The Rat Terrier is well-known for being tough and compact. They are smaller than most dogs, standing at only 13 inches tall. However, they are sturdy for their size. These dogs are also famed for their happy-go-lucky attitude. They are portable companions.
These dogs were bred to be exterminators, hence their name. Their active lifestyle means that they need high-quality food to thrive.
Choosing this food can be more challenging than it sounds. There is a lot that goes into excellent dog food, including the macronutrient content, ingredients, and even the brand. To help you choose the best food for your Rat Terrier, we ranked and reviewed eight different dog foods currently available. These are some of the most popular and widely available brands.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022
The 8 Best Dog Foods for Rat Terriers
1. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
The Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is made with novel protein such as bison and buffalo. It is made without any grains, though it does include things like peas and sweet potatoes, and plenty of antioxidants from real fruit, which can help protect your pup from the effects of aging. It also includes lots of fatty acids for a healthy coat. Without any grain, corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, this food is free from many low-quality ingredients common in other dog foods.
This food also includes a probiotics blend to help your dog’s digestion, which is good for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
We loved that this food is made in the USA by a family-owned company. That means that the food is made using strict food safety protocols, limiting the likelihood that dangerous ingredients may end up in your dog’s food.
2. Purina ONE SmartBlend Dry Dog Food – Best Value
Purina ONE SmartBlend Dry Dog Food is exceptionally inexpensive. However, it is still a decent dog food, though it is not nearly as good as our top pick. It uses real chicken as the first ingredient, which is a reliable protein source for most dogs. As long as your dog isn’t allergic to chicken, they can eat this food. It also contains plenty of omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin. Natural sources of glucosamine can support your dog’s joint. While rat terriers don’t typically have joint problems, this may help those that do.
This food is not grain-free. The grain isn’t necessarily bad for dogs, which we will discuss in our buyer’s guide below. Like many dog foods, this one also includes various antioxidants from real fruits—added zinc and selenium help with your dog’s immune system.
The main negative of this dog food is that it is low in protein at only 26%. This is significantly lower than our top pick, but not the lowest on the market. We still consider it the best dog food for Rat Terriers for the money.
3. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Dog Food – Best for Puppies
Puppies need a specific diet to grow and thrive. Otherwise, they may become at risk for certain health conditions, especially regarding their joints. Out of all the puppy foods we looked at, we preferred the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Dog Food. This dog food is perfectly formulated for puppies, including giant puppies who need more vitamins and minerals to reach their huge sizes.
This dog food is full of calcium, phosphorus, and other essential nutrients required to grow a puppy. The kibble is smaller than usual to accommodate smaller mouths and puppy teeth. Like many dog foods we’ve reviewed, this one does contain a large amount of antioxidant-rich ingredients, which can help your pet’s immune system function ultimately.
This formula is decently high in protein at 27%. It could be a bit higher in fat, but it isn’t so low that we would consider disqualifying it from this list.
4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is designed for adult dogs of all breeds. It is made with real chicken as the first ingredient and is grain-free. It does include peas, which may be linked to specific health problems in dogs. Pea protein occurs very early in the ingredient list. Like many dog foods high on our list, it does include various omega-3s and omega-6s so that it will support your dog’s coat and skin.
This formula also includes “LifeSource Bits,” which are just pieces of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These ingredients are common in most dog foods, so there is nothing unique here, despite the advertising.
We loved that this food contains 34% protein. However, much of this protein comes from peas. Because of this, you should not mistake this high protein content to mean that the food contains a lot of meat. The fat is relatively low at only 15%, much lower than most of the other dog foods on this list.
5. Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food
Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food is another relatively cheap dog food. It is much cheaper than most of the competition, but you are sacrificing some quality, which is why this food is so low on our list. It is made with farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient, which is a high-quality option. It also has a blend of prebiotics and fibers. These two ingredients can support a healthy digestive tract and may help prevent stomach upset. To help with your dog’s immune system, this dog food also contains quite a few antioxidants.
Despite these great features, though, this food is deficient in protein. It only contains 25% protein, which is much lower than most of the other products we’ve reviewed. Fat is also low at 14%. Our dogs need fat and protein to thrive and avoid possible health problems. This food has more carbohydrates than most of our dogs need. This is the primary reason we rated it so low on our list.
6. VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food
While the VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food is advertised as high-quality food, it wasn’t our favorite. It is quite expensive – much more so than most of the foods on this list. This food does contain 88% meat protein and is relatively high in protein overall. In fact, at 30%, it is higher than most other foods on this list. Most of this protein does come from animals, and this food contains a wide variety of different animal ingredients, including beef meal, pork meal, and chicken meal.
The fat content in this food is also pretty high at 20%. This is quite a bit higher than most other options on this list.
