Food is integral for the well-being of any pet.
But like many others, ferrets can’t just gobble down most of your everyday foodstuff.
To get a detailed note on ferret diet and the best food products for your little cutie, I would advise that you continue reading this post.
In this article, I have added 7 of the best ferret food products in the market today.
Best Ferret Foods – My Top Picks
|Top Products||Rating||What We Like About This Product|
|1. Wysong Epigen 90 Starch Free Dry Ferret Food||4.5||Starch Free, High-Protein, meat-based diet|
|2. Marshall Premium Ferret Food||4.3||High-protein, premium diet offers complete nutrition, highly-digestible|
|3. ZuPreem Grain-Free Diet Ferret Food||4.4||Grain-free, high-protein, proper nutrition for your ferret|
|4. Marshall Select Chicken Formula Ferret Food||4.4||Rich in protein, excellent nutrition integrity, highly digestible|
|5. Marshall Premium Ferret Diet||4.6||Recommended by the worlds largest ferret breeder, rich in essential omegas, complete nutrition|
|6. Marshall Bandits Premium Original Chicken Flavor Ferret Treats||4.6||Exciting chicken taste, protein-based treats, palatable texture|
|7. Kaytee Fortified Diet with Real Turkey Ferret Food||3.7||Rich in protein, grain and gluten free, naturally preserved for optimum freshness|
Best Ferret Food Product Detail
Honestly, you wouldn’t have to go through any hassle whatsoever in terms of your ferret’s dietary requirements if you just invest in buying a good-quality commercial food product.
All of the nutritional requirements for your ferret are catered to in such products and all that you need to do is feed it to them.
That eliminates at least 70% of the work as it requires no planning, no preparation, and involves minimum health risks.
1. Wysong Epigen 90 Starch Free Dry Ferret Food
This is another great product which is quite famous in the market.
Wysong prides itself on producing ferret food without any starch ingredients (like plant carbohydrates.) It contains 62% protein and 16% fat which acts as a premium diet for your little buddy.
As the name suggests, it is easy on the digestive system of ferrets and keeps their stool consistent. The reviews for this product have been fairly positive on Amazon as many hailed it as the “best kibble available in the market. The ferret food contains prebiotics, probiotics, phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and enzymes.
This amazing product by Wysong helps the digestive system of the ferret and maintains stool consistency. This ferret food tastes amazing and my ferrets go to town on this fantastic formula.
- Safe for ferrets
- High quality ingredients
- Contains Vitamins
- Assists the digestive system of ferret
- Only sold online
2. Marshall Premium Ferret Food
Marshall premium ferret diet really is “premium” for a number of reasons. It contains high-quality poultry, is rich in premium protein, and suitable for all ferret ages so you don’t have to switch between products as your ferret grows older.
However, this usually causes concerns since ferrets stop eating new food products with their growing age as they have already imprinted on the previous one.
It also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which can give a really smooth and luscious look to your ferret’s coat. An added benefit of being able to mix it with water to feed younger teething ferrets is a plus which should definitely be considered.
The Amazon reviews for this product look good, although some have complained of the product to be expensive. But the quality substitutes for it more than enough as it has a higher concentration of crude animal protein and lesser of the junk fillers.
- Safe for ferrets
- Contains Omega 3
- Contains Omega 6
- Fit for all ages
- Slightly pricey
This is another quality main-stream product used by many ferret owners. As the name suggests, it contains no grains at all which helps in better digestion and eliminates the threat of plant carbohydrates entering into your ferret’s diet.
It contains 42% protein and 18% fat which acts as a balanced formula for your ferret. Many ferrets have been reported to love the taste of this product and to choose it over other products that might even have a higher protein content. On the negative, some users also reported that it made their ferret’s poop smell more than usual.
I guess that’s just the sort of compatibility that you’ll have to practically try and see for yourself. This amazing ferret food by ZuPreen contains absolutely no fish meal or corn. This ferret food takes care of all your ferret’s nutritional needs and contains real egg and fresh frozen chicken.
- High in protein
- High quality ingredients
- Takes care of ferrets nutritional needs
- Contains no fishmeal or corn
- High sugar content
4. Marshall Select Chicken Formula Ferret Food
This ferret food by Marshall’s is fantastic. It’s great for ferrets of all ages and provides the ferret with all the nutrients that it needs.
This product is packed with protein that is derived from meat sources. This ferret food is great for picky eaters, as all kinds of ferrets absolutely love this product. You ferret will not only gain weight but its immune system will also become strong.
The ferret food helps ferrets digest their food much more easily and prevents your ferret from getting constipated.
