Ferrets are known for being energetic and playful animals who are very popular as pets. They need a healthy diet to stay active and fit. Their need for protein, along with their exclusive digestive system that lacks sufficient parts to process many foods, means that ferrets should have to be very “careful” what to eat.
Let me answer your question, “Can Ferrets Eat Olives” – No! Ferrets should not eat olives!
Why are Olives not Good for Ferrets?
Ferrets are obligate carnivores that mean they must consume meat to survive. Olives contain high levels of oleic acid, which can cause diarrhea if ingested by a ferret. This is because it causes an increase in intestinal motility resulting in loose stool.
In addition, ferrets lack a caecum – and can not digest plant-based foods!
“…Most mammalian herbivores have a relatively large cecum, hosting a large number of bacteria, which aid in the enzymatic breakdown of plant materials such as cellulose; in many species,…”
After getting this out of the way, we can move on to other good foods for ferrets to eat!
What Should Ferrets Eat?
Ferrets are strict carnivores and have a very high requirement for protein. This means that they have to get all of the nutrients they need from meat sources. Your furry friend needs a diet that should consist of 32 – 38% protein and 15 – 20% fat.
One way to achieve this is to feed your ferret various meaty bones (such as chicken, beef), raw meat, (raw) eggs, and poultry. Some examples are:
- chicken wings
- turkey necks
- game birds
- bones (uncooked!)
- eggs (sometimes)
- tuna (sometimes)
- feeder mice/chicks
Ferrets are big fans of PREY! You should know that prey contains high amounts of protein, fat, and other nutritional value that can significantly benefit your ferret’s health. Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to buy feeder mice. They are already dead, and due to packaging, you could easily store them in your fridge or freezer.
A good alternative is a kibble. Basically, that’s dry food – it’s easy to store and has a long shelf life. Make sure to buy kibble that is made for ferrets. However, this is still not as good as feeding your ferret natural meat.
Kibble contains everything your ferret needs and comes in handy when you need to leave food for your ferret for a more extended time. If you want to know what are the best kibbles out there, check out this article.
How Often Do Ferrets Eat?
Due to their short digestive tracts, ferrets tend to eat small meals several times a day. 6-8 times a day is not uncommon. Did you know that ferrets eat around 5-7% of their own weight in food every day?
The amount of food or the frequency you feed your ferret depends on a few things, such as the kind of food you are providing and the individual needs of your ferret. Raw meat, for example, will keep your furry friend fed for an extended period.
However, if you are feeding kibble, you should remember that ferrets need to be provided more often. As a general rule of thumb – feed your ferret every 2-4 hours.
Why is that so? Raw meat carries more “energy” than processed, dry food.
No matter what type of food you give your ferret, always make sure that it’s fresh and from a good brand. Ferrets tend to be picky eaters, so this tip can help you introduce new food gradually and in small portions.
Things Ferrets should never Eat
Ferrets should never be fed fruits. Fruits contain too much sugar, which can cause diabetes or insulinomas.
Vegetables also contain carbohydrates and sugars. The consumption of vegetables can lead to bloating and gas. Ferrets cannot digest most of the fiber in vegetables. This can lead to constipation and intestinal blockage.
Dog food is not suitable for ferrets. It contains large amounts of fiber, fillers, possibly starch, and other things your ferrets’ digestive system can not handle.
Artificial Sweeteners (Xylitol)
The sugar alcohol xylitol is used as a sweetener. Your ferret can become sick or even die from even small amounts of xylitol. You need to keep your ferret away from any foods containing xylitol (gum, candies, etc…)
Ferrets are lactose intolerant, so they should never be fed dairy products.
Ferrets should not eat fruits or vegetables. That’s why your furry friend should not have olives! The consumption of plant material may cause bloat and diarrhea. Too much fiber could lead to intestinal blockage. Ferrets are strict meat-eaters. Give them meat and other animal-based products to make your ferret healthy and strong.
Tipp: One of the best things you can do is give them prey – feeder mice/chicks, etc. This way, you’re feeding them exactly what they need.