Ferrets are intelligent little creatures that are becoming more and more popular pets. However, the ferret diet is not as straightforward as you might think – and eating an oreo can have some serious consequences.
Ferrets are classified into “obligate carnivores,” which means they need meat to survive. There’s no way around it, even if a ferret looks like it’s begging for a crunchy treat.
The answer to the question “Can ferrets eat Oreos?” is a resounding NO.
Why are Oreos Bad for your Ferret?
Ferrets are strict meat-eaters. That means that they should live on a diet of meat, not Oreos. Their digestive tract is designed to digest meat only. They are having a hard time with wheat, grains, milk, sugar, and so on.
As a matter of fact, ferrets should not eat any foods that contain plant material, such as wheat in Oreos. They can not digest it, and it will give them a hard time and cause them to have an upset stomach. If your furry friend eats too many fibers, for example, he could suffer from an intestinal blockage.
What Happens when a Ferret eats an Oreo?
Well, if your ferret has eaten one or two cookies, there won’t be much damage done. But what about three or four? The problem starts at this point because the cookie contains gluten. Gluten causes inflammation in the intestines, causing diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems.
Sugar is Bad for Ferrets
Ferrets should not eat any sugar at all! Our furry friends are prone to developing diabetes or, even worse, insulinomas. These tumors grow inside their pancreas and produce large amounts of insulin. This hormone makes blood glucose levels rise very high, resulting in severe hypoglycemia.
Basically, keep your ferret away from any food sources that contain sugar!
What about Fruits and Vegetables?
While most people would agree that fruits and veggies are good for us, our ferrets don’t seem to share these sentiments. In fact, they’re quite picky eaters. Fruits and veggies should not be part of their regular diets.
Fruits are bad because of fructose which basically is nothing else but sugar. Vegetables also pose a threat since they contain cellulose fiber. Fiber doesn’t get digested by the body. Instead, it gets stuck in the intestine, where it creates gas and bloating. Or, in severe cases, intestinal blockages.
If your ferret eats something containing either of those things, then he’ll probably end up suffering from diarrhea. Diarrhea leads to dehydration, weight loss, and lethargic behavior.
Do not feed your ferret any grains. Grains include rice, oats, barley, corn, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, etc. All of these are highly indigestible for ferrets. It takes a lot of work for the small intestine to break down these types of carbs. And guess what? Your ferret does not do well with lots of effort. He needs easy meals, plain and simple.
Ferrets are lactose intolerant—That’s why you should stay clear of dairy products. Dairy includes cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream, cottage cheese, sour cream, etc. Lactose intolerance occurs when the body cannot properly absorb lactose. As a result, dairy products make ferrets feel ill.
What is a Healthy Ferret Diet?
Good quality food made specifically for ferrets would be best. It should consist mainly of high protein content and low carbohydrates. A balanced diet consists of approximately 35% protein and 20% fat.
If you want to feed your pet a healthier option than Oreos, try these different meats:
- chicken breast
- game birds
- fish (sometimes)
- bones (raw)
- eggs (sometimes)
You may also consider feeding him raw bones instead of treats. This helps keep his teeth clean and strong. There is a strong movement preaching a raw diet for ferrets. And after all, it is only natural. Ferrets are obligate carnivores.
They were domesticated around 2500 years ago. And one of their main purposes was to keep mice, rats, and rodents away from grain stores. They have been doing this job ever since. So if we can trust them to keep pests out of our homes, I think we can trust them to know how to handle themselves at mealtimes.
Maybe you are not aware of this, but ferrets are still used for hunting rabbits in certain parts of the world. Please read our article about rabbiting here.
Not everybody has the time to prepare 5-7 meals a day made of fresh meat. In that case, kibble comes in handy. Kibbles can come in many forms. Do not give your furry friend dog food!
There are very healthy kibbles on the market. The best kibble must be “ferret-grade.” The best commercial kibble has up to 60% meat and only 5% fiber in them. Whereas, if you buy a bag of dry cat food at the store, there will usually be more than 50% grain in it.
Grain contains no nutritional value whatsoever. So while we humans might enjoy eating cereal every morning, this isn’t good for ferrets.
In summary, a proper diet for your ferret depends on several factors. First off, he needs a varied diet. Second, he needs a diet rich in proteins. Third, he needs a diet free of carbohydrates. Fourth, he needs a diet containing enough calories. Fifth, he needs a diet that provides essential vitamins and minerals. Sixth, he needs a diet without sugar, vegetable, fruits, additives, or preservatives.
The Quintessence – Ferrets, should never eat Oreos!