The product is also known to reduce ferret stool odor and has no negative impact on the health of ferrets. This is actually one of the healthiest ferret foods available in the market today.
- Safe for ferrets
- High Quality ingredients
- Packed with protein
- Fit for all ages
- Fragile packaging, easily tears open
5. Marshall Premium Ferret Diet
Another great product from Marshalls. Marshall Pet Products are known for their amazing quality and this premium ferret diet is no different.
This is great for people who like to buy pet food in bulk as the package weighs 18 ounces. Ferrets require a diet that is high in protein derived from animal sources and this product fulfills that needs.
Better yet, it’s rich in proteins and ensures that your ferrets gets the best quality food possible. This ferret food also contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
The product is a good deal for the price. It’s great for people who are on a budget but again you should never compromise on your ferret’s food. This ferret food offers fresh quality for the lowest price in the market today.
- Contains Omega 3
- Contains Omega 6
- Budget Friendly
- High Quality Ingredients
- May not be suitable for all ferrets
6. Marshall Bandits Premium Original Chicken Flavor Ferret Treats
This fantastic product by Marshalls is an amazing alternative for ferret treats. The product includes five flavors, Peanut Butter, Banana, Chicken, Raisin and Meaty Bacon. The packaging of these treats is very convenient, you don’t have to store these treats in some container to keep them fresh.
The zipper packaging of this product helps you to prolong the life of the ferret treats. The treats have been manufactured keeping the nutritional needs to ferrets in mind and the soft chewy morsels make it easy for your ferret to digest.
The packs come in different sizes and I would recommend you to first but the small pack to see if your ferret likes it or not. The treats are made up of top quality ingredients and are great for ferrets of all ages. This product is actually one of the best ferret foods in the market today.
The variety pack ensures that your ferret does not get bored of eating the same flavored food every day. You can alternate between the five delicious ferret treat flavors to keep your ferret interested.
- Different flavors
- High quality ingredients
- Different sizes
- Great for all ages
- Seal zipper packaging
- Treats are a little crumbly
This ferret food by Kaytee is another high protein alternative for ferrets. The product is free of grain and gluten and is very healthy for your ferrets. The food is specifically formulates in order to meet the nutritional requirements of your beloved ferret friend.
This ferret food is rich in fats which ensures that your ferret has a healthy skin and a shiny coat. You can get this ferret food in two different flavors, turkey and chicken.
The particles of the ferret food are small and ensure that your ferret does not choke on them. This product will not cause any digestive or stomach issues. The ingredients of this product include Rosemary Extract, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Pea Flour, Ground Flax Seed, Citric Acid, Niacin, Zinc Oxide, L-Lysine, Vitamin A supplement, Salt, Copper sulphate, Calcium Pantothenate etc.
The best thing about this ferret food is that it had no artificial preservatives and everything is a 100 percent natural.
- Different flavors
- No artificial preservatives
- Great for all ages
- High in protein
- Slightly powdery
Ferrets are far trickier pets than dogs and cats when it comes to eating habits as there are a lot of everyday food products that can cause health concerns if ingested by them.
Ferrets are pure carnivores and need loads of protein and meat.
Plant proteins do not work for them as they find it hard to digest those.
So, as their owner, you need to be on a constant look-out for such ingredients as soy or corn which may increase protein intake but will harm your ferret instead.
They also do not require fruits and vegetables because they contain lots of carbohydrates and fiber, both of which are unhealthy for ferrets.
If you’re looking to buy a food product for your ferret, always be wary of reading the ingredients and skimming through any possible nutritional threats that your ferret might face.
What is the natural diet of ferrets?
As explained above, ferrets are naturally pure carnivores. They are swift hunters and use their nails and claws to their advantage to catch prey. Usually, they would hunt rodents and rabbits to devour them for lunch.
Another essential thing to know is that their teeth are like daggers and can chew off anything! This helps them even to gobble them all down, including fur! This means that in the wild, they eat the whole prey and leave nothing. Whatever excess there is, would be stored for later use.
So, does that mean that you should feed them live prey like mice, chicks and rabbit?
Well, certainly not, and there are a plethora of reasons why I would advise against this.
One of the primary reasons is that although it might feel to you that this is closer to Mother Nature experience for them, remember that your ferret probably hasn’t ever been in the wild.
That means that it is not that adept at hunting as it doesn’t have the prior experience and only has its instincts for help in hunting.
Remaining in such a pampered environment for all its life also does not expose your ferret to harmful viruses and bacteria for which it could have gained immunity in the wild.
That means that eating live prey could potentially cause harm to your ferret in the form of a viral disease. Also bear in mind that animals, as small as they might be, don’t just go down without a fight.
