Feeding Your Ferret – What to Give and What Not To

When it comes to food, ferrets are the most delicate amongst their pet counterparts. Due to their unique nutritional requirements, they need to have a specialized diet made for them. To understand the kind of food to give your ferrets, you need to understand their physical constitution and how their digestive systems work.

Ferrets are carnivorous, which means that they only eat meat. The reason why they are strictly carnivores is because they do not have a cecum or appendix, the part of intestine that helps in the digestion of vegetables. Ferrets cannot consume foods that are high in fiber or carbohydrates. Hence, their diets consist mainly of meat and animal products, and are high in protein and fat.

Since they do not have a cecum or appendix, ferrets need to stay clear of vegetables, fruits and grains. When checking the nutritional information of your ferret’s diet, be sure that it contains 35% protein, 20% fat and only two percent (or less) fiber. One advantage of purchasing ferret food is that it already has all the essential vitamins and minerals your ferret needs, so you need not concern yourself with that.

It is important to know that ferrets are able to digest food in lightning speed; food is usually broken down in no more than 4 hours. Thus, you need to feed your ferret throughout the day. Make certain that food and water are available to your pet at all times. High quality ferret food should be fed to your pets to ensure that they absorb the proper nutrients.

Adhere to the following guidelines to ensure your ferret is well fed:

The food must comprise of at least 30 to 40% protein

Keep to a fat intake of 18 to 30%

Cap the fiber intake at 2% – any higher and your ferret will suffer indigestion

The food must contain 21 amino acids

Ensure a 7% or lower ash level

Feed your ferret good carbohydrates such as rice flour or brewer’s yeast

Knowing what to feed your ferret will not suffice. You will also need to familiarize yourself with the different types of food that are dangerous to a ferret. The following should never be given to a ferret:





Yeast dough




Moldy or spoiled food

Wild worms

Large amount of raw fish

Potato, rhubarb or tomato leaves

Large amount of raw liver

Large numbers of macadamia nuts

Fruit pits

Corn cob

Should Cat Or Dog Food Be Fed To My Ferret?

When shopping for ferret food it is important to know that cat or dog food are not suitable for ferrets’ consumption. They will suffer from nutritional imbalance if they ingest cat or dog food. This can give rise to illness and in more severe cases, death. In the past, cat or dog food were used as substitutes for ferret food but these types of highly processed food can cause your ferrets to fall sick. Today, with the proliferation of development of ferret food, you can feed your pet the right kind of food it needs. Ferret food is readily available in both physical and online stores.

When Feeding My Ferret, What Should I Stay Clear Of?

As ferrets do not have a cecum or appendix, their intestinal systems are unable to digest fiber. Ferrets do not pick their foods; they eat whatever is fed to them, so it is the owner’s responsibility to not feed a ferret fruits, grains or vegetables. Doing so will cause health complications such as stomach blockage. In the event of a stomach blockage, a surgery has to be promptly performed. If left untreated, the ferret may die.

When purchasing ferret food, it is always good to examine the nutritional labels closely. The information will help you determine if the ferret food is indeed suitable for your ferrets, and if it meets their daily nutritional requirements.

By Laura