Ferrets are becoming more and more popular again with pet owners, some of whom are now asking if it is safe to feed their ferret’s bones or not?
Lamb’s bones provide good nutrition for your ferret, and while many other types of meat such as chicken, turkey, and beef will also be good options for their meals, lamb bone provides unique benefits that will help keep them and their teeth healthy.
So the answer is yes! Ferrets can eat lamb bones!
What Should my Ferret Eat?
Ferrets are obligate carnivores, which means that they are meat-eaters. That means they need to eat meat, and bone is a part of their diet.
„The small intestine of the ferret is adapted to digesting enzymes rather than carbohydrates, which means that they get a lot less energy from grains, fruits, and vegetables than a human would,” said Lisa Greenstone, author of The Ferret Chronicles.
Here is a short overview of the meats appropriate for ferrets:
- chicken wings
- turkey necks
- bones (raw)
Dry Food – Kibble
Kibble is convenient, but it should be the secondary eating option for your ferret, not the main one. When your buying kibble, make sure it’s a product specifically made for ferrets. Kibble with higher vegetable and fruit content should be avoided.
If you are unsure – check the ingredients list. Fiber should be listed as the Last component, not the first. Avoid grains, seeds, and corn as well.
When to feed kibble
Always as an addition! They need fresh meat most of all, and while kibble provides nutritional value, add some variety to your furry friends’ diet.
The most important part of a ferret’s diet will always be meat. It contains the nutrients that they need.
Canned food is good when you are unable to prepare fresh food for your ferret. But avoid products that contain chemical preservatives, artificial ingredients, and fiber.
Some cat foods are also suitable for ferrets, mostly kitten food. Again, if you are unsure, read the ingredients list.
Raw eggs are suitable for ferrets. It’s ok to feed eggs every once in a while. You could feed them raw or boiled.
What Should My Ferret Not Eat?
While you should feed your pet a variety of foods, these are the items that you should avoid feeding them:
- anything sugar
- dog food
Everything besides meat-based products should be avoided. This also includes vegetables and fruits. Avoid those as well, as they do not add any nutritional value to their diet.
Why Sugar is Bad for Ferrets
Ferrets are prone to developing insulinomas. Many ferrets develop this cancer of the pancreatic cells around the age of 4-6 years old. It is believed that sugar could be one of the triggers for this cancer, so it is advised to avoid sugar in the diet altogether.
The best advice is ‘if you can’t pronounce it, your ferret shouldn’t eat it.
How to make your ferret like its Meat
Before starting, you need to know that eating meat is a learned behavior. Your ferret gets imprinted to the foods it likes by around six months of age.
If your furry friend hasn’t eaten meat until then, chances are it won’t like it right away.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t change that behavior and help your ferret start having a healthier and happier life. You need to dedicate yourself for a time and feed it with fresh meat regularly.
And don’t give up! Ferrets will not eat anything just once, but you need a strong will and persistence to make them like their meat and won’t eat anything else.
Mix fresh chicken breast pieces with their regular kibble, hand-feed, or prepare a cold soup of puréed chicken legs, wings, and bones. Feed the soup in small portions to your ferret every day. It will soon learn to like it.
For several days in a row, mix the meat with their regular food. Gradually replace the regular kibble with the meat, little by little.
Your ferret will eventually develop a taste for the chicken. Repeat this trick with different meats until your furry friend is eating the meat of its own accord.
When Is the Best Time to Feed My Ferret?
Ferrets eat around eight times per day. The reason why they need to eat so often is that their digestive tracts are relatively short. What goes in comes out pretty fast too …
They will be looking for food during their rest periods too. So, make sure you have something prepared.
You can also supplement their food with some kibble in the morning – in case you’re not around.
To sum up, ferrets are carnivorous mammals, which means that they are meat-eaters. Always give your ferret small portions of meat, not too much, and make sure it’s fresh.
Bones are a healthy addition to their diet and should always be fed raw!
Their primary source of nutrition is meat, not plant-based foods. And as a general rule, avoid vegetables and fruits.