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I was looking at dog food as an option for feeding my rats. I pulled this information off another topic, where MopyDream44 wrote (modified):

"Harlan Teklad blocks=
Proximate Analysis
Crude Protein %14.50
Fat 3.5%
Crude Oil %4.00
Crude Fiber %4.50
Product Description—Teklad Global 14% Protein Rodent Maintenance Diet is designed and manufactured with the same high quality ingredients in both the United States and throughout Europe. 2014 is a fixed formula, nutritionally balanced, non-autoclavable diet containing 14% protein and 3.5% fat. Scientific publications report that low fat, low protein diets promote longevity and normal body weight in rodents. 2014 does not contain alfalfa or soybean meal, thus minimizing the occurrence of natural phytoestrogens. Absence of animal protein and fish meal eliminates the presence of nitrosamines. For autoclavable diet please refer to 2014S Teklad Global 14% Protein Rodent Maintenance Diet (Sterilizable). All Harlan Teklad Global Diets® are available certified.

Nutro Lite Dog food=
Crude Protein (minimum) 14.00%
Crude Fat (minimum) 6.00%
Crude Fiber (maximum) 6.50%
Moisture (maximum) 10.00%"

After reading this, would it be possible to substitute Nutro Lite Dog food for the Harlan Teklad blocks? Maybe with a "mouse and rat food" bag mix (Not Kaytee) or "Regal Rat" mix from a pet store, and skip the Harlan Teklad blocks (since they are inconvenient to buy)?

Also, reading on Kim's Ark (a popular website from the posts I've seen), it says the 2014 formula of Harlan Teklad (which has 14% protein, whereas 2018 has 18% and 8604 has 24%) is not recommended for healthy rats, but only recommended for protein-sensitive rats. So, should I really be getting a dog food with such low protein?

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you can use the dog food but i'd only subsitute with "human food" and stay away from the seed mixes or store bought rat foods. i've never come across one yet that was actually good for rats, especially if it says its good for another animal as well.

but i use dog food as a staple then they also get the leftovers from meals and fresh fruits and veggies. this seems to be working fine. but i'm not a scientist and so can not say that this is the best for longevity and immuno boosting. rats CAN live off of just about anything (even things that aren't that healthy) but the better nutrition is linked to better health of course. but there are a lot of factors to that as well, genetics and emotional and mental stimuli just to mention a few.

as for the protein levels there is always a debate about that. but with a few chicken bones and left overs from suppers the protein levels would go up. so i like going on the lower side for the staple protein cause i know they will be getting more protein in what else i feed as well.

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madonnaswimmer - I'm not sure how much this will help, but I thought I'd share with you... when I got my three boys, almost a year ago, I searched endlessly for some kind of substitute for the tekland blocks. Little did I know that what I was looking for was right in my face. The health food store I work at carries a wonderful selection of organic pet food, which I've come to love. Amongst the various brand, there is one - Pet Guard - who also offers vegetarian dog biscuits that seem just perfect. Here is the nutritional facts:

Mr. Barky's Vegetarian Dog Biscuits

All PetGuard has added to the original recipe are some essential vitamins and chelated minerals (including calcium) for strong, healthy teeth and bones. Everything is completely natural. There are no by-products, artificial colors, artificial flavors, added sweeteners, salt or sugar.

Wheat Flour, Whole Oat Groats, Whole Ground Brown Rice, Whole Ground Yellow Corn, Whole Barley, Soy Flour, Sunflower Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Ester-C (Source of Vitamin C), Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Source of Vitamin C), Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D2 Supplement (Calciferol), D-Pantothenic Acid, Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Biotin, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite.

CRUDE PROTEIN.....14.00% (Min.)
CRUDE FAT.................5.00% (Min.)
CRUDE FIBER ............3.00% (Max.)
MOISTURE .................10.00% (Max.)
ASH .............................4.00% (Max.)
CALCIUM ...................0.50% (Min.)
PHOSPHORUS............0.40% (Min.)

Sizes Available: 21 oz. Box, 16 lbs.. 4 oz. Bulk Box


They have a web site, but you might be better off checking with your local health food - depending on where you live, they might already carry these.

This is NOT the only thing I feed my boys, but it is always available to them. I make sure to feed them a fresh varied batch of organic grains and seeds every day - and organic veggies, and fruit as often as I can think of it.
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