Risking your ferret’s health to keep it close to nature is not a good option. Another reason why you shouldn’t do so is that it is just not practical.
So, how would you be providing so many mice, chicks or rabbits to your ferret?
One way could be to catch them yourself in the wild, posing the risk of infections once again.
Can I Feed My Ferret Meat at Home?
Well, this is a possibility.
But the only way you can provide your ferret with a consistent and healthy diet like this is if you mix the meat with a good quality ferret food product.
As mentioned above, this article includes a complete section in the end about the best food products (kibble), their description and reviews, as well as pros and cons.
Regardless, if you are willing to feed your ferret some meat at home, then a small animal could be fed wholly to your ferret. Chicks are an excellent option for ferrets as they can eat them whole, including bones, organs, and fat.
Another option could be mice which are available at many pet stores as well. Just make sure that the pet store from where you purchase these animals is of high-quality.
A lot of times, the “fresh” meat section contains meat which has high amounts of Sulphur in it. This, for obvious reasons, is banned in meat consumed by humans but still legal for pets. I would advise not to buy such meat as it can have detrimental effects on your fur ball.
The British Ferret Club mentions some animals whose meat can be fed to your ferret.
- Chicken wings and stripped carcasses
- Turkey Necks
- Game birds
- Minced beef
- Lambs heart
- Raw animal bones for calcium and for cleaning your ferret’s teeth
Some ferrets might also be up for trying fish, but it is not in their nature to do so as they tend to dislike their smell and taste.
You still might give it a shot, though.
Another interesting fact about ferrets is that when they eat meat off of bones, this has a cleaning effect on their teeth.
So, if you’re planning on giving them meat trimmings, it would have an eliminating effect on this cleaning action. As I mentioned above, ferrets easily eat bones so you shouldn’t be worried about that and should give them the whole thing instead.
Remember that although your ferret does require the significant portion of its diet to be protein, you could easily overdo this part by continually feeding them meat. Supplementing the meat with kibble is a good option which would provide your ferret with a wholesome and balanced diet.
It is a ground mixture of beans and grains which is usually in the form of pellets and would help balance out the extra protein from meat. Kibble should be with you at all times as this would be your go-to and ready-made food product for your ferret.
Can Ferret Eat Human Food?
No! You should never feed your ferret human food. It depends on the kind of human food you are talking about. Ferrets can bed fed boiled eggs, chicken and even beef.
On the other hand things like chocolate, dairy and cheese should be kept away from ferrets. Ferrets do not have the enzyme they need to digest lactose; hence anything dairy is toxic for them. The worst thing you can do to your ferret is to feed him your leftover food.
Ferrets do not have the equipment to digest fiber in fruits and vegetables, hence feeding them fruits and vegetables can be rather deadly for them.
Can Ferrets Have Cat Food?
Ah, the good old question pops up again!
Remember that whenever a specific type of food is explicitly created for one animal, then it automatically entails that it shouldn’t be fed to the other.
Same is the case with cat food; it is created as a balanced diet for cats and not for ferrets, so you should most certainly not experiment with it.
Understand that even if your ferret eats the cat food and enjoys it (a rarity, indeed!), this would still mean trading your ferret’s health in exchange of not wanting to research the proper food products for a balanced ferret diet.
If a particular situation arises where you have nothing else to feed your ferret for the time being, then I’d advise giving it kitten food instead of cat food.
The reason is that kitten food contains more protein and has a better chance of meeting your ferret’s nutritional requirements. The next step is to find your ferret some proper food that is catered to its own needs.
So, Does That Also Mean That My Ferret Can Have Dog Food?
Not at all!
Unlike ferrets, dogs are omnivores and can eat plants as well. Any dog food products would never contain the amount of protein or fat required for ferret diet.
It will also contain various other nutrients and products like plant carbohydrates and proteins as well as fiber, the latter of which is indigestible for your little buddy.
Remember that risking your ferret’s health is never okay so you should stay away from this option.
Some people who have tried dog food for their ferrets also reported that they suddenly saw an increase in their pet’s diet probably because its body was signaling that more nutrition was required.
How And When Should I Feed My Ferret?
It is not just important to learn what to feed your ferret but also how and when to. Consider your ferret to be a body-builder who needs food every few hours.
On average, ferrets have 2-4 small meals a day, although younger and more active ferrets would want up to 6 meals every day. Bear in mind that these little guys sleep for 18-20 hours a day, so most of their intakes occur in the remaining 4-6 hours! Older ferrets like to have constant access to food.
