Ferrets love to eat, and since they can be so playful and active, they take the time to have a snack or chow down on a wholemeal multiple times per day. For many ferrets who are on a kibble based diet, meal time is great, but really doesn’t offer a whole lot of variety or incentive. In this article, we will discuss how to use treats in your ferret’s diet, as well as give you some ideas for the best options for commercial ferret treats available.
When Should I Give My Ferrets Treats?
As any ferret owner knows, ferrets are very reward motivated, particularly when it comes to treats and praise. Many people find that rewarding their ferrets with a good scratch behind the ears and a treat after they correctly use the litter box is a great way to reinforce good behaviors while litter box training.
Additionally, when you first bring your ferret home, having some treats nearby will help you to bond with your new friend through this potentially stressful time. Finally, there is no reason at all that you can’t give your ferrets treats just because you love them!
What Should I Use For Treats For My Ferrets?
You have a couple of different options when it comes to ferret treats. You can use items you probably have in your fridge as treats, such as eggs or cooked, but unseasoned meat such as turkey, chicken, or beef. You can also get organ meats, such as liver, from your butcher and cook them as a special treat for your ferrets! Just make sure not to season them, as ferrets should not be consuming large amounts of sodium in their diet, and chances are, they don’t like garlic very much either!
Your other option is to go with a commercial ferret treat, or if you cannot find those, go with a high quality kitten treat. However, it is important never use dog treats with your ferrets. Dog’s digestive systems and nutritional needs are simply too different than the needs of your ferret, and your ferret will not be able to digest these treats properly.
Below, we will discuss some of the most popular treats on the market today.
Marshall Bandit’s Premium Ferret Treats (Variety Pack)
If you are a ferret owner in the United States, chances are you have purchased and used Marshall products for ferrets, whether that is food, toys, or cage accessories. The Premium Ferret treats come in a variety pack, including all five of the flavors- Chicken, Bacon, Peanut Butter, Raisin, and Banana.
Ferrets have a tendency to imprint on one particular kind of food or flavor, so it is important to encourage a variety of flavors, particularly when they are young, to help avoid this issue. This variety packs gives the variety you are looking for as well as satisfying` the nutritional needs of your ferret.
Unfortunately, the biggest issue that most people have with these treats is the fact that rarely do their ferrets appreciate of all of the flavors of these treats. One ferret may love the peanut butter treats but hate the bacon flavor, while other ferrets love the chicken flavor but hate the raisin flavor. Additionally, while these treats are nutritionally sound, they are high in grains and sugars, two things that your ferrets do not need, so they should be truly only used as an occasional treat.
Grain Free Chicken Soft Ferret Treats by N-Bone
These treats are great to keep your ferrets healthy by using essential fats to promote healthy skin and fur. These treats use chicken, so you aren’t left second guessing about what you are feeding your ferret.
These ferret treats are grain free, which is important as ferrets cannot process grains the same way that many other mammals can as they are obligate carnivores. Ferrets also derive a lot of their energy from fats, and these treats are loaded with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to keep them healthy.
Unfortunately, as discussed before, ferrets have a tendency to be incredibly picky and a stubborn, picky ferret will not eat something that they don’t find appealing. Additionally, these ferret treats are high in sodium, which in excess can cause issues in a ferret’s renal system.
Ferret Bacon Chew Treats by N-Bone
Most people who have tried bacon absolutely love this salty, meaty treat, and for many ferrets, these treats are as addictive to them as bacon is to humans. These treats are long lasting, so they are well known for their potential dental benefits.
The idea of attempting to brush your ferret’s teeth may seem absolutely daunting- and slightly hilarious. However, ferrets are not immune to dental issues that affect your other pets. These treats can help to prevent tartar and plaque buildup, relieving pain and helping prevent gum disease.
Unfortunately, the ingredient list on these treats can be slightly alarming for the informed ferret owner. The first few ingredients consist of grains and vegetable starches, and protein doesn’t show up until 7th on the list of ingredients. Ferrets need to consume mostly protein and fats, so these treats really aren’t too healthy for your furry friend.
Ferret Chew Treats by N-Bone
Similar to the previous treats, these treats are great for keeping your ferrets mouth healthy and perhaps even better, keep your ferret occupied!
On top of promoting dental health, these treats also are high in taurine, which is an amino acid found in animal tissues. Taurine specifically helps to promote a healthy nervous system and may even decrease the risk of common diseases that ferrets are prone to as they age, including lymphoma and insolumania.
Like the previous treats by N-Bone, these treats are not overly healthy for your ferrets due to the low levels of fat and high levels of plant matter. These treats should only be used for special occasions to help keep your ferret healthy.
Ferret Treats 8 in 1 Ferretvite High Calorie Vitamin Supplement
Ferrets are incredibly active creatures, and need to eat regularly throughout the day to keep them from losing too much weight. This high calorie vitamin supplement is a great way to reward your ferret and keep them at a healthy weight.
This treat is a fairly universally loved treat for ferrets (though of course some ferrets may be too picky to enjoy this) and on top of being a great treat for your ferrets occasionally, it is also fantastic to help ferrets out who are going through health crises. After a serious ailment or surgery, your ferret may not have much of an appetite, so using these to tempt their appetite will help them to put weight back on and keep their weight at a stable range.
One thing to be careful of is the amount of sugar that this supplement contains. While this is helpful for sick, injured, or baby ferrets, it is important to only use it as a seldom treat for healthy ferrets, as it is very high in sugars which can cause health problems in healthy ferrets.
Ferrets love to be rewarded for their good behavior, and while a head scratch is a good reward, a food treat is an even better reward. No matter if you are using one of the commercially available treats discussed on this list or making your own, it is important to use treats as only one part of a healthy, well balanced diet for your ferret.