It is important to feed ferrets the proper diet. Like any other creature, the proper foods go a long way towards keeping your ferret healthy. A good diet is important to prevent health problems and help your ferret live a long life.
For one thing, it’s important to keep in mind ferrets are meat eaters. Their diet needs to have lots of protein because of that fact. In years past, premium cat food used to be the only food available for ferrets, and while that is still an option, these days there are numerous brands of good foods specifically made to feed ferrets.
Good ferret foods provide the higher-quality fat needed, as well as lower content of carbohydrates. These products should have at least 35- 40% protein and 18-30% fat, 2% fiber, need to contain 21 amino acids, less than 7.0 % ash level, and good carbohydrate ingratiates such as rice flower or brewer’s yeast.
Check the ingredients, because a few ferret foods are made with poorly processed frozen fish. Some ferrets will not eat this, and would literally starve to death before consuming it.
Although high quality ferret food is usually more expensive than higher quality cat food, it’s a case of “you get what you pay for.” The food that is made specifically for ferrets should better meet their nutritional requirements. Ferrets that are fed with healthy diets do not need to take supplements. Also, ferrets don’t eat huge amounts of the food, which brings down the overall cost.
How Often Should You Feed Ferrets?
To stay healthy, a ferret needs to eat at least twice a day in order to consume enough calories. However, keep in mind that ferrets are small animals, so their portions should be small too.
Dry pellets are long lasting and can be left in the cage all day. They also help clean the ferret’s teeth.
Moist foods should not be left in the cage for lengthy periods, but removed within an hour or so. Otherwise bacteria could start to grow on the food and make your ferret sick.
Be sure your ferret has fresh water available at all times. Ferrets prefer to drink from a dish rather than a water bottle, but if water is given in a dish it should be changed at least once a day to make sure it stays fresh and pure.
Should You Feed Ferrets Treats?
Although it isn’t necessary to feed treats to ferrets, sometimes it can be useful with training and/or housebreaking your ferret.
At one time, grapes and raisins were thought to be good treats for ferrets. However, these foods contain a lot of sugar which is bad for your ferret. This can lead to health problems such as insulinoma (tumors in the pancreas), contributing to low blood sugar with time. These problems are hard to deal with and can even lead to death.
Raisins and grapes also contain fibers that are hard to digest for ferrets. They have a short intestine, and their digestion is suited for the carnivore, not a grain eater.
To avoid health problems, do NOT feed the following to your ferret:
- Dairy products (ice cream, milk, etc.)
- Nuts and nut products
- Onions (poisonous to ferrets)
These foods could cause health problems like malnutrition, obesity, tooth decay, diarrhea, intestinal blockage, insulinoma, and hypoglycemia.
So what kind of treat is good for your ferret? There are commercially made treats made of meats that work well, or you can try hard-boiled eggs, baby-food meats, or cooked meats.
Remember, treats should be just that… a treat. They should not make up more than 10% of your ferrets diet.
Providing a ferret with the proper nutrition is essential for a healthy life. The right foods will minimize the risk of serious life-threatening illnesses. Though those cute little faces may tempt you to feed them whatever you’ve having, remember it could make them sick. Show them you really care by sticking to the right ferret feed so they can live a long and healthy life.