What Human Food Can Ferrets Eat?

  • By: Karen Bradshaw
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Ferrets are carnivores and so they need a diet that is high in protein. While there are foods made specifically for ferrets on the market, you may feel like these can become a little boring for your pet.

If this sounds familiar, you may have considered giving your ferret some of your own scraps and leftovers, but there are human foods that are both good and bad for your pet so it’s important to know what you can and can’t give him.

Ferrets can have lots of different types of human foods like eggs, meat, bones, and even organs. However, you should avoid giving your pet anything that is high in carbohydrates as he may have a hard time digesting these. 

In this guide, we will be looking at some of the best human foods you can offer your ferret as well as talking about things that you should keep away from.

What Are The Best Human Foods For Ferrets?

If you are going to offer humans foods to your ferrets, you must make sure that they provide excellent nutritional value. It’s no good giving your ferret foods just for the sake of it. Animals are not like us in that they don’t eat for pleasure but rather because it is a necessity. Yes, there may be certain foods that are more appealing to your ferret in that he prefers the taste but in the wild, he would eat because he needed to.

Being a carnivore, your ferret must have foods that are high in protein.

Raw Ground Meat

Ground meat is very high in protein which is excellent news for your ferret. However, it is also very high in fat so while it is suitable for your pet, it should be given in moderation otherwise there is a risk of your ferret becoming overweight which comes with its own set of health problems.

That said, raw ground meat is perfect as it really replicates your ferret’s natural diet. In the wild, ferrets would eat raw meat all the time so this is a great substitute for a natural kill. Some ferret owners also like to include a few small pieces of bone within the meat.

This may sound a little obscure since it isn’t natural for us to eat bone but for ferrets, it forms an essential part of their diet. Not so much for the nutritional value, aside from the calcium, but the hard nature of the bone is perfect for keeping your ferret’s teeth in check.

Eggs

Eggs are extremely high in protein and so can be eaten by ferrets. In the wild, these animals would have hunted eggs just as readily as they would fresh meat. With that in mind, it is important to remember that eggs, when eaten in excess, could upset your little pet’s stomach and cause him to become constipated. For this reason, we would suggest sticking to no more than two eggs each week as part of a balanced diet.

You have some good choices when it comes to offering eggs. Of course, you could just offer them as they are but most ferrets won’t want to eat them raw. What’s more, it can be quite messy. You might prefer to cook the eggs and some owners like to serve them with other foods like meat.

Fish

In the wild, ferrets would not hunt fish but since it is packed with protein it is a good treat for your pet; just remember to offer it in moderation.

You should also keep in mind that, since fish is not natural to ferrets, many of them may turn their noses up at it. If you want to successfully feed fish to your ferret, we would suggest going for less smelly varieties as it is usually the strong smell that puts ferrets off trying it.

Human Foods To Avoid Giving Your Ferret

While there are several things that are suitable for your ferret, there are also human foods that could pose a risk to your pet. It is important to avoid these at all times.

Milk

When ferrets are babies, they will feed on their mother’s milk. However, once they reach adulthood, these animals are no longer able to break the milk down due to a lack of the correct enzymes in the stomach. What’s more, adult ferrets are lactose intolerant and so giving them milk could cause a range of health issues including dehydration as a result of diarrhea.

Some ferret owners will offer small amounts of milk to their pets as a treat but since there is no real nutritional value in doing this, we’d recommend sticking with water as a drink.

Fruit And Vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are filled with fiber and while this is good for omnivores and herbivores, it does nothing for a carnivorous animal like a ferret. In fact, these foods could serve as a way of making your ferret very ill. He doesn’t have the correct enzymes to break them down and his metabolic rate is far to fast for correctly processing them.

There are some fruits and vegetables that are worse than others for ferrets and this includes but is certainly not limited to the following:

  • Lima beans
  • Blackberries
  • Pears
  • Onions
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi
  • Guava
  • Split peas
  • Peanuts
  • Sweet potatoes

If you make a habit of feeding fruit and vegetables to your ferret then this will result in him becoming poorly nourished. Not only will this make him lethargic and generally unwell but could also result in more serious, potentially fatal conditions like cancer.

Bread

Everyone likes bread, right? Well, maybe not if you’re a ferret. Bread contains fiber and grains that your ferret will have a really hard time digesting and this could lead to a plethora of health problems, especially when bread is eaten in excess.

But it isn’t only bread that you should avoid. Your ferret should not have any similar products such as cakes or cookies as these contain a lot of the same ingredients.

If your ferret does eat these then it could lead to diarrhea and other associated digestive conditions as a result of malnourishment.

Processed Meats

We have mentioned that ferrets are carnivores so you could be tempted to toss them some leftovers from your bacon breakfast but processed meats like this should be avoided at all costs.

These meats aren’t great for humans owing to the fact that they are packed with salts and sugars that are vastly unnecessary. So for ferrets, they are even worse!

Conclusion

Ferrets are hungry little creatures that love a good meal but it is vital that owners provide their pets with all the right foods. There are some human foods that make a good treat for a ferret such as fish, eggs, and raw meat. However, there are also some that should be avoided at all costs since ferret’s digestive systems simply can’t handle them. What’s more,  poor nutrition can lead to a variety of health conditions, some of which could be fatal for your pet.

 

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