Do Pet Rats Need Hay?

Do Pet Rats Need Hay

Many different pet rat food options are available at your local pet store, providing a wide range of necessary nutritional content. Your pet rats may enjoy carrots, broccoli, cooked green beans, and even some leafy greens but do your pet rats need hay

This question is a popular one among new pet rat owners, and it’s entirely reasonable. It might make sense to pet rat owners that their rats need hay since their care and upkeep are similar to that of other furry caged pets like rabbits, gerbils, or pet hamsters. The simple answer, however, is no; pet rats do not need hay. 

Let’s dive into why that’s the case. 

Can rats use hay as bedding?

So you’re wondering if your pet rats need hay for bedding? While your pet rats won’t need this option as bedding because you can use alternatives such as paper strips, cardboard, and other bedding options from the local pet shop.

Though not recommended, pet rats can use hay for nesting. However, hay and other types of grasses aren’t the best at absorption. In addition, they can get rather dusty, which increases the risk of your pet rats developing respiratory issues or, worse, impacting existing respiratory problems. 

Most pet owners would avoid this, knowing what’s at stake; therefore, we recommend you opt to use the suggested materials above for your pet rat’s bedding. 

Your pet rat’s cage will get stinky quickly, and the hay won’t be very comfortable for them.

What is Timothy Hay

Timothy hay is grown in most regions of the world, except for the Mediterranean region. Timothy hay is a perennial grass that helps feed livestock and some domesticated pets.

Timothy hay is a common type of hay that gerbils, hamsters, and even pet rabbits enjoy eating. This hay can be purchased online and delivered directly to you from most online pet supplies and generally sold at your local pet shops. One reason Timothy hay is so popular is that it is high in fiber and low in protein.

Most livestock enjoys eating Timothy hay, but other rodents like to munch on Timothy hay for added nutrients. However, pet rats don’t need hay as a nutrient supplement, as the Timothy hay doesn’t provide any additional nutrients for your furry companions beyond their regular dietary needs.

Should I give my rats hay?

You can give your pet rats hay if you want. The hay you purchase at a local pet shop, such as Timothy hay, may not provide your pet rats with nutrients; however, they may enjoy using it for nesting. 

If you consider purchasing hay for your pet rat, Oat hay may be a better option for their needs, as it is the perfect type of hay for foraging and nesting in. Oat hay is made from oats and is most often used for horses than pet rats and other rodents. 

You can buy Oat hay at popular pet stores and the local tractor supply store, as well as various outlets online. Oat hay is an excellent option for pet rats, as it’s a much safer nesting option.

Pet rats don’t need hay.

We’ve said it earlier, and we will repeat it, your pet rats don’t need hay. They may have a hard time digesting it if they consume the hay during foraging or nesting. The many different types of hay available can make it confusing for the newer pet owner to know which option is best for nesting.

More often than not, it’s best to avoid buying pet rats hay. It’s not a necessity, and there are plenty of other low-cost snacks and nesting materials you can purchase online or at local stores. The Timothy hay or oat hay are going to be the two most popular pet rats hay options available to you, but again, it’s not necessary to buy hay as part of your pet rat’s supplies. There are plenty of pet rat nesting materials to choose from that are safer and better suited.

Molding their bed

You can try to buy your pet rats some hay to see if they even like it. We’ve found that some pet rats enjoy having a little bit of grass mixed in with their other bedding materials for the molding properties. Hay is more robust than other materials that pet rats typically use for nesting.

Having a little hay in your pet rat’s cage may make them happier. You’ll need to test this theory out before buying a bulk bag of hay for your pet rats. Some pet rats will be overjoyed having a firmer material for their nest, while others may not enjoy it.

Be sure to test each option out to find out what nesting material your pet rats like. As with most rat nesting material or food, if you see that your pet rats are having adverse reactions to the hay in their cage, then please, by all means, stop buying hay for pet rats and remove all hay from their environment.

Is it safe to have hay in your rat’s cage?

Pet rats can be around hay safely. The best kinds of hay to buy for a pet rat include timothy hay and oat hay. These are both less dusty and work well for pet rats and other pets that are at high risk for respiratory problems.

Most hay options that are safe for your pet rats will be found at a local pet shop. You can ask the pet shop owner for assistance with the selection process if you need it. When ordering online just make sure the hay is labeled as timothy hay or oat hay so that your pet rats can have some hay for foraging and nesting without getting the cage too dusty.

Do what’s best for your pet rats.

In conclusion, pet rats can have hay for nesting or foraging, but they don’t need it. The timothy hay or oat hay available at most pet shops will not supply ample nutritional value for pet rats. This means your little furry pet rodents don’t require hay as an additional part of their diet.

Again, you can opt to use hay for pet rats nesting as they may use it for that purpose. The hay will not absorb things as well, which means your pet rat’s cage could get smelly quicker than most pet rat cages that don’t have hay in them. We suggest you do not buy pet rats hay, instead use other material for nesting and consider pet rats treats explicitly made for them.  

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Emily Sanders

I'm Emily Sanders, an avid lover of pet rats and small household pets. Most of all, I adore my fancy pet rats and love sharing insightful and helpful information with others willing to learn about rats. If you're new to the world of pet rats, you'll find many of my pet rat guides of great use for getting acquainted. I hope to help you become an avid pet rat lover too.

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