They might not be that active but would appreciate having the liberty just to come and have a nibble as they please. Also, consider having proper and regular meal timing for your ferret.
This keeps their diet on track and helps you know how much intake they are having in a day. A sudden loss in eating habits might gesticulate that your ferret is undergoing a health issue. Bear in mind that it is in your ferret’s nature to stash their leftover food and that they are good at hiding it.
Don’t be surprised if you receive a smelly and unwelcomed surprise behind the bed-side table when you’re trying to plug in your cell phone charger.
Stashing food can be unhealthy for your ferret as the meat goes bad after a while. Eating this meat would result in many health complications so you should ensure that you take away any excess food from your ferret, even if it insists that you not. Sometimes you gotta’ do what you gotta’ do!
What Sort of Healthy Treats Do Ferrets Like?
Like all pets (and humans), ferrets love treats as well. Understand that you can use these treats to lure them into learning great tricks during all types of training.
This makes treats far more significant in the early months or years of your ferret as treats are shown to increase learning rates.
A few tasty treats are:
- Raw egg
- Cooked egg
- Pieces of chicken
- A rare piece of fruit or vegetable
- Sugary snacks like raisins
Overeating sugary snacks could lead to obesity and tooth decay, so keep your ferret’s treats at a minimum.
As a general rule, treats should be kept less than 10% of your ferret’s daily intake.
Which Treats Are Not Suitable For Ferrets?
A few unhealthy and harmful treats for your ferret are:
- Canned foods like tuna
- Hard fruits and vegetables such as carrots that can cause blockages
- Treats with high carbohydrates like bread, cereal, and cookies which can cause pancreatic diseases.
Pet stores also offer some options for ferret treats.
Just make sure you read the ingredients cautiously and start trying them out with small amounts.
Experiment and see what your ferret likes eating so that it also gets to have an indirect say into what sort of treat it wants.
Which Foods Should I Avoid Feeding My Ferret?
Well, honestly, there is a long list. According to the American Ferret Association and a few other sources, the following foods should not be given to ferrets:
- Dog Food
- Adult Cat Food
- Cooked Bones
- Grains or Bread
- Vegetables and Fruit
- Caffeine and Chocolates
- Dairy Products
- Peanut Butter
- Potato Chips
- Lima Beans
- Pigeon beans
- Pink beans
- Pinto beans
- Small white beans
- Winged beans
- Brussel sprouts
- Green Beans
- Split peas
- Dried plums
- Sweet potato
- Peanut butter
What Do Baby Ferrets (Kits) Eat?
Kits are a completely different story when it comes to diet.
Up till the first six months after birth, ferrets usually eat around four times a day and like softer foods. During these times, you can feed them water-soaked hard food or kibble and also feed them baby food products which are high in protein.
Just make sure that you introduce them to various types of food because in the first few months ferrets imprint on their diet.
If you try introducing a new type of food later on in their life, these choosy eaters will look away from the bowl as if they are the Queen of England! The British Ferret Club advised the following diet for your baby ferret:
- Breakfast: Water and fresh meat chunks
- Lunch: Fresh meat
- Dinnertime: Fresh meat
- Suppertime: Meat on the bone followed by goat’s milk or a low lactose milk
How To Change Your Ferret’s Diet?
As I mentioned above, ferrets imprint on their food and do not like trying new foodstuff later on in their life.
So, what can you do to beat this natural phenomenon and introduce them to a new kickass food product that you found? I’d advise you to take it slow and start introducing it covertly into their diet.
Mix it with their usual favorite and let them have a taste of it. If they don’t know about the new food product and can’t smell or taste it, they would surely be up for eating the whole thing.
Now, slowly start increasing the level of your new food product. If at any time, they reject your food, it means that you went a little too strong with your formula.
Hop one step back and reduce the level of your new food product. Pretty soon you’ll have fixed that little bandit and executed your secret evil plan for a fantastic ferret diet! Another problem that many people face is when they buy an older ferret which doesn’t seem to eat anything!
Always try different types of kibble in this scenario and try to track down its original owners to ask them about your ferret’s dietary requirements and choices. Don’t try forcing your ferret into eating the food that you want because it would already be past the age where it can do that. Honestly, you can’t blame the little guy; he’s just doing what’s in his nature!
How Can I Feed My Ferret if I’m Never At Home or Am Too Busy?
If you haven’t guessed already, ferrets are active animals that need a regular supply of food!
This means that the owners have a lot of responsibility to make sure that ample food supplies are available for their ferret and that it has almost constant access to fresh food (at least during the specified meal times.
