Ferrets are becoming more popular than ever. They have a lot of fun, and they make great pets for families with children. There is no doubt that owning a ferret can be an enjoyable experience. However, there are some things you need to know before getting one.
Ferrets require special care to live long, healthy lives. If you want your pet to stay happy and healthy all year round, you must take good care of them. We have been asked several times about the things that ferrets can eat.
One question was if ferrets can eat ants? While they certainly could, some ants (fire-ants) have a venomous bite that could cause severe allergic reactions.
So my answer is no. Better do not let your ferret eat ants!
Can Ants Hurt Ferrets?
“Normal” ants should not pose any problem to your ferret. But the thing is that not all of us can tell the difference between a fire ant and a “normal” ant. My advice is to get rid of ants as soon as you find them.
Fire ants are venomous. And if enough of them would sting your ferret, they could, in fact, hurt your ferret. This could go as far as death. To be on the safe side – please do not let your ferret play around with ants. It’s just too dangerous.
What Insects are Safe for my Ferret?
First off, ferrets do not need to eat insects. It is maybe a nice addition to their regular diet and could be a special treat. Pet stores sell feeder crickets, for example.
Generally, I would say it’s better to avoid feeding “wild” insects – you never know what might have been sprayed on them or what they might have eaten!
What Can I Feed My Ferret?
There are many different types of food available on the market today. Some people like to give their ferrets dry kibble. Others prefer wet foods such as canned food. The choice really depends on what kind of diet your ferret is used to.
If you’re feeding them dry food, make sure it is made for ferrets because most commercial foods contain too much fiber and carbohydrates.
Generally speaking, ferrets are strict meat-eaters. That means that they should only eat meat-based products. And while kibble is OK, most ferrets will also enjoy eating raw meat. You can buy frozen chicken breast fillets at the supermarket, which makes this task easier. Just thaw out the product first. Then cut into small pieces and serve.
If you’re looking for something else, try searching online for recipes. Or ask your vet for recommendations.
Kibble for Ferrets
Kibble is a widespread ferret food. Make sure it’s a kibble explicitly made for ferrets. Most, if not all, larger pet stores rely 100% on dry food to feed their ferrets. The advantages are:
- easy to store
- easy to prepare
- contains all the nutritions your ferret needs
Wet Food for Ferrets
There are several brands of wet ferret food available. Additionally, some wet cat foods are suitable for ferrets as well. Always remember that cat food should only be given as a treat and should never replace your ferrets’ regular diet.
The most natural way to feed your furry friend is a raw meat diet. Chicken breast and chicken wings are commonly used for ferret food because they are inexpensive and readily available. But your ferret is not limited to just chicken. Rabbit, beef, and liver are also very commonly used.
- turkey necks
- game birds
- bones (raw)
- tuna (only sometimes)
Make sure to buy fresh and use it fast. What can not be fed right now should be frozen for later use.
How Much Food Should I Give My Ferret Every Day?
Ferrets are very active and need energy. Ferrets should eat 5-7 times per day. Due to their high activity levels, ferrets ingest around 7% of their body weight in food every 24 hours.
What Food Can Hurt Ferrets?
Ferrets are obligate carnivores. Fruits and vegetables are something your furry friend does not need in its diet. In fact, fruits and veggies may even cause problems when consumed by ferrets. They do not digest these items properly and therefore pass through without being digested. This causes gas production and diarrhea.
Especially the fiber in plants could cause severe problems. Intestinal blockages are not uncommon and must be treated immediately. If left untreated, intestinal blockage can lead to death.
Fruits are a no-go too. That’s because of the sugar they contain. Ferrets are prone to insulinomas and diabetis. Sugar can trigger an overproduction of insulin, leading to hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is dangerous for ferrets and requires professional treatment.
Can Ferrets Eat Sugar?
No! Never give anything to your ferret that contains sugar. As mentioned above, sugar may trigger diabetes or other health issues.
Can Ferrets Eat Dog Treats?
Most dog treats have fiber and other fillers as one of their main ingredients. Those are bad for ferrets. They can not digest fiber properly and will end up with constipation.
Theoretically, ferrets could eat ants. But some ants are venomous and potentially dangerous for ferrets. The fire ant is an example. To be on the safe side, do not allow your ferret to eat ants.
Stick with regular ferret food instead. You can choose between dry, wet, raw, freeze-dried, canned, etc. There are pros and cons to each option. Choose what works best for your ferret – and always make sure to provide a balanced diet.