Feeding your Ferret

The ferret is an obligate carnivore, which requires him to eat meat in order to thrive. Carnivores have shorter digestive tracts than either herbivores or omnivores, making it very difficult for them to digest complex carbohydrates (fiber). Your ferret requires a high protein, high fat, low fiber diet.

Ferret foods are widely available at pet shops and online pet supply stores. Ferret kibble, or dry ferret pellets, are specially formulated for the nutritional and digestive needs of your pet.

In a pinch, premium quality cat food, available at veterinarians and pet supply shops, can be fed to your ferret. However, these foods lack some important vitamins and are not a perfect substitute. Do not feed your ferret supermarket quality cat food or dog food of any kind. Supermarket quality cat food and all dog foods contain high quantities of fiber.

Ferrets can be picky eaters and become so fond of a particular food that they refuse to eat a substitute when their regular food is not available. The best way to avoid this situation is to buy a variety of brands of dry ferret food and mix it together. This way, if one brand is unavailable, your ferret will not notice the difference.

It is better to feed your ferret a diet of dry ferret food as moist food spoils faster and ferrets often hide their food in nooks and crannies where they go bad and make a smelly mess. Dry, crunchy food is also better for dental health, as moist food encourages plaque growth on your pet’s teeth.

Food and water should be constantly available. Due to a ferret’s short digestive tract and high metabolism, he must eat several small meals a day. A ferret is not likely to overeat, so allowing food to be available 24/7 is not a problem. The amount of water should be about three times the volume of food.

Ferrets like to dig in their food bowls, tossing their kibble around the cage. A deep food bowl, filled only one third full should keep this mess to a minimum. Ferrets also like to play in their water bowls, contaminating the water with food and dirt from their feet. Water should be changed at least twice a day. A water bottle, hanging from the cage can solve this problem, but some ferrets do not take well to the bottle. A young ferret can be trained to drink from a water bottle by dabbing the metal nipple with a bit of honey to encourage him.

Snacks can be good for your ferret, but choose the right ones. Avoid sugary snacks, although your ferret may like them. The best snacks are meat-based ferret or cat treats, cooked eggs or cooked meat. You can train your ferret to come to you when he is hiding by shaking the treat box every time you give him a treat. He will soon come to associate the noise with the treat.

Feeding your ferret right can ensure he lives a long and healthy life.