Can Ferrets Eat Ice Cream?4 min read

This article is about the question Can ferrets eat ice cream? The short answer is no. They should not eat ice cream. Firstly they are lactose intolerant, and second the sugar in ice cream is bad for them.

Why Should Ferrets not Eat Ice Cream?

Lactose Intolerance

Ferrets are known for being lactose intolerant. They are unable to digest lactose which is found in dairy products such as cheese and ice cream. This intolerance to dairy products can cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues.

So for the same reasons ferrets shouldn’t drink milk, you should be careful that they don’t eat ice cream.

Ferrets Are Prone to Diabetes

The sugar in ice cream is actually terrible for our furry friends. In case you didn’t know – ferrets are prone to developing diabetes. Diabetes is an incurable disease and has severe side effects if untreated.

Side effects of diabetes:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Increase thirst and urination
  • Weight loss/weight gain
  • lethargy, slow movement
  • other change in behavior or attitude

If your ferret suddenly stops eating or plays less and sleeps more, it might be suffering from diabetes. In such cases, you need to see a veterinarian immediately.


Insulinoma is a tumor of the pancreas that produces excess insulin. Insulinomas are cancerous. This is why you should never let your ferret eat sweetened treats or any other food with high sugar content (ex. cookies, candies, chocolate).

There is no specific age range when insulinoma occurs in ferrets, although it is most commonly diagnosed between 4 and 5 years old. The ferret can collapse into a weakened, unresponsive state when it has a sudden onset of hypoglycemia.

An affected ferret will display intermittent signs of disease, including periods of inactivity, depression, and limb weakness, as well as hypersalivation and mouth paws. The ferret may have seizures or experience tremors if the blood sugar drops very rapidly.

Treatment options for insulinoma include surgery, medical therapy, and dietary modifications. Even when the tumor was removed, the life expectancy after is, on average, only 300 days. Don’t put your ferret at risk, don’t let it have anything outside its regular diet.

What Should Ferrets eat Instead?

A healthy diet for ferrets consists of a variety of raw foods such as

  • beef
  • chicken
  • chicken wings
  • turkey
  • turkey necks
  • bones
  • lamb
  • game birds
  • eggs
  • fish (sometimes)
  • deer
  • organs (liver)

When you are buying meat, make sure it is raw and fresh. You may want to visit your local butcher for this. Bones and such are sometimes not so easy to find in your supermarket.

If you are buying meat from a supermarket, ask for it to be freshly cut and packaged.


If you do not have the time and money to supply your furry friend with 5-7 meals of fresh meat per day, dry kibble can be a good alternative. Make sure to not feed your ferret any dry kibble that was meant for dogs, as it is full of carbohydrates and fiber.

Only the specific ferret dry food is OK to give them. There are several different brands on the market. You can buy it in pet stores or online.

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No Fruits

Ferrets should not eat any fruits. That is because of the sugar content. As mentioned above, sugar is hazardous for ferrets, and regular consumption will severely affect your ferrets’ health!

  • Diabetes
  • Insulinoma

No Vegetables

Ferrets should not eat any vegetables either. Ferrets are not designed to eat vegetables. Their digestive tracks are just not made for it. They can not digest it properly. In the worst case, the consumption of vegetables could lead to intestinal blockage.

Intestinal blockage in ferrets is when the intestines are blocked, and food does not pass through the intestines. This can become life-threatening if not treated promptly.

If you have the suspicion that your ferret “stole” some vegetables and ate them, pay close attention to their litter box. If it remains “empty” longer than 8 hours, call or make an appointment at your vet to have a look at your furry friend.


Ferrets should not eat ice cream. That is because of the sugar and milk in it. Milk is bad for ferrets because they are lactose intolerant. Even worse is the sugar. Ferrets are prone to develop diabetes or insulinoma.

Failing to eat, a change in behavior or attitude, lethargy, slow movement are some of the symptoms of diabetes in ferrets. If you notice any of these symptoms in your ferret, go and see a vet. Diabetes could eventually lead to the development of insulinoma in ferrets.

Ferrets aren’t supposed to eat vegetables or fruits either. That is because of the sugar and fiber. Ferrets can’t digest it properly, leading to intestinal blockage, which can be life-threatening if not treated immediately!

Last update on 2022-04-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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