Malnourished ferrets are susceptible to disease and health complications and may suffer from lethargy, dehydration, and neurological compromise.
For this reason, owners must create a tailored diet plan for their malnourished ferrets to ensure they’re getting the appropriate amount of nutrients. Make sure you choose high-protein, high-fat ferret foods like the below so that your ferret gains a healthy weight.
What Is The ABSOLUTE BEST Ferret Food For Weight Gain?
The best ferret food for weight gain is the Wysong Ferret Epigen 90 Digestive Support. It contains high amounts of protein and fat, as well as essential nutrients and minerals required for weight gain. It’s grain- and starch-free, as well, which is a welcome plus!
Top 5 Ferret Foods for Weight Gain
Here are some of the best ferret foods for weight gain, chosen for their protein and fat content, as well as weight gain effectivity.
- Wysong Ferret Epigen 90 Digestive Support – Best Overall Ferret Food for Weight Gain
The Wysong Ferret Epigen is a genetically appropriate weight gain diet for ferrets. It’s primarily made with chicken, and contains approximately 62% protein and 16% crude fat.
Additionally, it’s packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and enhanced probiotics that boost the immune system and prevent diarrhea
This ferret food isn’t as rich as other ferret foods, making it suitable for ferrets with sensitive stomachs and digestive issues. It’s often the preferred choice for sick or underweight ferrets, as it uses high-quality meat ingredients. Plus, it’s grain-free and starch-free!
The Wysong Ferret Epigen is a bit more expensive than regular ferret food, but it’s hands-down one of the best foods you can get your ferrets to increase their weight in the shortest amount of time possible.
- High protein count
- Grain-free and starch-free
- Doesn’t cause an upset stomach or loose stools
- Doesn’t have an offensive smell
- Above-average price
- Wild Harvest Advanced Nutrition Diet For Ferrets – Best Cheap Ferret Food for Weight Gain
Formulated with taurine, protein, and healthy vitamins, the Wild Harvest Advanced Diet ensures your ferret is receiving the proper nutrition for a strong and healthy body. It contains 38% crude protein, 14% crude fat, and 6% crude fiber, contributing to a well-balanced diet.
For an extra boost in nutrition, the Wild Harvest also contains probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which promote heart, eye, and brain health.
Since the Wild Harvest doesn’t contain a lot of protein, you’ll have to provide your ferret his daily dose of protein elsewhere; usually in the form of raw meat or eggs.
- Contains taurine, which supports nerve and heart health
- Includes probiotics and omega-3 for improved digestive health
- Helps keep a healthy coat
- Doesn’t have a high protein content compared to other foods on this list
- Marshall Pet Products Uncle Jim’s Original DUK Soup Mix – Best Supplement for Weight Gain
Uncle Jim’s Original DUK Soup Mix is specifically made for malnourished and sick ferrets. It promotes a ferret’s appetite without upsetting his digestive system.
Made with a probiotic called Lactobacillus Acidophilus, the DUK Soup Mix is guaranteed to add weight to your ferret, according to studies. This soup is also ideal for ferrets who recently underwent surgery or are experiencing ECE (Epizootic Catarrhal Enteritis) symptoms, which is an enteric viral disease of ferrets caused by ferret enteric coronavirus.
Do keep in mind that the DUK Soup Mix should only be used as a supplement and a dietary aid. It shouldn’t completely replace your ferret’s regular diet. For best results, mix the DUK Soup in your ferret’s food.
- Ideal for ferrets malnourished and sick ferrets
- Appetizing taste
- Contains healthy probiotics
- Can be used as treats
- Must be mixed with other ferret food
- Instinct High Protein Cat Food – Best High Protein Ferret Food
Although there are commercially available pet foods designed specifically for ferrets, they sometimes don’t contain the right amount of protein and fat required for malnourished or underweight ferrets.
Cat food isn’t always high in protein, but the Instinct High Protein Cat Food is specifically formulated for cats requiring a special high protein diet. It contains up to 95% protein, making it suitable for ferrets that need to gain weight quickly.
The Instinct High Protein Cat Food has up to three times more real chicken compared to regular cat food. It also has a rich base of amino acids that work wonders for your ferret’s joint and organ health.
- Made from raw meat ingredients
- Minimally processed
- Completely free of starches, grains, and fillers
- Includes probiotics to help with proper digestion
- Isn’t a long-term replacement for ferret food; only until weight is gained
- Wysong Ferret Archetype – Best Raw Meat-Based Ferret Food
Of all the raw meat-based ferret foods we’ve looked at, the Wysong Ferret Archetype is arguably the best.
