I give mine a small amount of cat food every couple of days and they really like it. Although Forensic told me that giving them cat food supplies them with too much protein, so I guess dog food would be the same.
I only give it to mine as a treat. Hope that helps...
i feed mine a staple of dog food with low protein (lowest i could find) and no corn or alfafa additives. but i also supplement with fruits, veggies and chicken bones for teeth and protein. they also get the good bits of what we eat here (which just normally means adding a bit to the meal i'm making so they can have some too). its not the ideal food for rats, that would be a quality lab block like harlen taklan but it is a good alternative so long as the dog food is not the ONLY food they get and so long as its a good quality of dog food. dog food is also used in the suebee's diet, but again its not the only food that the rats are given.
there is a huge difference in protein levels between dog and cat food. good quality dog food is actually MUCH closer to the rat nutritional needs then any other commercial kibble that is made other then of course harlen teklan lab blocks for rats.
so, if you have access to the lab block go with that first. if you can get the ingredients for the suebee's mix go for that, or if you can supplement with appropriate amounts of fruits and veggies and have access to a decent dog kibble then go for that. but dog food alone is not enough.
The one issue I have with dog kibble besides everything mentioned is that it is deficient in a lot of necessary minereals and vitamins. Vitamin K for example is very important to our rats and is lacking in dog food. I have heard that people supplement with children's vitamins to make up for the lack.
The lack of appropriate vitamins in the dog food is why Total is included in Suebee's mix. Dog food alone is not an appropriate diet. If you're going to feed dog food it needs to be a high quality, low protein and fat one supplemented with Total cereal and other grains (known as Suebee's mix) as well as a lot of variety in fresh foods.
Wow, I'm glad to see that the cat food is okay, as I feed out 1/2 dish of that and 1/2 dish of any healthy tablescraps available, no meat, though (we mainly end up with fruits and cheeses for scraps, as well as I'm sharing boxes of cereal now-I'm pregnant, which requires a lot of bran-like cereals). They were just feeding the dog food, however. Upon seeing this, I really DID rescue those two rats! Rach
Cat food is NOT okay. Waaay too high in protein for our rats. the only time I would think catfood would be appropriate is when you have a pregnant/nursing ratmom who needs the extra protein. Dogs being more omivorous have more of a rat's requirements than a cat.
The only reason I am giving my female cat food is because she has babies. I only give her a small amount every three days or so along with veggies and special rat food mix consisting of seeds, pellets etc, and intend to take her off it once she's finished lactating.
I didn't realise there was such a stark difference between dog and cat food, thankyou for sharing that! Out of curiousity, how does too much protein affect them?
My guess would be the same way it would people, it puts stress on their liver and kidneys trying to remove excess waste. Some rats may have reactions to excess protein causing skin irritation, rough coat, itchiness, etc.