The healthiest treats to feed your ferrets
When those beady eyes gaze longingly from that adorable furry face, it can be hard to resist the urge to indulge your ferret with whatever temptation the little trickster is trying to provoke in you. But keep in mind that, as with everything in life, moderation is the key; no more than 5% of your ferret’s overall diet should consist of treats, and not all treats are created equal. As obligate carnivores, ferrets have very specific nutritional needs that differ from those of dogs, cats, and especially humans. They cannot eat the same types of food or treats that you or even your other pets consume on a daily basis and remain completely healthy. Ferrets need a high-protein, high-fat, low-fiber diet with the main sources of protein coming from meat ingredients. They do not digest fruits, vegetables, grains/cereals, or fiber well, and should avoid sweet/sugary foods that can lead to dental problems, obesity, and an increased risk of insulinoma.
The following is a list of some great treat options to offer:
1) Meat: freeze-dried, cooked or raw (If not already part of your main diet) Chicken, turkey, beef, salmon, organ meats like liver or chicken hearts, unsalted jerky (avoid seasoned or processed meats like luncheon meat, salami, or bacon).
two) small prey animals (If not already part of their main diet) – mice, chicks, quail, rats, rabbits – preferably previously euthanized or thawed to prevent injury to your ferret.
3) insects – (live/dry) Earthworms. Mealworms. crickets cockroaches live bait.
4) baby chicken or turkey porridge – Stallions can get addicted to these things! It also works well as a temporary substitute for kibble if your ferret is sick or recovering from surgery and is a picky eater.
5) Eggs: raw or cooked unseasoned (remove shell)
6) oils – Salmon, Emu, Cod Liver, Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.
Vitamin supplements like FerreTone, Linatone, Furatone, FerretLax, Laxatone, Petromalt should be avoided when it comes to healthy ferrets. Vitamin A toxicity can be the result of too many “tone” supplements.
7) Commercial treats for ferrets – The highest quality treats are free of sugar or soy ingredients. Here are some good ones:
– Wysong Daily Dream Ferret Treats
– Stella & Chewys freeze-dried
– PureBites freeze-dried
The following are also fine in moderation, but are less preferred due to the small amounts of sugar and/or soy:
– N-Bone Chewable Treats for Ferrets
– Cheweasel Edible Chew Toys
– Fuzzy Frothy Potato Chips
– Brown’s Natural Chicken Strips Ferret Treat
Avoid most other “ferret treats” sold in pet stores; many are high in sugar, have fruits and vegetables as main ingredients, and contain almost no protein.
Do Not Feed List:
Vegetables, fruits, dried fruits (including raisins), alcohol, sugary drinks or juices, coffee and tea products, garlic or shallots, cereals, dairy products, seeds and nuts (can cause blockages), chocolate, candy, fruit snacks , peanut butter, natural chew toys not intended for ferrets (such as cow hooves, pig ears, or rawhide; can cause intestinal blockages in ferrets), dog or cat treats.
When in doubt, don’t let your ferret eat it, even if he or she wants it! Remember… ferrets will eat a piece of deadly Styrofoam or plastic just as quickly as a tasty piece of meat, so they clearly aren’t always the best judges of what’s or isn’t good for them. You have to be the smart one in the family and keep them on the safe path to a long and healthy life; even if that means keeping them from eating things they absolutely believe they want to eat. Being the bad cop and limiting your ferret’s treats will pay off when you get to enjoy the benefit of your bright-eyed bandit’s company for years to come.