In many areas of the United States, ferrets are still somewhat considered to be a little bit exotic. As part of the weasel family, many people incorrectly assume that they are part of the rodent family, which leaves most fairly confused as to what their diet truly consists of. Wild black-footed ferrets in the western United States primarily feast on prairie dogs and other small prairie rodents, while the wild polecats of Europe, the domesticated ferret’s closest cousin, mainly consume rabbits, rats, and various insects. However, what should the domesticated ferret living in your home eat? This article will cover many questions about what ferrets can and cannot consume.
Can Ferrets Eat Tuna?
Use tuna only sparingly as a treat, though it is not recommended feeding them fish due to potential intestinal issues your ferret may encounter. If you think that your ferret has smelly feces and urine on their current diet, eating fish of any kind will only make this worse. For the most part, if you are opting for a raw food diet or looking for raw treat, opt to stay with foods that ferrets would normally encounter in their wild diet. For the most part, you would never find a ferret or polecat eating fish in the wild unless circumstances were very dire for them.
Can Ferrets Eat Egg?
You can definitely give your ferret an egg, as eggs contain many of the vitamins and nutrients that your ferret needs to be healthy. There are, however, a couple of things to remember when feeding your ferret eggs. First, it is best to feed them hard boiled eggs, as preparing eggs in other ways tends to add extra fats or other ingredients which can cause health concerns. Additionally, make sure to always use the freshest eggs available. Finally, eggs have many things- like fats and protein- that your ferret needs, but it should only be one part of your ferret’s diet.
Can Ferrets Eat Dog Food?
Even if your ferret is out of their other food and you are for whatever reason unable to get to the store to get them more, dog food should not even be considered for a substitution. Ferrets are obligate carnivores, while dogs are are scavenging carnivores, which means their diets may sometimes consist of grains, fruits, and vegetables when necessary. Additionally, ferrets have higher crude fat needs than dogs, so dog food will simply not provide necessary nutrition for your ferret.
Can Ferrets Eat Cat Food?
Yes – High quality kitten food is best!
See our article that answers this question fully (click here)
Can Ferrets Eat Fish?
As discussed above, fish is generally not a good idea to feed your ferret. While it is high in protein and fat, it is not something that your ferret is used to eating would normally be eating in the wild, and can cause quite a bit of digestive distress. If they were to get fish very seldomly and in very small amounts, it would probably not be detrimental, but it is important not to stray too far from their normal diet.
Can Ferrets Eat Carrots?
Without a doubt, ferrets should never be given raw vegetables of any kind, including carrots. Carrots, along with other raw veggies, can cause bowel obstructions, a potentially life threatening condition that often times requires surgical removal to fix this problem. Cooked carrots do not pose the same concern as raw carrots, but there is truly no nutritional value in carrots for your ferrets, so there is no reason to give your ferrets cooked vegetables of any kind, including carrots.
Can Ferrets Eat Chicken?
Ferrets can eat chicken, and for many ferret parents who choose to make their own food for their ferret children instead of kibble, chicken is generally front and center in their diet. However, ferrets stomachs are sensitive, so it is important to follow a couple of guidelines when it comes to feeding your ferrets chicken. First, you can give your ferrets both raw and cooked chicken, but it is important to give them a variety of foods in their diet. It is also important to provide the highest quality chicken that you can to your ferrets, and if you are choosing to cook the chicken, do not cook it with any extra fat, sodium, or other seasonings. Additionally, allow your ferrets to consume bones, as they are good for their dental health, but make sure you keep a close eye on them while they have bones.
Can Ferrets Eat Fruit?
Unfortunately, ferrets should not consume fruits of any kind, no matter how much they seem to love this food group. Fruits, as a rule, are not high in protein or fats, which is what your ferret needs to thrive, but they are high in sugars and complex carbohydrates, which your ferret is not able to digest and can quickly cause diarrhea and consequent dehydration, which can quickly become life threatening in their tiny bodies.
Can Ferrets Eat Apples?
If your ferret has ever run up on your lap and taken a lick of the apple you were eating or stolen a piece that had fallen on the floor, you are well aware of how much ferrets love apples. However, you should not feed your ferrets apples. Like many other fruits, they are high in sugars and carbohydrates- all of the things your ferret does not need- and are low in fats and proteins- the things that your ferrets need the most in their diet. Additionally, this high level of sugar can cause your ferret to have a sugar rush and a subsequent crash. Too many of these can lead to permanent damage to the pancreas.
Can Ferrets Eat Bananas?
Just like other fruits and vegetables, no matter how much your ferret may love the sugar content, bananas are not good foods to include in your ferrets diet. Too high in sugar and complex carbohydrates that your ferrets do not need, your ferret can actually end up with major medical issues from regularly eating bananas.
Can Ferrets Eat Mealworms?
Mealworms, as readily available as they may be for other pets, are not truly nutritionally sound for ferrets. However, if you choose to feed your ferrets mealworms, it is important to only use them as treats and rewards.
Can Ferrets Eat Chocolate?
You are hard pressed to find a person who doesn’t love chocolate in some form, and the same can be said for ferrets. Unfortunately, there is no nutritional value in chocolate for ferrets, it contains way too much sugar, and even the small amount of caffeine in chocolate can cause issues in your ferrets digestive and central nervous systems. Avoid chocolate for your ferrets at all costs.
Ferrets can be notoriously picky eaters, so it can be tempting to treat them with and include foods in their diets simply because they are crazy about them. However, ferrets have very specific dietary needs, and it is important to only feed them specific things that are nutritionally sounds for their needs.
See our Ferret Food Chart with the top ferret foods and their nutritional value