Ferrets - Feeding
What do ferrets eat?
Ferrets are true carnivores and cannot handle a diet containing more than 4% fiber. There are several good commercial ferret foods such as Totally Ferret, Forti Diet, Marshall Ferret Diet or Mazuri Ferret Chow, to name a few. All of these are dry foods. Cat food has been suggested for use in ferrets in the past, and can be used in a pinch, but specific ferret food is more appropriate and is definitely recommended.
"Specific ferret food is more appropriate and is definitely recommended."
There are diets available to meet the special needs of the growing kits, pregnant or lactating females as well as geriatric ferrets. Keep in mind that your ferret "is what he eats", so try to feed him the best food possible, such as one of the premium foods your veterinarian might recommend.
How often should I feed my ferret?
Ferrets have a very quick gut transit time (the time from eating to defecating) of 3 - 4 hours, so they appear to eat and defecate constantly. Because ferrets can easily develop hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), they should be fed several meals throughout the day. This is most easily accomplished by leaving food available for them 24 hours a day.
Do I need to give my ferret vitamins?
If your ferret is eating a high quality premium diet, extra vitamins are not essential. However,, there are several brands of very palatable vitamins that can be offered as a low fat treat.
Can I offer my ferret treats?
Ferrets do enjoy sweets, dairy products, raisins, fruits and vegetables, but these foods should be limited or avoided as they may produce diarrhea.
"Chocolate can be fatal to ferrets."
Chocolate can be fatal to ferrets! Be sure to check with your veterinarian before you feed your ferret any people food, especially "snack foods".. Dietary changes can contribute to problems such as an upset stomach, diarrhea, and pancreatic problems. While obesity is not a common problem with ferrets, they certainly can become overweight if fed an abundance of high calorie treats or foods.
What about water?
Fresh water should be available all the time. You can offer water from a sipper bottle or a heavy crockery bowl that will not easily tip over, as ferrets love to play with and spill their dishes.