Best Dog Food For Rat Terriers

Last updated on August 2nd, 2023 at 08:47 am

Rat terriers are considered a rare breed, so congratulations on acquiring one! These dogs are known to have a long lifespan, but you’ll need to keep your pooch in the peak of health if you want him to grow into old age. Finding the best dog food for rat terrier pups and adults is the first step to ensuring your pet lives a long, healthy life.

Trying to figure out the best diet for your rat terrier can be daunting. In this guide, we show you how to choose the most nutritious dog food for rat terrier pups and adults. We also reveal which of the many dog foods available today are our top picks for rat terriers.

Disclosure: We believe in transparency. The links within this article are affiliate links which means any purchases you make as a result of clicking them will result in us making a small commission. This does not affect the price nor does it influence the products we feature. 

Best Dog Food for Rat Terrier Comparison

Rat Terrier Nutrition

Rat terriers are affectionate, active, and highly intelligent. Because of their high energy and playfulness, they are compatible with children and are popular family pets. Because these dogs have a calm temperament, are easy to train, and are small in size, they are often trained to become service dogs in assisted living facilities and as companions for people with depression and other mental disorders.

According to the American Kennel Club, rat terriers can live up to 18 years. But while rat terriers are generally very hardy dogs, breeders are advised to screen their stock for the following health issues:

  • Eye Disorders
  • Heart Problems
  • Patellar Luxation (Kneecap Dislocation)
  • Pancreatic Issues
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Demodectic Mange
  • Food And Contact Allergies

You may think that because rat terriers are small and slender, they need fewer calories than larger dog breeds. However, these dogs are active and quick on their feet, which means they also need to load up on calories.

Below are some factors to think about when deciding which dog food for rat terrier breeds is the best choice for your pooch.

Rat terriers are a small breed, which means they have specific caloric and nutritional needs that are different from those of medium or large breed dogs. When choosing the best food for rat terrier dogs, consider getting breed-formulated ones.

Dog foods for large breeds are formulated such that large breed dogs can gain weight at a rate that allows them time to grow stronger bones and joints. Meanwhile, rat terrier food, which are small breeds are designed to suit the higher metabolic rates of these smaller dogs.

Because they have low body fat and sugar reserves, small breeds are prone to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Dog food formulated for small breed dogs are typically calorie-dense and packed with nutrients to help avoid this condition. This type of dog food usually has smaller kibble-sized pieces, which are easier to chew and pose less of a choking hazard to small dogs.

Nutritional needs

The most nutritionally beneficial dog food contains proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in amounts that will satisfy the caloric needs of your dog without making him overweight. The right dog food must also include the essential nutrients for immune health and a high-quality variety of real food ingredients to keep your rat terrier healthy and strong.

Small breeds like rat terriers require concentrated dog food for rat terrier breeds that has a high protein content. Rat terriers do best with meat-based proteins as these contain the nutrients that they need to sustain their energy levels and strengthen their immune system. A single high-quality source of protein is better than a blend of cheaper low-quality proteins like chicken meal and fish meal.

rat terrier playing outside

Rat terriers have a calm demeanor that makes them great companions for children.

Because small breeds are prone to joint issues and kneecap dislocation, their diet should be rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Glucosamine and chondroitin, which have been found effective in reducing joint pain in dogs, should also be included in your rat terrier’s food.

To help keep your pooch from getting sick, support his immune system with a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In dog food for rat terrier dogs, these are usually added by way of fruits, vegetables, and proprietary vitamin blends.


Rat terriers are prone to chronic allergies that lead to itchy skin, scratching, and bumps on the skin. This can result in wounds and bacterial infections. Allergies can also cause ear infections.

One of the most common causes of allergies in dogs is dog food that has grains. To cut back on costs, many dog food companies load up their products with fiber-heavy grains. Unfortunately, the digestive system of a dog isn’t designed to digest fiber.  

A diet heavy in fiber can cause numerous health issues, including allergies, loose stools, flatulence, and excessive shedding. Even worse, the grains used in the production of dog food is usually the low-quality kind that can’t be used to make food for humans. They can contain mold, pests, and other contaminants that your dog will eventually ingest.

Giving your rat terrier a high-quality dog food that is grain-free can help prevent allergic reactions. It will also benefit his digestive system. When buying dog food for rat terrier breeds, make sure that grain isn’t the first ingredient.


Much of the dog food available today contains problematic ingredients that put your pet’s health at risk. These ingredients include grains that can trigger allergies, meat contaminated with antibiotics, chemical preservatives, and artificial flavors and colors.

While the ideal dog food for rat terrier dogs is one that has meat as the first ingredient, you want to make sure that the meat used is of good quality. Much of the meat used to make dog food is grown with antibiotics and growth hormones, which just aren’t good for your dog.

As already mentioned, grains are problematic because they often lead to allergic reactions. They are also particularly hard on the digestive systems of small breeds like rat terriers.

