Ferrets Food Favorites

Ferrets Food Favorites 1

A balanced diet gives ferret pets a long, active and healthy life. Understanding ferrets’ native feeding habits will guide you to layout the most nutritious spread for your friend. The natural diet of these carnivorous characters is rodents. Throughout history, domesticated ferrets were used as hunting animals and survived on the prey they captured. And in their wild, ancestral blood, ferrets are raw meat predators.

Predators eat not only the muscle meat of their prey but also all the other parts of the whole prey—muscle, organs, skin, feathers, fur and crunched up bones. So, the most healthy menu for our furry munchkins is whole small prey. A diet limited to muscle meat alone would cause harmful—and eventually fatal—nutritional imbalances in a ferret.

“Where’s the Beef?”

Ferret-sized whole prey animals include mice, rats, rabbits or chicks. These whole foods can be purchased frozen or live. Some ferret owners supplement their bestial diner’s diet of whole prey with raw meat like chicken, beef, veal, kangaroo, and wallaby.

Ferrets food has to be high in fat and protein—and low in carbohydrates and fiber. Our frisky friends get their energy from fat (not carbohydrates) and from meat protein (not vegetable proteins). Therefore, these active mammals require a diet that is highly concentrated in fat, has highly digestible meat and has minimal carbohydrates. Don’t feed grains, fruits, and vegetables to ferrets. They can’t digest the fiber present in these plant-based foods.

The next best alternative to providing ferret pets with a whole prey diet is to feed them a naturally prepared commercial ferret food. Many pet food companies are realizing that heat-processed food isn’t the answer to a natural animal diet. They’ve responded by producing raw, balanced, organic pet foods. These diets are available in either freeze-dried or frozen form.

High-quality commercial ferret foods are preferred to kitten foods by many ferret owners because specialized ferret rations are geared more toward a ferret’s metabolism than to a cat’s. Most adult cat foods and kitten foods are unsuitable for our frolicking friends because of the low protein content and high fiber of feline food. Some kitten foods can be used so long as they provide the high protein and fat content required by the ferret’s metabolism.

What Foods Aren’t So Beneficial for your Ferret?

Our cheery cohorts shouldn’t eat dog food, poor quality cat food, sugary cereal, peanut butter, grains, carbohydrates, raisins, bananas, other fruits, vegetables, dairy products, chocolate, other sweets, or any food with sugar. All of these items are loaded with complex carbohydrates. The digestive tract of the ferret is short, which makes it difficult for them to break down plant proteins. A ferret’s strictly carnivorous digestive system cannot easily process foods other than meat!

Diets high in carbohydrates may lead to intestinal problems and some types of cancer. Dog foods and vegetarian-type pet foods should be avoided because of the high level of vegetable proteins and fiber in them.

Ferrets aren’t very efficient in absorbing nutrients from any foods because food passes through their system rather quickly. So, streamlined animals eat small amounts often. They also stash extra food away to be eaten later.

And these sleek creatures eat only when they’re hungry, so dry pelleted food and freshwater should always be available. Moist food sours after a few hours, especially in warm weather. This is one of the advantages of a dry diet. Convenience and keeping quality are other advantages of dry pelleted food, plus the beneficial effect crunchy food has on your buddy’s teeth. Ferrets on moist diets develop much more plaque on their teeth than ferrets on dry diets.

Fussy Ferrets

Like some cats, ferrets can become hooked on a particular flavor or brand of food—even if the diet they prefer is nutritionally inadequate. It’s important to start your young critter on a good diet that’s likely to be easily available in the future. The best insurance is to feed a mixture of several kinds of the premium quality ferret and cat foods, so that your congenial kit becomes used to a variety of flavors—and doesn’t insist on just one. If one food is temporarily unavailable, your companion will be accustomed to the other ingredients of its diet and won’t notice a big change. Any time you have to drastically change the diet of a ferret, diarrhea and other digestive upsets are likely to follow. The more gradually a change in diet is made, the less upsetting it will be to your sensitive friend.