What Do Ferrets Eat for Treats?
Ferrets are perhaps one of the pickier eaters in the small animal pet categorization. Due to their preference of a more carnivorous diet, finding treats without fillers and non-nutritionally beneficial ingredients can be a bit of a challenge. Let’s look at some of the best treats on the market today and try our hand at making some of our own, too!
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Ferrets are obligate carnivores. They biologically need meat and should not be fed a vegan diet or any real deviation from a wholesome, carnivorous diet. They need meat on a genetic level, as it keeps them healthy and meets the needs of their fast paced metabolism.
Aside from actual meat, you could opt for a high protein kitten food. Dog and cat foods tailored for adult pets are typically lower in protein content than what a ferret needs and also usually contain grains or carbs that ferrets cannot process properly. Eating these foods can make them sick, so be sure to check the ingredients list before buying and only pick it up if meat is one of the first ingredients.
Ferrets also should not be given any dairy, fibrous foods like fruits and vegetables, or sweets. Chocolates are especially dangerous and can actually kill your pet if they eat any of it, even small amounts for younger or especially elderly ferrets.
1 – 8 in 1 FerreTone Skin & Coat Ferret Food Supplement
Oils are a good part of your pet’s diet. Oils and other fats help keep their fur shiny and provide a little extra nutrient rich supplementation when needed. One commercial product, known as Ferretone, has been quite popular due to its easy to digest and administer nature. Plus, ferrets go nuts for the stuff.
Rich in fatty acids and vitamins, you cannot go wrong with this stuff. Just be sure to dose it correctly and not give in to your weasel’s pleas for more!
2 – Bandit Treats
Bandit treats are a fantastic option for a hard snack. These treats are soft without being mushy or unappealing without providing too much fiber or grain. Made from liver and meat protein, these treats offer a little extra vitamin punch with a satisfying flavor that will make for a great training treat.
3 – Wysong Ferret foods
Though it is technically intended to be used as a food, the Wysong Ferret foods are fantastic for healthy treat options. This food is specially formulated for ferret tummies and can be used without risking introducing your pet to any fillers or preservatives. There are several different options, with the Archetypal 2 being one of the most popular and well received across the board.
4 – Uncle Jim’s Duk Soup
Uncle Jim’s Duk Soup is a fantastic choice to get your pet adjusted to, as it can prove to be a valuable asset if they are sick. The easy to eat and digest duck based soup blend is quick to prepare and gentle on upset stomachs, helping your pet keep food down and prevent dehydration. Additionally, the scent is rather appealing, which will help entice both well and sick pets to gobble the food down ASAP.
5 – N-Bones
N-Bones are technically a dog treat but they can make a great chew toy type snack for your pet. These hard bones are flavored with a variety of poultry or otherwise appealing meat broths to encourage chewing. When your pet chews on something like a bone or tough chew toy, they are actually cleaning their teeth.
A ferret having good oral health from a young age can help prevent a host of health issues down the line, including gum disease, abscesses, and tooth loss. Plus it will make their breath slightly less stinky, too!
Just be sure to supervise your pet when they have such a toy to ensure it does not become stuck in their mouth or otherwise poses a potential health issue. Cut or break them into smaller pieces to help assist with comfortable chewing and playing.
6 – Foamy Fries
Foamy Fries are a great option if you want something a little bit softer than a traditional n-bone style product. These spongey, flavored chew toys are great for older ferrets or those who are a bit more prone to choking since they are not as firm as an actual bone.
Your ferret can get used to chewing these treats and biting off small pieces instead of potentially choking themselves in an attempt to quickly chomp down their snack of choice, making these especially great for younger ferrets.
1 – Boiled Eggs
Boiled eggs are a fantastic, easy treat that is packed in protein and makes for a particularly tasty treat. Some people do opt for a raw egg but this can get rather messy and poses no particular health benefit. In fact, some raw eggs can make your pet sick.
