Ferrets are fun, energetic pets that require special considerations some owners may overlook. From toys to treats, it’s important to understand these creatures’ habits and needs to ensure that you provide your pet with the best care.
To keep your ferret vibrant and healthy, you need to feed it a quality diet. Thankfully, it has become easier to find food that is formulated specifically for it.
Marshall Premium Ferret Diet is the best choice for most ferrets, thanks to its high nutritional content, meat-based ingredients and tasty flavor.
While many animals can eat a wide range of foods, ferrets are obligate carnivores. This means that they eat meat exclusively and cannot survive without food that is rich in meat-based protein. Their bodies are unable to derive nutrition from fruits, legumes or vegetables.
Ferrets have fast metabolisms and short digestive tracts. Because of this, they need to eat every three to four hours. Food should be kept available to them at all times to make sure they can snack as needed. While other animals such as dogs may immediately devour any food available to them, there is little risk of your ferret overeating and becoming obese.
Dry food is ideal because it can be left in your ferret’s cage without the danger of spoilage associated with canned alternatives. Because ferrets can be destructively playful, dry food also prevents your pet from making a mess of itself if its wrestling sends it tumbling into the food dish.
Senior and baby ferrets can sometimes find it hard to chew dry food. Instead of opting for perishable canned food, add a small amount of water to your pet’s kibble to soften it.
Protein makes up the bulk of a healthy ferret’s diet. Select food that has at least 30%-40% protein and is animal-based. The first ingredient in any quality ferret kibble should be whole meat such as chicken, beef or lamb. Plant-based proteins derived from soy, beans or peas will not give your pet the nutrients it requires and are to be avoided.
Fat is a critical energy source for ferrets, as their bodies don’t efficiently process carbohydrates. Your ferret’s food should contain 20% to 30% fat. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are required by your pet and premium food will provide these nutrients in the form of chicken fat.
Specialty ferret foods that meet their requirements with regard to fat and protein content will already contain the vitamins and minerals that your pet needs. Supplements shouldn’t be necessary except in cases of illness.
Most ferret foods use small amounts of grain or plant-based ingredients as binding agents. This is a filler that your pet will gain no nutritional benefit from, so reject any foods that contain it in large amounts. There are foods available that contain no grains whatsoever that closely resemble a ferret’s natural diet, but they are expensive and hard to find.
Ferrets aren’t particularly picky eaters, so it’s up to you to determine what kind of kibble shape and texture to give your pet. Crunchy food will keep your ferret’s teeth clean, so avoid food that is too crumbly or soft. Older ferrets may have difficulty chewing especially hard food pieces, however, so keep your pet’s age and health in mind.
Protein-rich ferret food generally costs $15-$30 per 5-pound bag.
A. While cat and kitten food used to be recommended for ferrets, new research has determined that a special ferret diet is a much healthier choice.
A. Small pieces of cooked egg or raw meat are ideal ferret treats. Pet food manufacturers also offer packaged treats. Avoid sugar, dairy, dog treats, spices and any human foods, as these can be harmful to your pet.
A. Fish, especially salmon, is a great source of both protein and fatty acids. However, it should be given sparingly. A diet high in fish oil can make your already fragrant companion unpleasantly smelly.
What you need to know: Chicken is the first ingredient in this nutritionally rich ferret kibble.
What you’ll love: With no less than 38% crude protein, this food’s animal-based ingredients and fatty acids keep your pet healthy and its coat shiny. Low-temperature processing ensures that this food maintains its nutritional value.
What you should consider: This food is pricier than those offered by competing brands.
What you need to know: This ferret food is affordable but still packed with protein.
What you’ll love: This kibble features a wide range of shapes and textures to keep mealtime interesting. Three of its four top ingredients are poultry-based.
What you should consider: This food has more filler in it than more expensive options.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This food is loaded with quality ingredients that provide ferrets with specialized nutrition to aid in digestion.
What you’ll love: With a whopping 62% of crude protein, this ferret kibble comes close to feeding your pet a meat diet. It’s also high in fat and includes organic chicken as its second ingredient.
What you should consider: Some ferrets dislike the flavor of this food formula and refuse to eat it.
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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.