Ferrets are naturally carnivorous predators. They are exotic pets and have different nutritional needs. As they do not have a cecum, the part of the intestine for fruits and vegetables digestion, their daily diet should consist mainly of meat and poultry. Ferrets need a lot of protein and raw meat can definitely provide the high amount of protein that their body requires.
Can I Give My Ferret Raw Meat? Yes, but not raw meat alone
Despite the fact that they are meat eaters, it is not necessary that you serve your ferret raw meat only.
Keep in mind that if your pet has never had raw meat before, its stomach may be upset at first. If you really wish to feed your ferret with raw meat, start slowly with small amounts. Be careful about giving your beloved pet anything that is new to him. It is best to observe first how he will cope with it.
While feeding raw meat may be a good idea, it is not nutritionally balanced for your ferret. When they are in their natural habitat, ferrets would eat the bones and organs along with the meat. In the wild, such diet would be ideal for ferrets as they would get all the goodness of the innards, calcium from the bones and protein from the meat, all together. Therefore, feeding them with meat alone would lead to incomplete nutrition.
Also, be very careful in feeding your pet with raw food. Raw meat may also contain microorganisms that can cause health risk to both ferrets and humans. Though ferrets need meat in their diet, you can somehow cook it in order to destroy any form of harmful parasites in the meat.
But if you only want to give your pet raw meat alone, please think about providing a good vitamin and mineral supplement. Feeding your ferret with only raw meat promotes imbalanced nutrition. And ferrets likewise need calcium to avoid the possibility of developing osteodystrophy.
Adding taurine supplement is also important for the overall health of your pet. A diet containing taurine is necessary for your ferret’s heart as it will help avoid cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a condition that could bring about congestive heart failure and then death. Taurine is also essential for good eye function.
So if you’re planning to start a fresh meat diet for your ferret, ensure to add certain minerals and vitamins to his food. Remember that there are many cases wherein ferrets die due to malnutrition.
Basically, you can give your ferret most types of meat. Raw meats are generally great for ferrets, as long as they are prepared properly. Make sure as well that there is no sugar in the meat that you serve. It is also best to stay away from any wheat based protein as they may contain fiber. Ferrets won’t be able to digest fibers so be very careful in what you give your pet.
You may also incorporate some treats and snacks to your ferrets diet. However, ensure that whatever you give him is geared towards meeting his nutritional requirements. Never give him treats that at too sugary or those with salt. Some say that treat should not be given to ferrets but you can pretty much take advantage of it if you know how to use it. Use it as a form of reward when you are trying to discipline your pet. Besides, your pet deserves a little treat every now and then. Just ensure that whatever you feed him is safe for him and it is in moderation.
For baby ferrets, a large amount of food in their first 14 weeks is a must. They need to get the right amount of nutrition for rapid growth. Treats should not be given to baby ferrets as they may choose the treats over their normal meals.
For older ferrets, particularly those who are approximately 5 to eight years old, they would need a special kind of nutrition. Older ferrets are more likely to develop dental problems which could bring about difficulty in chewing. For older pets, you may have to feed them with softened food.
Undoubtedly, meat should be a part of every ferret’s diet. May it be raw or cooked, ensure that you only give them safe and nutritious meats. As their physiological make up is quite different as compared with other common pets, it is best to know what and what not to give your ferret to avoid any problem.