Ferrets are quite an interesting weasel family member. Over the years, we have kept them as pets and they fit in perfectly. However, they are a different kind of pet than we are used to. Even though they are purely carnivorous, some foods could be harmful to your pet ferret. Can ferrets eat fish? This article is going to answer all your ferret diet questions.
In the wild, ferrets would fetch for themselves. However, they have been domesticated for thousands of years. We now live with our ferrets as pets and provides all the necessary resources they may need. You, therefore, need to research quite a bit if at all you are considering adopting a ferret.
You need to understand what ferrets eat, the general maintenance activities as well as their health. To answer this question, yes, ferrets can eat fish. However, it is not a healthy choice for everyday diet. One of the reasons I advise against feeding fish to a ferret is the musky smell.
Fish will make his waste smell awful making your house stink. At the same time, it is not exactly a very healthy diet for your ferret. Although it is a great source of protein, it cannot be used as a substitute for your ferret’s meals.
So why not feed fish to your ferret?
In the wild, ferrets from the northern Hemisphere would occasionally feed on raw fish. Ferrets can eat fish but in small quantities. Unfortunately, you will need the fish to be raw and fresh before offering it to your ferret.
The only problem I have with fish is the musky smell and the fact that it does not contain as many nutrients as needed for a healthy diet. Ferrets may also eat ferret food that contains fish. Dry food is both safe and healthy for ferrets.
Some ferrets will reject fish immediately they smell it. Well, they are probably not used to such smells in their foods. And since it lacks important nutrients, too much fish can make your ferret gain too much weight.
With all these conditions, you might not have access to healthy fish to feed your ferret. It may not be readily available.
What if I insist on giving my ferret fish?
If you really want to include fish in your ferret’s diet, then I suggest you do it with a lot of moderation. Go for high quality and fresh fish and ensure there are no bones that could lodge on his throat or digestive system.
Alternatively, you can avoid trouble and use fish oil instead. Put a small amount of fish oil in his food, and once again with moderation. Fish oil is particularly good for your ferret’s skin and coat. At the same time, if you give him too much of it, fish oil will probably dry his skin out.
As a result, you will have a difficult time with the ferret musky smell.
So what are the best foods for ferrets?
If you are a new ferret owner, this is one of the biggest worries. But do not panic as you will find ferret foods in the local stores. Alternatively, you can choose from different brands online and it will be delivered to you.
Commercial ferret food is composed of high protein and fat content. In most cases, you will feed it to your ferret as dry food. However, you can decide to supplement this with other foods. For instance, some ferret owners will prefer using cooked meat instead.
Earlier on, I mentioned that ferrets are obligate carnivores. Therefore, meat makes a perfect meal for a ferret. You can use chicken or internal organs to make him a healthy meal. You can also feed raw chicken or meat to your ferret.
You can ask your local butcher to keep the heart, liver and other organs for your ferret. If you are going to feed him a raw diet, then I suggest you use frozen meat only.
Before people could have access to ferret foods, cat food would be used. Well, cats are also carnivorous even though from different families.
Sometimes you can supplement your ferret’s diet with pre-killed prey. Well, in the wild, ferrets would chase and kill smaller animals for food. You can give him frozen rodents or chicks. I advise you to avoid letting your ferret kill his prey.
Foods you should never offer your ferret
Well, you now have an idea of what your ferret’s diet is going to look like. However, there are tiny details about the food that could harm your ferret. Below, I am going to outline some of the foods you must keep away from your ferrets:
A ferret’s body cannot process sugar and so chocolate is bad for ferrets. Well, chocolate is bad for most animals. It could lead to fatal illnesses and especially insulinoma. Keep chocolate treats for you and instead get meaty ones for your furry buddy.
Also, as with chocolates, a ferret’s digestive system will not digest grains as they contain fiber. Foods such as rice, pasta or noodles will not work well for your ferret. Keep it in mind that ferrets are strictly carnivorous.
Foods containing dairy products are going to cause a stomach upset for your ferret. Besides, foods containing too much sugar are also harmful to these tiny adorable creatures. Cross off ice cream from your list of treats you are going to offer your ferret.
Bread and vegetables
Bread will contain a lot of sugars, as well as most vegetables. Therefore, they make bad foods for ferrets who require a diet high in proteins and fats. These foods also contain a lot of fiber, making it impossible to digest.
All sugary fruits
Fruits are amazing for our bodies and general health. However, it is not the same as ferrets. In fact, ferrets do not need to eat any fruits. Most of these fruits including bananas and berries may not harm first. However, they could be fatal if given to ferrets in a large amount.
Stay safe are refrain from feeding fruits to your ferret.
Acceptable treats for ferrets
You will need treats to keep your ferret fed. Some treats could work for your dog but may fail to work on ferrets. Below is an outline of some of the treats you can offer your pet ferret.
Coconut oil can be given to ferrets in small quantities. It is great for your pet ferret’s coat as it prevents hairball. These could be fatal if your ferret eats hairballs causing intestinal obstruction. Alternatively, you can use olive oil.
However, be careful when feeding coconut oil to your ferret as he could be allergic to it. I suggest you monitor his behavior after feeding him coconut oil. Call your vet if you suspect an allergic reaction towards coconut oil.
Meaty treats for your ferret
I always find it easy to go for meaty treats over anything else. Chicken, turkey, lamb and such will definitely make great treats for your ferret. If you will be offering it to him raw, I suggest you freeze them first. You can hide them in his cage to find or use them as positive reinforcement during training.
Also, internal organs will make perfect treats for your training and play sessions.
Ferrets are also excited to have insects as treats.
Eggs also make special treats for ferrets. You can make him a quick treat of scrambled eggs and watch him eat it from your hand. Also, raw egg yolks will work perfectly for ferrets. Sometimes you may opt to boil an egg for him.
Ferrets can eat eggs but as with fish, too much of it is not recommended. Feed him just one egg a week and as a treat not food.
Ferrets are carnivorous and depend on meat for nutrients. If you are wondering if ferrets eat fish, the answer is yes but it all depends. He can eat fish as a treat, when fresh and raw. However, there is a limitation as fish will make your ferret have a strong musky odor.
Besides, too much fish may be harmful to your ferret’s skin and coat. Well, instead, use fish oil moderately to keep your ferret’s coat healthy. Make sure that you have healthy foods lined up for your fuzzy friend as I have outlined in this article.
The bottom line is, ferrets are carnivorous and so stick to a carnivorous diet.