With the ferret gaining popularity as a favorite pet nowadays, more and more first time ferret owners and those who are thinking of owning one, are getting acquainted on how to properly care it.
The most widely asked question is what do ferrets eat? In making sure that you are giving the best possible nutrition for your pet, there are some information that you need to be aware of.
Can I Feed My Ferret Bread? It is Not Recommended!
A ferret is a strictly carnivore creature it needs a well-balanced and meat-based diet to stay strong and healthy. A ferret is not a vegetarian so it must not be fed with fruits and vegetables. A ferret also cannot easily digest large amounts of grains, fiber and complex carbohydrates like starches. So this means it cannot be fed with bread, cookies and cereals, among others.
It is therefore not recommended to include bread in a ferret’s daily diet. Ferret follows a strict and special diet because of its very delicate and short intestinal tract. This is also the reason why it needs to be fed very often because food usually passes through its intestine in about 3 to 4 hours.
A ferret’s diet must be composed of highly digestible food to allow for the short digestion time and not to mention should only be high in animal protein and fat, to help maintain its healthy immune system.
There have been reports of uninformed ferret owners who have fed their pets with bread and milk and this resulted to bad teeth, diarrhea, obesity and stink as well as poor nutrition which is detrimental to the pet’s health.
A ferret doesn’t require carbohydrates in its diet as long as it has enough fat and protein. If a ferret takes too much carbohydrates, it could cause diarrhea and a more serious problem in the long run which is insulinoma, a condition when too much insulin is released. Insulinoma is the complete opposite of diabetes and this causes blood sugar levels to drop very low and can be cause for hypoglycemia.
Another cause of premature death in ferrets is intestinal obstruction. Playful ferret love to eat anything it can get its hands on. It chews on all kinds of objects which is dangerous because these objects can be lodged in its intestine accidentally. And it’s not just objects but even food can also be deadly when taken by a ferret. That’s why you do not feed a ferret any grains and fiber based food like breads and cakes, nuts, fruits, vegetables and dairy products. They cannot be digested well by a ferret and can result to various digestive problems that include intestinal blockage.
An energetic ferret is always all over the place and you might never know what it puts on its mouth as it eats anything in sight. It is important to know the warning signs of a blockage and this includes vomiting, listlessness, stomachache and cannot defecate. If you suspect a blockage, take the ferret to a veterinarian immediately.
Usually, breads are used as a treat. It is easy to be charmed by a ferret. They are fun-loving and extremely sweet. As a ferret owner, you may sometimes feel the urge to feed it with treats more often. Such treats include breads, cake, cookies and cereal. The truth is that ferret doesn’t need these treats. They are not only insufficient health-wise but sometimes provide no dietary nutrition at all. High carbohydrate treats like bread may also lead to pancreatic diseases.
If you really need to give your ferret some treats, then choose well. While it is true that treats are good training aids and rewards for being well-behaved, they should not also cause bad effects to a ferret’s overall well-being and compromising its health. Make informed decisions when choosing treats for your ferret. You may choose suitable treats like high-protein and meat-based treats that are really meant for a ferret. Other examples would be: eggs and other egg products, frozen muscle and organ meat and baby food which is made from animal meat.
Keep in mind that treats are to be given occasionally and are not part of its daily diet. Ferrets also have this tendency to overeat so everything it takes should be properly moderated. And after all the best treats cannot substitute what the ferret actually really wants which is its owner’s care and attention. You don’t need to overfeed it to compensate.