Treats are yummy. Kids love them and so do adults so it’s only natural for pet owners to want to give their pet ferret some snacks and treats to make their loved pets happy as well.
Ferrets have unique feeding requirements as they are carnivores and have difficulty deriving nutrition from plant matter. Ferrets’ digestive systems are small and when this is coupled with their high metabolism, they need to eat quite frequently, usually every 3 to 4 hours so it’s important to have the right food available at all times. Their diet need to be high in animal protein, fat but low in fiber.
Giving Dog Treats to Your Ferret
It’s important to remember that treats are a human concept and as much as possible, treats and snacks should be limited.
You may give your ferret dog treats as well as cat treats but make sure that the content of the treats are mostly mean like chicken, duck, turkey and the like. Do not give your pet milk bones, pig ears as well as allow them to play with raw hid dog chews.
Fruit based treats like apple or banana and other fruit chunks are not advised as well as fish-based biscuits or meat. It would be best to stick to meat based treats that their body would have an easier time digesting.
It is important to emphasize that all food should be taken in moderation. Sugary, salty and overly sweet or high fiber food is not best for ferrets. When giving your pet snacks, refrain from giving it every day and break of the treats into smaller pieces so your pet won’t have a tough time chewing, swallowing and digesting the snack.
Nutritional issues occur when you give ferrets the wrong type of food and treats. Overfeeding sugary items can cause obesity, tooth decay, hypoglycemia as well as insulinomas. As much as ferrets enjoy raisins, they contain a large amount of sugar.
Treats, of course, make good training rewards and aids but should be used VERY sparingly.
Other treats that you may give your pet ferret could be eggs (hard boiled, scrambled), bits of cooked meats, or freeze dried liver treats. Commercial ferret treats may only be used if you are positive that they are meat based. Try to avoid items that contain grains, nuts, vegetables, fruits as well as sugars because they would be difficult for your carnivorous pet to digest.
Ferret Diet Information
According to experts, the basic requirement for a ferret diet would be the following:
- High in protein – food should contain around 32% to 36% protein and about 20% of fat
- Protein should be made of high quality, highly digestible, and be animal-based (not plant-based)
- Very low in carbohydrates and fiber (less than 3 percent fiber)
The good thing about owning a pet ferret nowadays is that there are now several ferret dietary products available in your local pet store and grocery.
Although there is now a debate if ferrets should be given kitten food, it’s an alternative that many ferret owners opt for. Ferrets will eat meat, but you should not give them seafood or fish products. You may opt to mix ferret food with cat food because cat food is slightly different so they may miss some of the essential nutrients as they are not made specifically for ferrets.
It’s best to give ferrets high quality dry ferret or kitten food because hard food will keep their teeth clean and make their feces less smelly. Aside from this, since ferrets eat frequently, you can leave the food out and not have to worry so much about preparing food for their next meal.
It’s important to check labels and pick foods with only high quality animal proteins at the top of the ingredient list, and make sure they are high in fat and very low in grains, sugar, and fiber. As a general rule, refrain from going for generic or “grocery store” brands at all costs, as these are typically very poor for ferrets.
Along with a good diet, ferrets on dry diets must have a constant water supply. Generally, the volume of water required is estimated at about three times the volume of dry pellets eaten.
When the weather is warm, make sure to have water on hand at all times as they will drink more. Note that ferrets that have no water for 24 hours will stop eating. Water bottles are convenient but they would tend to be less sanitary and usually ferrets prefer to drink from a dish and will drink much more from a dish than from a bottle.