Other people sometimes choose to scramble eggs for their pet, too. If you do this, use a small amount of oil and never include milk or any additives. They like plain eggs just fine and their stomachs are not equipped for spices or dairy add ins.
It is important to remember that eggs should be given sparingly. One or two per week is more than enough and too much can cause digestive issues. They also should not be given to ferrets under six months of age.
2 – Baby Foods
Baby foods are another great option. Those that are made from pure meat, like the Gerber basic lines, are fantastic and ferrets seem to really enjoy snacking on them from time to time since they are meaty, moist, and satisfying. Just avoid any add ins like rice or veggies; stick to pure meat or make your own from a recipe online!
3 – Organ Meats
Organ meats or organ meat based cat treats are great options, especially if they are freeze dried treats. These contain tons of protein and vital nutrients that can help your pet feel great and keep their coats shiny and soft. Plus, this treat type does not deviate from their usual diet by much and is relatively affordable since organ meats are typically discarded in America or otherwise sold for cheap.
4 – Meat products
In general, bits of meat or meat products are popular due to their easy to find nature and perfect fit for a ferret’s dietary needs and preferences. Just cook the meat or opt for a freeze dried option and you are all set. No seasoning or breading, though, please, as this will not suit your pet’s delicate digestive system very well and can lead to gastrointestinal distress.
5 – Pumpkin Puree
Though vegetables are not usually a good idea (nor are fruits, for that matter), pumpkin puree is acceptable and can actually be used to help treat bowel obstructions. Just give it sparingly and opt for natural brands without added spices, fillers, preservatives, or thickening agents to prevent exposure to any non-ferret friendly ingredients.
6 – Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another “use sparingly” treat that ferrets seem to go absolutely bonkers for. It provides a nice dose of fatty acids and is quite yummy, making it great for a regular but occasional treat. Overuse of oils can lead to oily stools and gastrointestinal irritation, so be sure to keep an eye on how your pet tolerates such foods and use good judgement with the allotted amounts and frequency oils are given in general.
Other popular alternatives include cod liver oil and olive oil, as well, so you can switch things up to keep your pet interested, too.
7 – Live Prey
Live prey is a controversial topic but does have some benefits that cannot be denied. Defined as the practice of giving your pet live animals to eat on an occasional basis, live prey feeding mimics the day to day life and survival of wild ferrets and helps add enrichment to your pet’s life.
On the downside, some prey animals can fight back and cause injury to a ferret, which can be off putting and has caused some to believe live feeding is unsafe and unnecessary. Either way, do what you feel is right for your pet and only use feeder mice and other animals that are ethically cared for and bred to be nutritionally safe for your pet.
Can ferrets eat fish?
A ferret can eat fish, provided you remove bones and any other pieces of the animal that may pose a choking hazard. Be warned, though, that ferrets do not usually eat fish as part of their regular diet and some may actually be particularly opposed to it, especially in its base form.
Some commercial ferret foods do contain fish, which can actually cause the pickier pets to refuse such products. Dried fish can sometimes be accepted but, in general, you may have more luck with meats that are more heavily represented in a ferret’s dietary preferences on a day to day basis like chicken, turkey, venison, and beef.
What human foods can ferrets eat?
Unseasoned meat, fish, and eggs are all safe for your pet. Other than that, you should refrain from feeding your ferret too much human food. Processed snacks are a no go, as are carbs, since they can cause some serious digestive issues. Additionally, ferrets cannot process fiber very easily, making fruits and vegetables not the best idea, either.
Peanut butter and similar items can be given as a sparingly used treat but should not be a regular snack. Keep things simple and try to make sure your pet’s snacks are prepared without any seasonings, breadings, or other additives. Go as minimal as you can and you’ll be fine!
Ferrets can eat a diet consisting of a diverse selection of proteins. As a carnivorous creature, foods like fruits and veggies are not appealing and other things like carbs are unsafe and can cause intestinal distress. Keep things simple and pure and you’re all set!