Ferrets are very curious, playful animals that have many different needs. They require a specialized diet and can be picky about what they eat.
There are also certain foods that should never be given to a ferret, as these could lead to serious health problems or even death.
Here is some information on what ferrets can and cannot eat.
Ferrets are carnivorous mammals that have a diet primarily consisting of meat. They can be fed a variety of different meats, but need to be given bones as well. The most common types of meat include chicken, beef, and lamb. Ferrets should not be given any dairy products, such as milk or cheese.
What do ferrets eat?
Your ferret needs to have a diet that is meat based, vegetable and fruit are not suitable as they contain too much fiber which ferrets cannot digest properly.
You can also feed kitten food, purpose made dried ferret food and an occasional treat of egg.
What can ferrets not eat?
Dairy products are not good for your ferret and could cause digestive distress, so no milk, yogurt or cheese.
Foods with high fat content are also a problem as they could lead to obesity. Milk is generally bad for all pets.
Ferrets should never be fed adult cat food or dog food because they often contain vegetable protein which can be harmful to ferrets.
You should not feed fruit or vegetables to your ferret. These contain vegetable proteins that ferrets cannot digest and which can lead to a variety of illnesses and other health problems.
Ferrets need to eat little and often
It is better to give your ferret small portions of food regularly as opposed to larger meals.
Many ferrets will eat until they are full and will then hoard the remainder. For meat based foods this presents risks of bacteria and maggots, all of which can be problematic for your pet.
If you are going out and need to leave food for your ferret then dried ferret food is a good option, you can leave it down and you can always offer some raw meat when you return.
Keeping it fresh
When feeding meat-based foods, make sure that you wash the food thoroughly first before giving it to your pet otherwise there is a risk of bacteria or parasites contaminating the food which could cause serious illness or disease.
What do ferrets drink?
Water should always be available for your ferret but this does not necessarily mean giving them free access to the water bowl.
It is more important that your ferret has constant access to clean water and so providing a fresh bowl of clean water at all times or using a bottle for them to drink from should be enough, but always check the water first.
Water helps to maintain their hydration levels, which is particularly important when you consider that ferrets have a relatively high metabolic rate compared to other animals, meaning that they produce lots of heat as well as burning many calories during exercise.
Ferrets are very active creatures and they will need plenty of fluids while they are running around, this is especially true in hot weather when they can lose large amounts of body fluids through panting.
Your pet could become severely dehydrated if does not drink enough, so always make sure that they have access to water at all times.
Ferrets should never drink milk
Never give your ferret milk because this will cause them to become severely dehydrated and they could become ill as a result.
It only takes small amounts of dairy products to have an adverse effect on your ferret’s health and all types of dairy products including cheese, butter, ice-cream or cream are not good for them.
Ferrets should never drink beer or alcohol
Some people believe that giving their pets alcohol is fine as long as it is in moderation, but this simply isn’t true.
Ferrets cannot hold their alcohol like humans do so any amount of booze will affect them severely.
Alcohol remains in the blood stream much longer than it does in human beings and exposure has many damaging effects on the body including brain damage and nerve damage throughout the body resulting in paralysis or tremors.
Ferrets are pets that need constant care and attention, but it is worth the effort as they make amazing companions with a lot of personality.
If you take the time to learn about their nutritional needs then you can feed them healthy, balanced diets and give your ferret a long, happy life.