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Discussion Starter #1
I've read very different reviews on lettuce here and on other sites- and I'm trying to figure out what the real deal is on the stuff.
I'm a new rat mom- and my girls are a little over 1 1/2 months old and growing like weeds. I've been experimenting with their diet, seeing what they like and don't like (they seem to like everything that they have to have in moderation, of course) and today gave them dry wheat penne pasta which they love! However, they managed to tag-team me and steal a piece of red-leaf lettuce off my salad plate and devoured the thing between them in a matter of moments.
I figure they're bodies should know what they really want and need, and the deed is already done with no side-effects, but should I allow them to have red-leaf lettuce in the future? They really love it-
 

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Unfortunately animals don't always know what's good (or bad) for them... that's why lots of pets end up in the emergency room around the holidays. Rats may be smarter than a lot of other pets, but sadly they are no exception.

I go by the rat food guide: http://www.ratforum.com/Forums/viewtopic/t=3079.html

..and if that list doesn't say whether or not something is good or bad to eat, I just assume it's bad and I don't offer it to my rats. IMO, that's an easy way to stay safe. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks- I'd read that list and a few other "dos and donts" of eating- and so I suppose the lettuce should be ok, but other lists have said it is bad to feed them because of intestinal problems.
And yes, I'd agree that they don't always know whats best for them and that it is primarily up to the owner to look out for an animal's best interest, but I'm still surprised by what my rat girls (and others I've heard of) seem to know just by instinct. They are not at all interested in foods forbidden of them- never begging for blue cheese, licorice, or oranges when I'm eating them, although rat-healthy foods they won't leave me alone about. :)
 

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I offer mine a vast variety of leafy greens (or reds LOL) all the time

what you don't want to feed them is iceberg lettuce because it had zero nutritional value
 

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Mine love lettuce to but its more of a treat to them because of the low nurtritional value
Jess x
 

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When my girls have their weekly big bowl of fruit and veggies I always give them Romaine lettuce. Doris and Mavis love it, but don't think Roxy does so much.
 

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A1APassion said:
I offer mine a vast variety of leafy greens (or reds LOL) all the time

what you don't want to feed them is iceberg lettuce because it had zero nutritional value
A1APassion is right, its iceberg that is mostly water, no nutritive values and can give your rat wicked diarrhea.

darker leaf lettuce (or red) is the way to go and has lots of nutrients :)
See if you can get them to eat spinach :D
 

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i give my rocket salad leaves that contains a form of spinach i think :s
Jess x
 

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I've heard too much lettuce can be bad for rats. But I think as long as they have a balanced diet (lots of grains, etc), they should be fine.
 

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Spinach is, but my little Dust got mild diarrhea after eating too much romaine lettuce, so too much of anything is bad for them. :)
 

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Neophyte said:
I've heard too much lettuce can be bad for rats. But I think as long as they have a balanced diet (lots of grains, etc), they should be fine.
Dark, leafy vegetables are high in substances called oxalates, which can cause kidney damage if fed in large amounts. The veggies with the highest amounts of them are kale, spinach, and beet greens (arugula). But some of the foods that we consider great for our rats have high amounts, too. Things like broccoli, strawberries, and grapes. So I wouldn't be too worried. As long as you're not feeding them a big salad every day, lettuce and leafy greens are okie dokie. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks so much, guys.
I let them nibble on spinach and they really liked it, but decided it was best to just give them a little once in a great while for the nutrients but to avoid any other problems.
Thanks so much! You guys are great! <3
 
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