Can Ferrets Eat Fruit? An Informative Guide

ferret and flowers looking like magnolia

You’d think that ferrets are fruit lovers. Their small size and adorable furry disposition make them look like they’d enjoy a few fruity snacks. In fact, you have probably fed fruits to your ferret once or twice as a treat. There is a high chance that they devoured those delicious treats without any complaints. So, Can Ferrets eat Fruit

However, ferrets and fruits don’t get along. The cuddly creature before you is a carnivore that belongs to the weasel family. Thus, feeding it grapes and citruses are out of the question.

Having said that, there are some occasions where fruits can work for a ferret. We plan to share the secrets of their diet plan by answering the frequently asked questions about ferret food.

Here’s everything you need to know:

The Premises: Can Ferret Eat Fruit?

If you’ve fed your ferret fruits, then you may have noticed little or no change in them. That’s because fruits fed in small quantities aren’t hazardous to your furry friend. You will only see adverse side effects if you let fruits become a part of their staple diet.

You’re probably wondering why you can’t feed ferret fruits. 

Here’s a breakdown of the situation:

Digestion Issues

As mentioned earlier, ferrets are carnivores. That means their natural diet includes meat instead of fruits and foliage. It’s why their digestive tract can’t accommodate or process fruits when it’s eaten in large quantities. Your pet will most likely throw up if you feed them too much fruit or they will suffer from diarrhea.

Additionally, ferrets should not consume food that has high fiber content, complex carbohydrates, and sugar. These are components that most fruits have, which is why fruits should not be a major part of your pet’s diet. 

The Consequences

Can Ferrets eat Fruit? What happens if your ferret eats fruit?

Eating fruits frequently can make your ferret sick. They may start feeling lethargic due to the high carbohydrate diet or constantly suffer from gastrointestinal problems. These may include diarrhea, blockages, abdominal pain, and more.

Other than that, fruity treats could lead to:

  • Dehydration
  • Obesity 
  • Tooth decay 

In short, fruit-filled diet plans are not a good idea for your furry friend. 

The Exceptions 

When can ferret eat fruits?

There is no straightforward answer to this question. Some ferret parents believe that you should eliminate fruits from the diet completely. Other owners would advise you to feed fruits moderately on special occasions.

The ones in favor of fruity treats consider it as a healthier and organic form of ferret treats. Additionally, fruits can also provide your pets with much-needed nutrients. It’s why they shouldn’t be cut off from the diet plan.

Instead, you should figure out a way to include fruits in a safe and healthy way. 

Here are a few tips you can follow:

  • Restrict your ferret’s fruit intake to half a teaspoon a day.
  • Avoid feeding them acidic or sugary fruits.
  • Slice and dice the fruits before feeding them to ferrets. 
  • Peel off the skin to prevent your ferret from choking on the fibrous covering. 
  • Make sure that the fruits you feed are free from harmful chemicals and additives. 
  • Fruits for ferrets: apple, melon, banana, and dried fruit like raisins.
  • Fruits to avoid: grapes and citruses (e.g. lemons, limes and oranges)

In the end, you should consult a vet before making any major changes in your fuzzy’s diet plan. 

The Diet Plan: What Should You Feed Your Ferret?  

Once again, we have entered a debatable subject. That’s because most ferret owners feed their pets everything from dog food to leftovers. Some of these feeding practices are less dangerous than others. It’s why we have formulated a ferret friendly diet plan to help you make the best choices for your furball.

Here’s a sneak peek of things your ferret can eat:

1. Carnivore Diet

If you’re interested in feeding a natural diet to your ferret then you should give them raw food. Meat (turkey, chicken, and mutton), bones, and cooked eggs are healthy and delicious options for your furry companion. 

How do you make these dishes?

Each pet owner has a different opinion on the best way to feed their ferret. 