Preservatives extend the shelf life of dog food. But if you think about it, the addition of these chemicals in dog food only benefits the retailer (longer shelf life) and you, the dog owner (fewer trips to the store). Sadly, many dog foods contain preservatives like BHA, which is a known carcinogen.

For your pet’s sake, it’s important that you scrutinize ingredient lists and check for potentially dangerous preservatives. None of the dog food we review below contains artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. All are made from natural ingredients for your dog’s optimum health.

Top 4 Rat Terrier Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Freedom Natural Grain-Free Small Breed Recipe Dry Dog Food

“Grain-free recipe with real meat”

  • Real meat is the first ingredient
  • Contains deboned chicken, peas, and potatoes
  • Has tomatoes, blueberries, carrots, and cranberries
  • With dozens of vitamins and minerals
  • No preservatives and artificial flavors

It ticks all the boxes: grain-free, meat-based, all-natural ingredients, chockfull of vitamins and minerals, no preservatives, and in the perfect size for smaller mouths.

dressed up rat terrier

Blue Buffalo’s dry dog food for small breeds is made from deboned chicken, a high-quality protein source that helps your rat terrier build strong bones and muscles.

The recipe does not contain any corn, soy, and grains that contain gluten. It’s specially formulated with increased levels of carbohydrates and protein for the metabolism of small breeds like your rat terrier.

One of the best things about Blue Buffalo is their exclusive LifeSource Bits. This is kibble that contains a precise blend of key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to boost your dog’s immunity.

The formula is also enriched with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin. These help keep your rat terrier’s coat shiny and helps prevent bone and joint problems. Blue Buffalo’s “small-bite” kibble is just right for small breeds and is shaped to help remove tartar.

Rat terriers can live up to 18 years.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free High-Protein Dry Dog Food

“Dog diet that nature intended”

  • Grain-free
  • Blend of real meats
  • Contains omega fatty acids
  • No preservatives and artificial flavors
  • Easy to digest

This is another high-quality kibble that I enthusiastically recommend, even if it’s not actually designed for small breeds like rat terriers. I suggest you try a sample pack first to see if the kibble might be too big for your dog. But that aside, Taste of the Wild is full of good ingredients that will benefit your rat terrier.

This recipe is formulated to resemble the diet of your dog’s wolf ancestors. Taste of the Wild believes that this is the best type of diet for your dog’s health and that the savory flavor will satisfy his cravings. Their dog food is loaded with real protein sources as well as real fruits and vegetables.

The recipe also contains probiotics for your dog’s gut health. Taste of the Wild is grain-free and contains no fillers, preservatives, and artificial flavors and colors. All the ingredients are sourced responsibly.

Hill’s Ideal Balance Small Breed Dry Dog Food

“Perfectly balanced nutrition”

  • Designed for small breeds
  • Real chicken meat
  • Contains omega fatty acids
  • Has real vegetables and fruits
  • No preservatives and artificial flavors

Hill’s Ideal Balance makes a dry dog food that’s specially formulated for small breeds. The product’s largest component is fresh chicken. It’s a good source of lean protein that satisfies your rat terrier’s protein needs but keeps him slim.

This isn’t a grain-free recipe, as it contains brown rice, whole grain barley, and whole grain oats. Hill’s Ideal Balance touts these as natural fiber sources for healthy digestion. But if you don’t want to give your pet gluten, you might want to go with a different dog food product.

This dog food does contain a nice blend of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids for your dog’s overall health and immunity. The ingredients list shows that it has flaxseed, broccoli, carrots, apples, green peas, and cranberries. There are also omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to keep your dog’s coat shiny and his skin healthy.

Hill’s Ideal Balance dog food does not contain preservatives, artificial flavors and colors, corn, soy, and wheat. The product is certified by AAFCO to provide complete and balanced nutrition for adult dogs.

NUTRO Small Breed Dry Dog Food

“Farm-raised chicken; wholesome ingredients”

  • Farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient
  • Small-sized kibble for small breeds
  • Contains an exclusive antioxidant blend
  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • Contains omega fatty acids

rat terrier dog smiling

Remember what I said about the meat in some below average dog foods being chockfull of antibiotics and other nasties? Well, this small breed dog food from Nutro goes above and beyond and uses only farm-raised chicken!

Aside from real chicken, the recipe also contains a unique mix of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The whole grains are there as a natural fiber source for good digestion while the fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals.

Nutro also contains a proprietary blend of antioxidants to boost your dog’s immune system health as well as omega fatty acids for bone and joint health and a soft, shiny coat.

There are plenty of commercially available dog foods that you can give your rat terrier. These are just some of my top choices based on the ingredients and the trustworthiness of the company.

I hope this guide helps you find the best dog food for rat terrier dogs so your fur baby can grow strong and healthy.

About the author

Sarah Andrews

Hi I'm Sarah, dog lover and blogger. I was born into a dog-loving family and have been a proud doggy mommy ever since I can remember. I love sharing my dog knowledge and love being an active part of the dog-loving community.

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