The ferret’s diet is precise and must be respected, otherwise its life can be threatened: a ferret eats meat (excluding cold meats), and that’s it. Any other food can be toxic or dangerous. We list the foods to eliminate from the ferret’s diet. You will see: the list is long.
The nature of the ferret
What is troubling for someone who is unfamiliar with ferrets is that it is impossible to rely on any instinct on the animal that would lead them to know what is good or bad for them.
Ferrets are by nature a very curious animal. All ferret owners know that they don’t hesitate to chew on all kinds of objects like gums or sponges and that there is only one rule: anticipate all the nonsense that the animal can do. to protect it from itself.
If you have green plants, you must identify them and keep them as far as possible out of reach of your ferret. Acalypha, aspargus, hyacinths, daffodils, begonias, browalia, boxwood, lily of the valley, iris, sweet pea, honeysuckle, oleander and lilies are some of the plants that can be toxic to a ferret if it ingests them.
Greedy, a ferret will be attracted by all kinds of sweets, cookies, cakes … If he has tasted it once, he will move heaven and earth to get some, not having the ability to make the link between food and diarrhea (or worse) that its ingestion will not fail to cause.
First category of foods to be banned from ferrets’ diets: dairy products
What ferrets do not digest in dairy products is lactose. However, all dairy products containing them, your ferret should not eat, and not even lick a residue lying around in a bowl, a pot or a plate.
As humans, we know dairy products for their calcium supply, which is essential for the strength of our bones. Ferrets also need calcium. To cover its needs, you give it the bones that can go with certain pieces of meat like in the thighs of a chicken or a duck. However, it is not recommended to give any bones other than large pieces such as those from the thighs of poultry. Other chicken bones or rabbit bones can break into very small pieces, which can block the ferret’s esophagus or even damage the digestive system from too sharp ends. A safer solution is to mix your pet’s meat ration with bone powder from the dog food section.
Second category of foods to ban: fruits and vegetables
Ferrets are animals that cannot be fed instinctively. As an omnivore, our balanced diet leads us humans to eat a bit of all food categories. But that is not how the body of a ferret works.
After dairy products, there is another large category of foods to ban from the ferret’s diet: fruits and vegetables. His digestive system is unable to digest fiber and ingesting fruits or vegetables can cause serious intestinal problems.
And yet, the ferret can love it. It is therefore necessary to keep any fruit or vegetable out of reach.
Unlike dairy products, you can still give him a very small amount as a reward (more than once a month), if he behaved well during the toilet for example.
But there is a list of fruits that turn out toxic for ferrets and should never be fed to them, even in very small quantities:
- grapes and raisins;
- garlic, onion and shallots;
- the lawyer;
- nuts ;
- the almonds ;
No sugar, salt or chocolate
We know that humans consume far too much sugar and salt, leading to an increasing number of cases of obesity and other disorders.
Ferrets are even more sensitive to this type of excess than we are. Sugar and salt have effects on his kidneys which filter these substances when they are present in excess. The filtering eventually wears down the organs and kidney failure occurs. Obesity is also threatening the ferret, even if it is a very active animal. And the sugar damages his teeth.
the chocolate (and therefore all cocoa products) is like a poison, to the ferret, as it is to many pets. The molecule that causes so much harm is theobromine. Thirst, vomiting, restlessness and tremors, or on the contrary sudden weakness and depression, are the main disorders that appear following intoxication. If large amounts of chocolate are ingested, it can lead to heart trouble and coma. Death can then occur quite quickly.
Watch out for raw eggs
Raw egg contains avidin, a substance that destroys biotin (also called vitamin H, B8 or coenzyme R), a very important vitamin in your animal since it participates in protein metabolism. Thus, only the raw egg yolk can be consumed by the ferret, without consequences for the animal.
You can give your ferret a whole egg, as long as you cook it first. Then be careful to let it cool down to prevent the animal from getting burned.
Watch out for bacteria in meat
If you are feeding your ferret raw meat, it is important to make sure it is fresh and has not been contaminated with bacteria.
As fish have an even more delicate conservation than meat, we must be extremely attentive to its freshness.
Ferrets only quench their thirst with water
Keep it simple: a ferret, like any animal, only drinks water. Never give him tea, coffee or soda: you will only make him very sick.
Can we offer a vegan diet to my ferret?
The vegan diet consists of eliminating all foods of animal origin from the diet. A person who follows such a diet because he has a deep respect for animals may therefore be tempted to adapt the principles of this diet to his ferret. The difficulty is that it is a strict carnivorous animal. He basically needs animal protein and his whole digestive system is adapted to this type of protein. Only the consumption of these can provide him with amino acids which are essential for him, because they are not found in vegetable proteins. Respect for an animal goes so far as to accept it as it is, without seeking to transform it. If it is difficult, because of his convictions, to feed his ferret with a suitable diet, it is better to give up adopting one. An improper diet can lead to poor digestion, pain, deficiency and ultimately poor health and a shorter life for the animal.
Why were ferrets given bread and milk?
Ferrets were bred for hunting and therefore are primarily hunting animals. Legend has it that hunters could feed their ferrets bread soaked in milk, possibly supplemented with cooked eggs. Such a diet was certainly only occasional, when ferret owners themselves had nothing else to eat. This remained very punctual because, together, poultry, rabbits and various hunting or poaching products, ensured a regular supply of animal protein. If the meat could still be missing, ferrets would not die, but their owners had to notice that they were sick.