Ferrets, similar to cats, are obligate carnivores (meat eaters). They can’t survive without having meat in their diet. Although having fresh raw meat is part of the ferret’s natural diet, it may include harmful parasites and microbes that create risks undesirable to pet owners. Only part of their diet is meat, because when predators eat their prey they eat not only the muscle meat but also liver, kidneys, and intestinal tract, and bones as well. If they were limited to just meat it would cause damaging and ultimately deadly dietary imbalances.
What do Ferrets Eat? Not Dog Food:
Ferrets will eventually die of malnutrition if fed only dog food. A number of nutrients not present in commercially made dog foods, are a requirement for obligate carnivores. Addition, commercial dog food has high levels of carbohydrate and at these elevated levels ferrets are unable to process them. Simple carbohydrates, protein, and fat is where most of their calories should come from. They have a fast metabolism so they need a concentrated diet and can not eat much in one sitting because their intestinal tract is short. They should get the majority of their calories in their diet from fat, the largest part of their energy source.
A good ferret diet must have these 4 traits:
1. High in energy
2. High in protein 35 %
3. At least 20 % fat
4. Low in fiber
What do ferrets eat? Pre 1980:
In the 80’s, high quality cat foods or commercial mink or fox diets were the only available choices for feeding your ferrets, other than Making your own ferret ration at home. It is not for the weak stomach, but by mixing uncooked raw meats (to include chicken and meat) bones as well, egg among other ingredients and then cook them. Although ferrets did well on the homemade blend they found some mink and fox rations were more convenient, but these diets were sold in large quantities and are not available everywhere.
Accessible at pet stores, Wal Mart and some grocery stores, specially formulated foods specific to ferrets are now readily accessible. Most original ferret food was modified from mink food luckily they have very similar dietary needs. The main distinction between a mink’s diet and ferret’s diet is mink are fish eaters, and ferrets don’t do not like fish at all. Mink food made commercially has fish for its main ingredient. Unfortunately some ferret rations are made with frozen fish that was poorly processed giving the pellets a fishy flavor that is unacceptable to many ferrets. Baby Ferrets don’t know any better and are offered this type of food when weaning, they will typically eat it and do fine on it. But, older ferrets know better and often will not even try it and will starve themselves if this is the only thing for them to eat. Made to taste good the new ferret diets are nutritionally balanced as well.
Premium cat foods sold in vet clinics and pet store may not be formulated for ferrets and are not made particularly for ferrets; most ferrets will find them appealing and they are nutritionally adequate for your ferrets. Cat foods from grocery store are not interchangeable with ferret food it lacks the nutrition ferrets need it is cheaper but not of the same quality. With cheap cat food it takes two times as much food to get all the calories a ferret needs. It is not a good idea to think about the cheap foods for your ferret
What do Ferrets eat? if Finicky:
Ferrets can become hooked on a certain flavor or brand of ferret food and this makes it very hard to substitute food, even if the food they like is nutritionally insufficient. It is imperative to start young ferrets on a well balanced diet that will not possibly become sold out in the future. Mixing three different feeds of quality ferret foods is the greatest insurance maybe even a high quality feline food. They will have a diversity of flavors and not become accustom to one flavor or become as finicky with a variety of flavors. If you are stuck in a situation where only two out of the three foods are available you will be okay because you no longer have a picky ferret. You also must remember that a big change in diets may cause diarrhea as well as stomach and intestinal problems. I hope this article answered all your questions and concerns and now you will able to satisfy your all ferret’s needs.