This food is not grain-free, but it does contain only gluten-free grain, so it may be suitable for dogs that are sensitive to grain. We liked that this food did not contain any peas, corn, wheat, or soy. This makes it more suitable for dogs that are sensitive to these somewhat harsher ingredients.
7. Diamond Naturals All Life Stages Dry Dog Food
The Diamond Naturals All Life Stages Dry Dog Food is designed for all life stages. It is made with real cage-free chicken and other whole foods. We liked that this food includes plenty of added vitamins and antioxidants, which are the usual ingredients in most quality dog food. We liked the added omega fatty acids, keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy. This dog food also includes a probiotic blend to support your dog’s digestive health.
This food is made in the USA and is free from corn, filler, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
However, this food is relatively low in protein for the price. It includes only 26% protein and 16% fat. This is not too high, as we would expect it to be for food that costs as much as this one. The fat is one of the lower percentages on this list. This is a significant reason why we put this food so low on the list. In our option, this food isn’t worth it for most dogs.
8. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Bites Dry Dog Food
At first, you might consider Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Bites Dry Dog Food to be excellent dog food for a Rat Terrier. It is designed with small kibble for tiny mouths, and it is quite expensive. It includes a blend of fatty acids and quite a bit of vitamin E, which can help dogs with sensitive skin. This formula includes no artificial ingredients, flavors, or preservatives. Most of the ingredients are quite digestible, so that it may work for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
This dog food contains chicken as the first ingredient. However, the rest of the ingredient list is pretty low-quality. This food includes a lot of carbohydrates. Protein is only at 20%, and fat is only at 11.5%. Because these two macronutrients are low, we know the carbohydrates are relatively high. As you might imagine, dogs do not need many carbohydrates to thrive. Instead, they need plenty of fat and protein, which this food doesn’t provide.
The low protein and fat content are the big reason we rated this food at the bottom. It just doesn’t include what our dogs need the thrive, so we recommend choosing something else.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Dog Foods for Rat Terriers
As you can glean from our reviews, there is a lot that goes into choosing good dog food for your Rat Terrier. With a bit of background knowledge, however, you’ll soon be choosing dog foods like a pro. Below, we’ve discussed some of the essential guidelines for choosing the best dog food for your canine.
If you keep these in mind while shopping, you’ll be able to choose the perfect dog food.
The macronutrients are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Different species need different ratios of these ingredients. Many studies have been done on what macronutrients domestic dogs thrive most on.
One particular study allowed dogs to control their diet. Because animals tend to prefer the foods they need the most, this is an excellent way to tell what nutrients individual animals need. This study found that dogs need a high amount of fat and protein, but very few carbohydrates. Therefore, we can assume that our dogs would do best on a high-protein, high-fat dog food.
Based on this information, we rated dog foods higher if they were high in protein and fat. The quality of the protein and fat mattered as well, though. We preferred animal-based protein and fat, as these are going to provide the nutrition our dogs need. All protein is made out of amino acids, for example. Our dogs need certain amino acids to thrive. Because they evolved to eat meat, meat products tend to have more of the amino acids they need. On the other hand, not all vegetable protein is complete.
Most commercial foods contain way more carbohydrates than most dogs need, so you need to look hard to find one that is high in protein and fat. We did the work for you in our reviews section.
Peas and the FDA
Recently, the FDA has started an investigation into an increased number of DCM in canines. This is a severe heart disease that can lead to death in severe cases. In their research, the FDA determined that the sudden increase was diet-related. However, they are still investigating what these dogs have been eating that has given them a weakened heart.
Thus far, almost all of the affected dogs are eating grain-free foods. Furthermore, many of them seem to be eating foods that contain a lot of peas and sweet potatoes. Because of this, you may want to avoid foods that are high in these ingredients for this reason. While we have no sure answers yet, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry.
Some brands seem to be significantly linked to this heart condition. These brands include Acana and Zignature.
Grain-Free vs. Grain-Inclusive
Many dog food companies would like you to believe that grain-free foods are always better for your dog. However, this is not true. Studies have shown that dogs have evolved to eat grain. They can get quite a few of the nutrients they need from whole grain, though the same thing cannot be said for refined grains.
Because of this, we do not necessarily recommend choosing a grain-free food for your canine. Suppose you find a food that is grain-free and high-quality. Then feed it to your dog by all means. However, don’t just purchase food because it is grain-free and assume that it is a good choice – some are less healthy than grain-inclusive foods.
Deciding on dog food for your Rat Terrier can be difficult. Hopefully, our reviews and buyer’s guide helped you sort through all the different options.
Overall, we recommend the Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This food contains a fair bit of protein and fat. We also appreciated that it included a nice blend of probiotics.
For those who need to spend as little money as possible, we also recommend the Purina ONE SmartBlend Dry Dog Food. It features chicken as the first ingredient and includes nutrients to support healthy joints.
Featured Image Credit: David O’Dell, Shutterstock