Ferrets, like cats, are pure carnivores that need a high quantity of protein and fat in their diet.
Ferrets can be fun and endlessly entertaining pets, but before you bring home a ferret, you'll need to do some research into ferret nutrition. The more that you understand your ferret's nutritional needs, the better you can customize your ferret's diet to help keep him in good health.
Ferrets are a little less common than dogs and cats, so buying them food can be a little more complicated than just walking into a pet store and purchasing some food. You may need to get a little creative with what you feed your pet ferret depending on where you live and the foods available to you.
Dry Cat Food
Ferret food is not as easy to find in stores as cat food is, so you may wonder if it's okay to feed your ferret cat food or dog food.
Adult cat food or kibble generally does not have enough protein and fat for a ferret, but a good brand of kitten food will. Kitten food has a higher protein content and has more fat than adult cat food, so kitten food is fine to feed your ferret if you cannot find ferret pellets in the store.
Be sure to check the ingredients, though. Ferrets cannot digest carbohydrates, so make sure the kitten food contains no corn or grain, and meat is the first ingredient.
Ferrets also do not naturally eat fish. Chicken, beef, or lamb should be the first ingredient in a good ferret food, and it should be the first ingredient in the kitten food you select. Look for a high quality pet food that is made from meat products, rather than from lower-quality meat by-products.
The last thing you need to be aware of is the shape of the kitten food. Triangles, or any other shape with corners, can hurt your ferret's mouth. Round shapes are always best.
What About Treats?
You can feed your ferret cat treats if chicken or lamb is the first ingredient, and the treats are round or soft. Other great ferret treats are scrambled eggs and cooked or raw meat such as chicken, beef, or lamb. Lots of ferrets also like to eat small mice, which you can buy frozen at the pet store.
It is fine to feed your ferret fresh meat regularly, but dry food is an important part of a ferret diet because it helps clean their teeth.
Ferrets might like to eat sweets, but sugar is not good for their digestive system.
Is There Anything Else I Shouldn't Feed My Ferret?
A ferret's diet should be low in fiber, so it is not a good idea to feed ferrets fruits or vegetables. Ferrets also cannot digest carbohydrates well, so do not feed your ferret any grains, even if they are whole grains.
Chocolate is toxic to ferrets, like it is for dogs, so be sure chocolate is well out of reach. It is not a good idea to feed your ferret any sugary foods in general.
Lastly, ferrets should not eat any dairy products. They do not have the enzyme required to digest lactose.
When feeding your ferret, remember to stick to animal protein from meat or eggs. The best food will have a high protein content, be low in or free of preservatives, and will meet your ferret's nutritional needs. You may feed a combination of pet food and raw food, and it can get expensive to offers your ferret these premium foods. However, it's well worth the cost when the diet can help to keep your ferret healthy and happy.