weight gain.
Flax seeds are actually a pretty good source of omega 3 fatty acids for rats which is great for their fur and skin as well as helping to improve the overall health of their immune system too.
Flax seeds are also a good source of fiber which can help to keep your rat’s digestive system healthy and ticking over nicely which is always important.
On top of this, flax seeds are also a good source of lignans (Phytoestrogens) which can actually help to reduce the risk of cancer in rats as well as helping to improve their overall cardiovascular health too.
All of these benefits make flax seeds a great treat food for pet rats and something that you may want to consider adding to their diet in small quantities.
How Many Flax Seeds Should You Give Your Pet Rat?
As we briefly touched on above, you should only ever give your pet rat a small number of flax seeds as part of a healthy and well-rounded diet to make sure that they don’t consume too many calories as flax seeds are a very calorie dense food.
A good rule of thumb is to give your pet rat around 1-4 flax seeds per day depending on their size with smaller rats obviously requiring less than larger rats.
You should also make sure that you only ever give your pet rat flax seeds as part of a healthy diet that is made up of other Rat foods too as this will help to make sure that they are getting all of the nutrients and minerals that they need to stay healthy.
What If My Rat Won’t Eat Flax Seeds?
If you are struggling to get your pet rat to eat flax seeds then there are a few things that you can do to try and encourage them to eat them.
The first thing that you can do is to give them the flax seeds in powder form as this seems to be more appealing to rats than actual flax seeds.
You could also try mixing the flax seed powder in with some of their other food sources too as this will make it more likely that they will consume the flax seeds without even realizing it.
Rats are notoriously fussy eaters at times so it may take a bit of trial and error to get them to eat the flax seeds but it is definitely worth persevering with as they can offer some great benefits to your pet rat’s diet.
Flax seeds can actually offer a lot of nutritional benefits to pet rats and are definitely something that you should consider adding to their diet in small quantities.
Just make sure that you only give them a small number of flax seeds per day as they are very calorie dense and you don’t want your pet rat to consume too many calories which could lead to weight gain.
We hope that this article has helped you to understand a bit more about the benefits of flax seeds for pet rats and how you can incorporate them into their diet.