Ferrets are carnivores. Their bodies require high quantities of protein and fat in their diet. If you feed your pet ferret with more carbohydrates and vegetable protein, it will get sick soon since it’s digestive system is not intended for breaking down carbohydrates. It also has a short intestinal tract that cannot absorb nutrients efficiently. So, you will need to provide your pet with more protein from meat, in a small amount, but more often. If you are looking for the best ferret food for your pet, this guide might be of help.
What should you feed your pet ferret?
Food fed to ferrets passes through their digestive system quickly and they also have a fast metabolic rate. This means that they will need to be fed at least every 3-4 hours. Though you may find several commercially made ferret foods in the market, not all of these may provide the right nutrition for your pet, which means you will need to be careful when looking for the foods that you may feed to your docile pet.
Your best option would be raw meat, such as that of a rabbit, game bird, pigeon, lamb, chicken, turkey meat, and so on. You may also offer raw animal bones to your pet to provide calcium for your ferret. This can also help clean your pet’s teeth. Mice, rats, and chicks may also be offered as whole preys. Be sure, however, that anything that you offer to your pet is of high-quality or are sourced out from reputable retailers to lessen the risk of providing an ill or a parasite-ridden prey.
You also need to make sure that your pet has not saved any leftover for its next meal as raw meat go stale quite rapidly. Spoiled meat can grow bacteria and viruses that can cause foodborne illnesses to your ferry.
To ensure the optimum health of your pet ferret, you will need to make sure its diet should consist of about 32 – 38% protein and about 15 – 20% fat.
What you should not feed your ferret?
Ferrets should not be fed with food that is high in complex carbohydrates since these foods contain fiber.
Note that since a ferret’s digestive tract does not contain a cecum, it cannot produce bacteria that can help digest complex carbohydrates. That means you will need to provide your pet ferret with a diet that is low in fiber.
A high carbohydrate diet can also cause an excess of glucose in your pet’s blood, which can lead to the development of beta cell tumors known as insulinoma according to Susan Brown, DVM, make ferret treats. So, if you feel like feeding your pet with some carb-rich food, think twice.
Vegetables, on the other hand, contain vegetable protein, which your ferret can’t digest very well also. If your pet eats too much of these, it may develop any of these diseases: bladder stones, ulcerations of the skin, gastroenteritis, reduced reproduction ability. If your pet conceives, her young might also suffer from poor growth.
Below are foods rich in carbohydrates and fiber that you should not offer to your pet:
- Brussel sprouts
- Chocolate ( contains theobromide, which can be fatal to some pets when taken in large doses)
- Dried plums
- Green Beans
- Kiwi fruit
- Lima Beans
- Peanut butter
- Pigeon beans
- Pink beans
- Pinto beans
- Small white beans
- Split peas
- Sweet potato
- Winged beans
If this is your first time to care for a pet ferret, you may get overly excited every time feeding time comes. You may think that your pet is not getting enough, so you will offer more food to it. As mentioned earlier, your ferret has a small tummy to fill. That means it will require less food. But as it has a short digestive tract, the small portion that it consumes every 3-4 hours can easily be consumed and the wastes removed from its body. Frequent feeding is therefore necessary.
Giving your pet ferret inappropriate foods can lead to obesity, food-related illnesses, as well as a shortened lifespan, however. The more you know about your ferret’s diet, the better you will be able to provide the right nutrition to your pet.
A basic understanding that you get from reading through this guide will be your starting point to providing the right diet to your pet ferret. It will also help if you check studies and reviews from reputable sources. Observing your ferret’s behavior while eating and its body’s response to the food provided for it will also provide you with a better idea on how to handle your pet’s feeding needs.