Inappropriate Ferret Food... What's bad for them?
What is inappropriate ferret food?
Wow! There is so much information out there but which one of it is right?
There is a lot of inappropriate ferret food, but before you read on, I would suggest reading the Healthy Ferret Food page (link at the bottom of this page) so that you can get a good idea of a ferret’s physiology and why they are carnivores (meat-eaters). This will help explain why the foods, often given to ferrets, listed below are inappropriate.
Go ahead…I will wait for you!
First, I would like to talk about treats. Many of us feel that we need to treat our animals with sweet foods. This unfortunately causes the ferret more harm than good (even though they might enjoy the taste).
Glucose (sugar) affects the beta cells in the pancreas. These respond to extra sugar in the blood stream by producing insulin to control it. If the beta cells are exposed to too much sugar in the blood stream ( such as the treats that people give their ferrets) then they become overactive while trying to keep up to insulin demand.
If such a diet continues, the result can be total cell burnout, which in turn leads to cancerous beta cells. This
is called insulinoma.
Insulinoma is extremely common in ferrets over 2 years of age!!!
Also, many other diseases have been linked to giving ferrets inappropriate ferret food.
Another thing to consider before giving your ferret/s any other type of ferret food is the fact that ferrets are simply incapable of digesting carbohydrates, which are found in fruits and veggies (see Healthy Ferret Food for more info on this).
These in minute quantities won’t do any major harm but if you are feeding these on a regular basis, then not only are you exposing your baby to possible diseases but also intestinal blockage.
If the ferret swallows a bigger piece, it might get stuck (because the ferret can’t digest it), meaning that you might need to empty your wallet on a very costly operation.
The shocking thing is that many ferret foods contain high levels of carbohydrates! This is why many ferret owners (including me) are switching to a healthier/ natural ferret diet.
There is a lot of inappropriate ferret food. These might even include things that you have been giving your ferret/s without even knowing that it might be bad for them (don’t worry, I have also done this…you don’t know what you don’t know!).
Inappropriate ferret food includes:
• Any human sugary sweets – big no no…
• Chocolate – Never give them this! They can die.
• Raisins – only in minute quantities
• Bananas – only in minute quantities (Binxi once got really sick off a bit of banana so I don’t give them these anymore).
• Peanut butter
• Pieces of cereal
• Carrots – can cause intestinal blockage - they are too hard.
• Milk – ferrets become lactose intolerant when they are weaned off their mothers milk.
• Nuts – too hard- may cause intestinal blockage.
• Vegetables and fruits – in minute quantities and very rarely – they should also be soft and highly digestible such as melons and pears.
• Fish – can cause rancidity or oxidation problems – not in their natural diet.
• Dog food
• Adult cat food (high quality premium kitten food (dry) can be used if necessary).
• Vegetarian ferret food – No, No, NO!
• Cooked bones - these can split/ fracture and cause internal damage. Raw bones (such as chicken necks) are very good for keeping their teeth clean.
• Low grade ferret foods - that do not follow ferrets nutritional needs (the first 3 ingredients should be meat based)
• Supplements – If your ferret has a healthy/ balanced diet these are normally unnecessary. Too many can cause liver damage.
• Old, stale or rotten food
Ok, so it is possible that, like me, you too have given your ferret/s some of these items in the past. Sometimes possibly even way too much!
But, now we know better… we can now take this knowledge and create a healthy diet for our ferret/s.
No more inappropriate ferret food!
Let them dook dook away in a healthy and happy manner…. Dook dook.
P.S. If you know of any other foods that I have not listed here please contact me and let me know. I’m very open to suggestions. Thanks!
Back to top of Inappropriate Ferret Food page.
The most inapropriate Ferret food...Vegetarian Ferret Food!
Now that I know this...What is Healthy Ferret Food?
How long do Healthy ferrets live? Can I prolong their lives?