The answer is simple: turn to your old friend “kibble” for help! Always make sure that your ferret has access to high-quality kibble in its cage if you’re too busy to feed it personally. This would meet its nutritional requirements for times when you are away.
When you aren’t, mix some fresh meat with the kibble to make it a special meal for your ferret! This also has the chance of your ferret feeling happy with your presence as it would associate you with great food, win-win!
What Happens My Ferret Eats The Wrong Foods?
The diet of your ferret is essential for its well-being. Insulinomas is a form of cancer in ferrets.
This health condition is much more common among ferrets that are fed a diet that is highly processed and high in carbohydrates when compared to ferrets who ate a raw diet. High amounts of carbohydrates cause the pancreas of the ferrets to overproduce insulin to maintain their blood sugar level.
This causes cells to become cancerous. Ferrets that suffer from insulinoma struggle to maintain their blood sugar level and are prone to seizures and blood glucose crashes. An optimum diet is needed to promote better health.
Ferrets that are not given a proper diet are more likely to develop bladder stones, skin diseases, experience weak growth, gastroenteritis, and dental disease. The teeth of ferrets are designed to tear and cut meat, so large and hard biscuits, and soft canned food can also accelerate the dental disease.
What If My Ferret Refuses Healthy Food?
If your ferret is at the moment hooked onto a diet that contains large amounts of carbohydrates and biscuits and does not want to switch, you might need to carry out slow and gradual transition over to a much more healthy diet by slowly mixing in a little more every day.
In addition to that, you can even entice your ferret a little bit by pouring a little salt reduced stock or fish oil on their new food.
It is your responsibility as the owner, to make sure that your ferret has a healthy diet rather than just eating ferret junk food. You should provide your ferret with enough of the previous food to avoid starvation.
Then take it away and wait four hours before giving them a meal that you want them to eat and just be patient until your ferret makes the switch. You can tempt your ferret into eating whole prey or raw meat by warming it up to body temperature.
You can do this by placing the meat in a plastic bag and placing it in hot water for about 20 minutes. For a real biscuit brute, try grinding up the biscuits in a coffee grinder or with a pestle and mortar to make a powder that can be sprinkled on other foods.
Homemade Ferret Food
I have added this section for the people that do not trust commercial ferret food. If you have issues with the quality of food found in stores, best make your own ferret food at home.
Homemade Ferret Jerky
- Cookie sheet(s)
- Parchment Paper
- Paper Towels
- Rolling Pin
- Cutting Board
- Meat – partially frozen (for cutting; thawed if pre-cut)
What to do:
- Begin by placing the oven racks as high as possible.
- Heat the oven to the lowest setting, and it shouldn’t cross 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice the meat that you have into 1/4th-inch slices. The meat is easier to cut when it is slightly frozen. Better yet, ask the butcher to do it for you.
- Use paper towels to pat the wet meat dry.
- Use parchment to line cookie sheets. Place the meat on the sheet until it’s full and leave a little space between each piece. Place more parchment paper over the meat.
- Flatten the meat using a rolling pin.
- Put the cookie sheets in the oven and leave the oven door cracked a little to allow the moisture to escape.
- Let it be. Check constantly as the meat dries often. This may take about 10 hours or as little as 4 hours.
- When the meat is thoroughly dried, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool.
- Store the meat pieces in an airtight container.
All the information provided in this article has been carefully curated by the author but is bound to individual variations and human errors.
The author has tried his best to create a complete source for ferret diet but does not claim to be an expert or a vet. If you face any dietary problems or have any confusions, you should consult a professional right away.
What sort of health problems do ferrets have?
A poor diet can lead to a lot of fatal diseases for your ferret like bladder stones, gastrointestinal disorders, heart problems, as well as cancer. Another danger that food can pose for your ferret is that hard food can often not be chewed by them and can cause cuts and bruises in their mouth. Make sure that you provide your ferrets with quality, soft, and digestible food.
What can I feed my ferret besides ferret food?
Besides ferret food, this animal loves having the meat of chicken, lamb, beef, as well as cooked and raw eggs. It is okay to let them have these foods regularly as long as you are using a good food product as well.
How much should ferrets eat each day?
Ferrets have a short and inefficient digestive tract. That is why they need to be fed regularly. If we consider kibble to be a universal ferret food, females should roughly have a quarter of a cup every day while males can have one-third of it. Ferrets will tend to eat in regular intervals, often snacking on their food every 2 to 3 hours.
How can I know if a ferret diet is working well?
In general, it is quite apparent if a diet seems to be working for your ferret as it would have a lovely, shining, soft coat with a nice fluffy body. Ferrets which are adequately fed tend to be happier, play more, and live longer.