Aside from its main ingredient—chicken, rabbit, or quail, depending on the flavor you choose—this ferret food contains plant nutrients, nutraceuticals, and an array of vitamins and minerals. It’s also rich in protein and amino acids, with a minimum of 44% crude protein and 36% crude fat.
The best thing about the Wysong Ferret Archetype is that it emulates the carnivorous, raw food ferrets eat in the wild; the very same they’re genetically programmed for, but better with the inclusion of healthy nutrition.
This ferret food can be used as a meal replacement to help malnourished ferrets gain weight or a top-dressing to their regular dry diet.
- 100% starch-free
- Contains taurine
- Predominantly made with meat-based ingredients (up to 99% meat)
- High fat content, so mustn’t be fed in excess to prevent obesity
Why You Might Need Your Ferret to Gain Weight
Ferrets require frequent, small meals because they have a high metabolism and a short digestive tract. As such, they need a constant supply of food to keep their weight up.
Unfortunately, new ferret owners accidentally underfeed their ferrets because they don’t exactly know the right amount of food required, leading to malnourishment.
Underweight or malnourished ferrets are extremely susceptible to health-related issues, which is why you should bulk them up if they weigh less than 3 pounds (for males) and 1.5 pounds (for females).
You also need your ferret to gain weight to prepare him for surgery. Malnourished ferrets are more likely to experience complications during and after surgery, so they need to put on a healthy weight before the scheduled surgery date.
How To Help a Ferret Gain Weight
If a ferret is underweight, owners need to increase their ferret’s daily calories via additional food intake. Ferrets need to eat about 5-7% of their body weight every day, but malnourished ferrets need to eat almost twice the amount.
The food given must contain a high amount of animal-based proteins and fat to keep up their weight. For especially malnourished ferrets, it’s recommended to mix a high-calorie supplement paste like Uncle Jim’s Original DUK Soup Mix with their regular food.
Another quick and easy way to increase a ferret’s daily calorie intake is to give them more treats. As some treats are a fixed size with fixed calorie content, you can calculate how many calories your ferrets are eating. We recommend the NBone Ferret Soft Treats as it’s made with real chicken and has Omega-3 additives.
Finally, increase your ferret’s raw meat intake. Give your ferret a mixed match of raw cuts of meat, organ, and bone so as to mimic a ferret’s natural diet. Lean towards the fattier parts of the meat to increase your ferret’s calorie intake.
What to Look Out for in Ferret Food for Weight Gain
When choosing commercial ferret food for ferrets, pay close attention to the ingredient list and labels. This way, you’ll be able to select the best ferret food to aid with weight gain. Consider the following factors:
Ferrets are obligate carnivores, so they need high amounts of protein in their diet. This is especially true if they’re malnourished or underweight.
To help your ferrets gain weight, feed them ferret food with at least 40% crude protein. If the ferret food contains less than 40% protein, mix it with a protein supplement, raw meat, or raw eggs to increase their caloric consumption.
Unlike omnivores, ferrets don’t need carbohydrates or fiber in any quantities. In fact, carbohydrates aren’t beneficial to ferrets at all, as it doesn’t convert to energy. Ferrets use fat as their main source of energy, so it’s important that they consume food with copious amounts of fat.
Search for a food that contains a minimum of 20% crude fat. If the food doesn’t contain at least 20% fat, use fatty acid supplements such as Linatone, raw meat fat, or egg yolk.
When buying ferret food, make sure the first ingredient listed on the ingredients list is meat, like chicken, rabbit, quail, or cow.
Ingredients are usually listed in order, from the highest amount to the least amount. So, if the first ingredient isn’t animal-based, like grain or sweet potatoes, move on to the next one.
Also, avoid foods that list carbohydrate or vegetable sources as the main ingredient, as ferrets don’t have the ability to digest these foods.
There you have it, folks; our of 5 of the best ferret foods for weight gain!
If we had to choose just one, our top pick will be the Wysong Ferret Epigen 90.
Aside from its high protein count—a whopping 62%—the Epigen 90 is gentle on the stomach, making it the ideal choice for sick and/or malnourished ferrets, as well as those with sensitive stomachs.
Furthermore, it doesn’t contain starch or trace carbohydrates, making it a safe and healthy choice for your slinky babies!