Ferrets are wonderful pets that are easy to care about. Ferrets need to follow a diet strictly based on meat. After all, they are obligate carnivores.
So maybe you are wondering if your ferret can eat Nutella? Here is the answer: NO! Ferrets should not eat Nutella.
Why is Nutella bad for Ferrets?
As mentioned above. Ferrets are strict meat-eaters. Their primary diet should consist of animal-based products.
Ferrets are not able to process more significant amounts of carbohydrates, sugar, or fiber.
Here is the ingredients list of Nutella:
- Palm Oil
Sadly sugar is a big no-go for ferrets. Excessive consumption of sugar can lead to severe health issues.
Sugar can lead to Diabetes, Hyperglycemia, and eventually to Insulinoma.
What is an Insulinoma?
According to the VCA:
„An insulinoma is a tumor that involves the beta cells of the pancreas. Beta cells are the cells that produce the hormone insulin. Insulinomas are surprisingly common in ferrets. An insulinoma may be an insulin-producing adenoma or an insulin-producing adenocarcinoma. By definition, an adenoma is benign, while an adenocarcinoma is malignant.“
Resulting in a malfunction of insulin production. The effects are as follows:
„Clinical signs may include pawing at the mouth, “stargazing,” weakness (often seen in the hind end), weight loss, tremors, collapse, abnormal behavior, depression, lethargy, and confusion. The symptoms can progress to include seizures and hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) coma.“
Do not put your ferret at risk. Do not let it have sugary foods at all!
Treatment of Insulinomas
There are two ways to treat your ferret. Either a medical or a surgical treatment.
Here is what Elisabeth Simone-Freilicher, DVM, DABVP (Avian practice) has to say about it:
„There is controversy regarding whether surgical or medical management is the best treatment for insulinomas in ferrets. Surgery is preferred in humans and dogs, and is considered the treatment of choice to stop or slow progression of the disease in ferrets. Surgery is associated with longer survival times (1.25-1.8 years vs. 0.5-1.5 years with medical management alone). However, several studies have shown that more than half the ferrets with nodulectomies or partial pancreatectomies will have recurrence of clinical signs in less than one year, and a small number will not achieve euglycemia post-operatively. Once informed of this, many owners decline surgical intervention in favor of medical management. In my experience, surgical intervention tends to be performed more often in ferrets which are not able to be stabilized medically, or have other known surgical diseases such as adrenal gland disease.“
So basically, depending on the physical circumstances of your ferret, treatment may be chosen.
What is an Appropriate Diet for Ferrets
Ferrets need meat, animal-based proteins, and fat. The ideal ratio of protein and fat is as follows:
- approximately 35% of protein
- approximately 20% of fat
To achieve proper nutrition, you should feed a combination of dry food (kibble) and meat. Ferrets do not need to eat vegetables or fruits (kale is bad)
Meats that are good for your Ferret
- chicken wings
- turkey necks
- Game birds
- bones (raw)
- fish (sometimes)
Ferrets are not limited to a specific protein source. As mentioned above, they are carnivores and will eat many different types of meat.
Many ferret owners propagate a raw meat-only diet. They find that the ferret is healthier and more robust, and more active if eating unprocessed meats only.
Not all ferrets will eat raw meat, though. They may bite or smell it and then dislike it. A reason for that is that ferrets are imprinted to their foods by the age of approximately six months.
Many pet stores that sell ferrets feed a kibble-based diet only. And while there is nothing wrong with that, your ferret just never had the opportunity to try raw foods.
But it is not hard to turn your ferret into a raw meat eater. Just feed it some selected meats, some bones, and you can even use a natural liver. They are full of protein and very healthy.
You can start by adding small pieces of meat or offal to their kibble. Your ferret will probably catch onto that pretty fast.
It can be hard to get them at first. My suggestion is to use liver or other meat. After many taste tests, they can enjoy hunting raw meats.
A combination of meat and kibble is ideal. Pick a kibble made especially for ferrets.
Do not feed processed food that has been designed for cats or dogs instead. This food is not suitable for your ferret. It contains too many fibers and starch, and artificial flavoring.
This can cause diarrhea and a host of other health problems. Take a look at the ingredients used. If only meat is listed, then you are in good shape.
Ferrets should not eat Nutella. They are strict meat-eaters and thrive on a diet consisting of meat, meat, and meat.
Sugar, fiber, and plant matter are nothing that is beneficial to your furry friend. Avoid feeding those things to keep your ferret in good health.