Ferrets are getting more and more popular among pet owners. Ferrets are cute, and you can train them to do tricks like fetching a ball or playing dead. But did you know that the little guys also love eating? Ferret food should contain high-quality protein for the proper growth and development of your furry friend.
Lately, I have heard the question “Can ferrets eat strawberries” quite often. The answer is NO! Ferrets should not eat strawberries!
Why? Well, ferrets are so-called obligate carnivores. That means they need meat to survive. Strawberries are fruits that are very rich in sugar content but low on proteins.
Why Are Strawberries Harmful For Ferrets?
Strawberries are harmful because of their high sugar content. Strawberries are rich in complex carbohydrates, which provide energy for the body. However, with ferrets, these carbs aren’t broken down into simple sugars until after digestion. This causes an increase in blood glucose levels, which leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can result in fat storage and other health problems such as diabetes.
Do NOT let your ferret have strawberries. I know it might look cute and fun when he eats them, but don’t give him any. It will only lead to trouble later on. Instead, feed your ferret healthy foods that are good sources of animal-based protein.
Can Ferrets Eat Fruits?
Can ferrets eat fruits? No, they should not eat fruits. That is because fruits contain sugar and sugar is bad for them. Not only will sugar make them fat but ferrets are also prone to developing diabetes. Sugar can trigger diabetes and other health problems if consumed regularly by your furry friend. In severe cases, ferrets could develop a condition called insulinoma.
Insulinomas are a cancer of the pancreatic cells and need medical treatment – in some cases, even surgery is necessary – spare your ferret from those complications. Don´t give it any fruits at all!
What about vegetables? Can Ferrets Eat Vegetables?
No. Ferrets should not eat vegetables either. They can not digest plant material properly. They lack what is called the cecum. A part of the digestive system that is responsible for breaking down cellulose into glucose which then gets absorbed through the intestinal wall.
Ferrets can not process fiber! Plants are usually rich in fiber – which makes it a bad idea to feed them plants/vegetables. They could suffer from constipation and diarrhea. Constipation causes hard stools while diarrhea leads to loose stool. Both conditions require veterinary attention.
So What Should You Feed Your Ferret?
The best thing to feed your ferret would be raw meat. Remember, they are strict meat-eaters! And unlike dogs, ferrets thrive on a raw meat-only diet. They do not need anything else (besides water of course) but raw and fresh meat.
Ferrets are not limited to any special kind of meat. Any type of animal meat works fine for them. Chicken, beef, lamb, pork, venison, rabbit, duck…they don’t care. Just remember: keep it fresh.
Here is a short overview of the different kinds of meats suitable
- chicken breast
- chicken wings
- game birds
- turkey necks
- raw bones
- feeder mice
And many more. Make sure that the meat is fresh and of good quality. If possible, get it directly from the butcher. It’s much better than buying frozen meat. Frozen meat has been thawed out already and might be contaminated with bacteria. So always buy freshly slaughtered animals.
How Much Meat Do Ferrets Need?
That depends entirely on their age and size. Young ferrets tend to grow fast and therefore need more food. Older ones tend to lose weight over time and thus need less food.
Other Foods That Should be Avoided
Everything besides meat or meat-based products should be avoided. This includes milk, cheese, bread, cereals, grains, pasta, potatoes, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, etc. These foods are high in carbohydrates and sugars. Carbohydrates cause obesity and excess body weight.
What about Dairy Products?
Ferrets are lactose intolerant, so dairy products shouldn’t be given to them. If they have milk or cheese they might suffer from bloating or diarrhea. Just don’t let your furry friend drink cow’s milk. Instead, you may want to try goat’s milk. Goat’s milk contains less lactose compared to cows’ milk. But still, there is no guarantee that your pet won’t react negatively to this product.
Onions and Garlic?
No onions and no garlic! Onions are known to cause hemolytic anemia, and garlic can harm your ferrets’ kidneys.
Ferrets should never eat grains. Wheat, rice, oats, or corn cant be digested by your furry friend. What goes in – comes out … If you know what I mean. Letting your furball have grain will result in him feeling sick and bloated. He’ll also develop gas problems. This happens because he cannot break down these foods correctly.
Ferrets should not have strawberries because of the high sugar content. Our little furry friends are prone to developing diabetes and insulinomas. Sugar may trigger those conditions – avoid giving them sweets like candy bars or chocolate too. Also, make sure that all other fruits are safely hidden away from your ferret. All that ferrets need is meat. Raw, fresh meat!