When you see a ferret occasionally, you may have a rough idea of what ferrets eat.
As a rule, if rabbits are tiny horses, ferrets are tiny cats. Use this as your guide to advising what your ferret should eat.
Ferrets are carnivores, they eat meat and need it to survive. Ferrets have very short gastrointestinal systems and the time taken for food to pass from mouth to faeces is 3 hours.
Wow. So dont fast ferrets more than 3-4 hours for surgery as its unnecessary!
Okay, ferrets eat meat, and they like to eat a small mount of food frequently, grazing on the food available. The ideal ferret diet contains approximately;
And low fibre. That short gastrointestinal transit time does not favour high fibre diets.
So what can you feed (or advise my clients) to feed your ferret?
Meat based whole food diets – ie dead mice / rats available as per reptile care
OR far more conveniently – dry ferret commercial diets or premium quality dry cat foods.
Why premium cat foods? Why not supermarket brands or dog food?
They don’t meet the full nutritional requirements of ferrets, so feed at your ferrets peril. Ideally don’t feed these at all.
Treats should be kept to a minimum, stick to nutrigel/dry cat food, eggs or other commerical ferret treats!
Good luck feeding your ferrets!!
- Johnson-Delaney CA. Ferret Nutrition. VCNA: Exotic Animal Practice: 17;3 -449-470. 2014
- Nutrition for Ferrets – Gentz, N. 2018. https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&catId=102922&id=8299309