14 Ferret Diet and Food Tips

Stacey C. Slagle

What should I feed my ferret? What should I avoid feeding my ferret?

1 – Your pet ferret is an obligate carnivore. This means that your ferret’s diet must be meat-based.

2 – Feeding your ferret live mice and birds is not recommended. The chance of passing on disease is great and domesticated ferrets do not recognize live animals as food.

3 – When purchasing food for your ferret it is important that you understand how to read the labels on the food. Ingredients are typically listed in order of composition = the largest percentage of ingredients are first and so on.

4 – The most plentiful ingredient in ferret food should be meat (typically poultry). This is the primary source of the protein and fat he requires.

5 – Protein is important for the development of muscle and bone, and helps in the manufacture of blood cells. Strive for a minimum of 30% protein in your pet’s diet, 35% is better. Note: this needs to be meat protein and not plant protein.

6 – If your ferret eats a poor diet it will tax his disease resistance and he will be forced to eat more food to compensate for the poor quality of nutrients. This also leads to more litter box mess

7 – Ferrets require a high fat content in their diets. At various stages in his life, the requirements might vary a little. 18 percent is considered a good level for the average ferret, a very young or active ferret may need more like 25% fat content in order to be healthy.

8 – Like humans, a good diet is sufficient. Additives and supplements are normally not required. The danger with supplements is that if they are not closely monitored they may lead to pet obesity.

9- Your ferret’s digestive tract is not designed to handle fiber in his diet. Stay clear of these foodstuffs.

10 – Starches are able to be digested but only if they are cooked. You may find that the manufacturer of your ferret’s food includes such ingredients as corn, soybeans or rice. These are used by feed manufacturers to hold the food together. Among these so called “binders”, rice is the most digestible and therefore the best choice for your ferret. Starches can provide some nutrients but are not as beneficial as proteins or fats.

11 – Another important part of your ferret’s diet is vitamins. A good quality ferret food will include these elements so no additional vitamins need to be administered. There is always the danger that you might harm your furry friend by giving him more vitamins than his system can healthily handle.

12 – Minerals round out the important elements of your ferret’s diet. Once again, starting with a well chosen ferret food will provide your ferret with all the minerals he needs and preclude the need for mineral supplements.

13 – Occasionally your ferret might have an allergic reaction to something he eats. Ferrets are particularly sensitive to some corn-based products. This is another reason to check his food ingredients and stick with rice binders. If your ferret has unusual stools or bloating get him to the veterinarian for a checkup. Neglecting these symptoms can lead to serious problems for your furry friend.

14 – Water must be available to your ferret at all times to promote proper digestion of his food. It should be changed a number of times per day to keep it fresh and clean.

As you can see, feeding your ferret requires a basic understanding of his dietary needs, a commitment to feed him the best food available and keeping him away from those things that can harm him. A properly fed ferret is a healthy and happy family member.

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