Blueberries are known to be a superfood, packed with antioxidants and vitamins.
Does that mean that blueberries are safe to share with your rats? How many blueberries can rats have?
Blueberries and other berries are a great choice of treat for your rat. They have many health benefits and rats tend to love them. However, you shouldn’t feed your rats too many blueberries, or they might get diarrhea.
To find out how many blueberries a rat can have, and how to offer them, read on below.
Can You Feed You Pet Rat Blueberries?
Are Berries Safe for Rats?
Berries boast many health benefits, to humans and rats alike. They contain tons of minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber1. Many studies have linked berry consumption with a decrease in inflammation and positive effects on cognitive functions and cardiovascular parameters1,2.
Blueberries in particular contain anticarcinogenic components, meaning that they can help prevent the development of cancer3.
Another component of blueberries has been shown to reduce urinary tract infections by blocking the bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall4.
The many antioxidants in blueberries – such as anthocyanins – counteract inflammatory processes in the body5.
A study performed in ageing rats showed that feeding blueberries regularly helped prevent and reverse memory loss6.
This list is quite impressive, so of course it makes sense to feed blueberries to your ratty friends. Blueberries are safe for rats to eat, but they should be fed in moderation. While they don’t contain as much sugar as other fruits, they are still sweet and shouldn’t be fed in large amounts. Too many blueberries can also cause diarrhea.
How Many Blueberries Can a Rat Have?
You can offer your rats one or two blueberries each. Since they are so popular with rats, you can use blueberries as special treats instead of offering them along with the rest of the food.
Blueberries can be fed every day if you like. It’s not necessary to cut the berries before feeding them, but they should be washed thoroughly.
Frozen blueberries are safe to offer your rats. You can thaw them first or offer them frozen when the weather is hot. Your rats will probably enjoy the opportunity to cool off!
Another fun idea for hot days is fishing for blueberries. Just fill a large, sturdy water bowl with water and add a couple of frozen blueberries for your rats to fish out.
Dried blueberries contain the same nutrients as fresh blueberries and can be given to rats as a treat. However, dried fruit is higher in sugar and should generally be offered in moderation.
Can Rats Eat Blueberry Yogurt?
Store-bought blueberry yogurt contains a lot of sugar, so it’s not a good idea to give to your rats.
You can offer your mischief some sugar-free yogurt without any flavor and mix in the blueberries yourself. Most rats will love this as an occasional treat! Make sure to pick a sugar-free yogurt that does not contain any artificial sweeteners.
What Fruits Are Rats Allowed?
Berries are not the only fruits that rats love. Most other fruits tend to be high in sugar, though, and should not be fed too often. Good choices of fruit for rats include apples, pears, bananas, melon and watermelon, kiwi, peaches, strawberries, seedless grapes, tomatoes and apricots.
To Sum Up
Blueberries are very healthy and nutritious and a great food for rats! One or two blueberries per rat per day is enough – too many blueberries can cause diarrhea in rats. Frozen blueberries are also a great option in hot climates.
1. Miller K, Feucht W, Schmid M. Bioactive Compounds of Strawberry and Blueberry and Their Potential Health Effects Based on Human Intervention Studies: A Brief Overview. Nutrients 2019;11:1510. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/7/1510.
2. Shaughnessy KS, Boswall IA, Scanlan AP, et al. Diets containing blueberry extract lower blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive stroke-prone rats. Nutrition Research 2009;29:130-138. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531709000037.
3. Bomser J, Madhavi DL, Singletary K, et al. In vitro anticancer activity of fruit extracts from Vaccinium species. Planta Med 1996;62:212-216. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8693031/.
4. Ofek I, Goldhar J, Zafriri D, et al. Anti-Escherichia coli adhesin activity of cranberry and blueberry juices. N Engl J Med 1991;324:1599. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1674106/.
5. Kalt W, Dufour D. Health Functionality of Blueberries. HortTechnology horttech 1997;7:216-221. https://journals.ashs.org/horttech/view/journals/horttech/7/3/article-p216.xml.
6. Malin DH, Lee DR, Goyarzu P, et al. Short-term blueberry-enriched diet prevents and reverses object recognition memory loss in aging rats. Nutrition 2011;27:338-342. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21168307/.
Nina has a degree from the Veterinary School in Zurich, with a special focus on microbiological research. Nina has a passion for sports, nutrition and the outdoors and she loves all pets, but rats have a special place in her heart. When she’s not working or reading and writing about all things related to pet health, she loves to travel and surf.
As a small animal veterinarian, Nina is your go-to expert on pet health and nutrition.