We are listing the most popular ones below: 

Whole Prey

Farmers and people living near wilderness frequently use the unorthodox option because it’s convenient for them. These pet owners feed either let their ferret catch their prey by roaming the property or provide them with dead animals. The typical preys include rats, chicks, and mice. 

The natural feed leads to multiple health benefits. These include mental stimulation, better metabolism, and stronger teeth

Dried or Frozen Food

The more conventional method is to purchase pre-prepared meat for your ferret. It’s best to consult a vet or a ferret care expert before selecting your meat. The professionals will guide you on which items to choose, and which to avoid. 

In our experience, meat prepared for dogs is a no-go. That’s because the dog’s diet includes vegetables and meat by-products. These ingredients aren’t beneficial to a ferret’s health.

Boiled Food

Want to whip something up from your pantry?

It’s a great alternative to whole prey and processed food. You just have to slice and dice chunks of meat for your ferret. Make sure to cut them in a digestible size to prevent the pet from choking on the food. After slicing the meat, you can boil it until it softens. 

In addition to boiled meat, you can feed your ferret boiled eggs and bones too.

2. Balanced Diet 

In terms of feeding ferrets a well-balanced meal, you should always select food that meets their nutritional requirements. Otherwise, you may have to provide them with additional supplements to prevent nutrient deficiencies.

What counts as a well-balanced meal?

You should feed the ferret with food that contains fat (20%), animal protein (34-36%), and an adequate amount of taurine. It should also contain low fiber content and no meat by-products, as they may cause indigestion. 

You should always check labels and monitor your pet’s daily feed intake to control their diet. 

Pro tip:  Make sure to purchase high-quality food for your ferret from a vet or a proper pet shop. 

3. Pet Food

You can either opt for special ferret food available in the market or share the stuff you feed your cat. If you choose the latter, then purchase dry kitten food that includes protein and taurine in its ingredient list. Any other kind of kitty food might not suit your ferret. 

Moreover, you should not feed your ferret processed food that contains filler ingredients like corn, fibrous products, and other by-products. That’s because these ingredients add little or no value to your ferret’s health.

Pro tip: Dog foods are not right for your ferrets as they don’t contain taurine, which is essential for their eye and cardiovascular health. 

Rules and Regulations: What Kind of Food Should Ferrets Avoid?

As pet parents, we tend to overindulge our ferrets with treats that we normally eat. This practice might backfire on us because ferrets digest their food differently. The wrong diet could lead to health problems like diarrhea, gastrointestinal issues, and tooth decay

Besides this, your ferret might become obese or malnourished depending on what you feed them.  Overindulgence is bound to cause the ferret’s health to deteriorate if it consumes unhealthy food for a prolonged period.  

Therefore, it’s better for you to do a little research before you treat your ferret. 

Here are a few things you should not feed your ferret:

  • Carbonated drinks and fruit juices
  • Sugary food (e.g. candy, ice cream, and chocolates)
  • Potato chips and other salty snacks
  • Peanut butter or jams
  • Popcorn 
  • Dairy products (e.g. milk, yogurt, and cheese) 
  • Seeds and nuts 
  • Raw egg whites 
  • Uncooked vegetables 

Apart from this, don’t feed the ferret snacks and sugary treats as training aids. Once they start liking the flavor, you might find it challenging to bring them back to a proper diet plan. 

Let’s Sum It Up…

So, Can Ferrets Eat Fruit

It all boils down to two things; the kind of fruits they are eating and how much you plan to give them. If you’re giving them sugar-free, acid-free, non-fibrous content–then it is okay to feed your ferret fruit. You just have to make sure to serve fruit in small quantities and balance it with a carnivorous diet.

Moreover, be wary of ferrets that form food preferences. You will have trouble adjusting their diet plans if you don’t feed them right away from the get-go. Also, whenever you are in doubt, it is better to consult a ferret specialist than a pet shop staff. That’s because many pet shop employees aren’t aware of the nitty-gritty details of ferret care.

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