Ferrets, like cats, are obligate carnivores. They require a high protein (32-40%), low carb (2% or less) diet that has a moderate amount of fat (20-23%). Ferret-specific diets are ideal to match their nutritional needs, but be sure to read the label as not all ferret diets have the ideal ratio of protein, fats, and carbs. Not all diets are made equally, so be sure to do your research!
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How to Feed Your Ferret
Ferrets, like cats, also have a high need for an amino acid called Taurine. This is added to good quality ferret diets. If you elect to home cook for your ferret, be sure to discuss the diet with your vet and ideally a veterinary nutritionist to ensure the diet is not deficient in any of the necessary vitamins, minerals, or amino acids.
Ferrets have a short intestinal tract, so this means they need to eat and poop often. It usually takes only 3-4 hours for food that was eaten to pass through the entire GI tract.
Ferrets in the wild will eat about 10 small meals per day. Leaving food out at all times is easier than trying to give your ferret 10 meals per day! Just be sure to offer fresh food each day and discard any uneaten food the following day.
What Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Ferret
Ferrets do not process vegetables, nuts, sugary items, or dried fruits, so avoid these items. Nuts can also lead to obstruction or blockage of the stomach or intestinal tract which can be fatal.
Good treats for ferrets include cooked eggs, cooked chicken breast, chicken or turkey baby food, and insects such as crickets, mealworms, or earthworms. Some ferrets enjoy baby chicks or mice also, which can be purchased frozen and then thawed at home. Just like with other pets, treats should be given in moderation only.
Ferretone is a liquid supplement that many people refer to as “ferret crack”. Ferrets tend to LOVE this product and you can use it to distract them during nail trims, vet visits, etc. Just offer some from a syringe or smear a little on the ferret’s tummy for them to lick off.
Enrichment with Food
To help provide enrichment and reduce boredom in ferrets, you can hide some of the food and treats in the enclosure and out in the house when they play. This allows them to forage and “hunt” for their food.
You can bury the food in their blankets or towels or hide some in an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll and twist the ends closed so the ferrets can tear it apart to get the food reward.
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