While we can now get prepackaged ferret food from pet stores and supermarkets, it isn’t available as commonly as cat food or dog food. This has led ferret owners to feed their pets everything from chips and crackers to popcorn and cereal.
So, can ferrets eat popcorn and cereal? Yes, they can. But as we discussed in previous articles, ferrets’ primary diet consists of raw meat. While they can eat, and in most cases enjoy eating, popcorn and cereal, their digestive system is not made for that. Only small portions should be offered.
By now, we know that you must have a few questions about feeding your pets popcorn and cereals. But don’t get frustrated as we will discuss all of this in detail below.
If fed occasionally, ferrets start considering popcorn as a treat. However, remember to only feed them unsalted popcorn. In any and all circumstances, the main source of food for your ferrets should remain raw meat and kibble. The popcorn should only be served sparingly.
If you enjoy feeding them popcorn, you can alternate between popcorn cakes or rice cakes with a little Ferretone (or any other diet supplement) sprayed over them. This will allow you to feed them treats and at the same time fulfill their nutritional needs. However, you need to remember that these should only be fed to them once a week.
Ferrets are smart and cute animals that find different ways through their mischief to obtain these treats. At times, they even beg for these treats, but you need to stay firm and keep your foot down.
Try to keep the offerings limited to once per week because what we find normal might end up killing your pet ferrets. If it is hard for you to find kibble or prepackaged ferret food in your area, you can feed your pets live prey.
On the plus side, it will keep their hunting instincts alive. However, if you consider this too gruesome, then you can feed them raw fish or chicken meat.
An important point to keep in mind is that if you have been feeding them popcorn on a regular basis, immediately take your ferrets to a vet for consultation as they may be in danger.
Ferrets, generally, love eating cereal and other sweet things. But like popcorn, cereal is also not recommended to be fed on a regular basis. This food item should be considered a treat; thus, it should only be fed rarely.
Like popcorn, cereal can also give ferrets a hard time in digesting. But it doesn’t just end there.
Cereal endangers ferret’s lives with insulinoma. It is also high in carbohydrates and an excess amount of carbohydrates is a known cause of pancreatic infection. Also, cereals that have a higher ratio of grains can cause bladder stone formation in ferrets which can be lethal.
If you have been feeding them cereal for quite some time, you need to cut it down and eliminate it from their diet entirely. Or you could try limiting it to once or twice a month at max.
If you have been noticing some changes in their behavior like laziness or less playfulness, take them to a vet.
The first sign of change or any indication toward sickness can be observed by watching their bowel movements. Rather than pampering your pet ferrets with treats like popcorns, cereals and other sweet stuff, it is better that you stick to a routine diet.
This will not only help in completing their nutritional requirements, but it will also ensure that your ferrets enjoy a healthy, long and playful life.
How to switch ferrets to a regular diet
Those who have had ferrets as pets know that they can be very stubborn and obstinate. This means that if you have been feeding them the wrong kind of food for some time now, they may give you a hard time letting go of it.
Think of it like refusing to buy your child Nuggets. No matter how dangerous it may be for their health or fitness if they have been fed junk food ever since they can remember, ferrets will keep asking for it.
But this does not mean that you cannot make the switch. You just need to start slow. Keep giving them what you have been, but in lesser quantity, while offering them a more nutritional diet in a bit more filling portion and with time, your ferrets would have completely switched over to the healthy food.
However, if your owned ferrets are babies under the age of one, it may be easier to make the switch. Since they are in a developing age, whatever you feed them now will become their favorite and preferred food for life.
What Should a good ferret diet include?
The nutritional requirements of ferrets are quite different than other common pets like cats and dogs.
They require a high protein diet that should contain at least 32% of the organic compound. This need can be met by including meat or other animal byproducts in their meals but no grains or vegetables. Apart from high levels of protein and low magnesium, low ash should also be included in their diet.
Usually, many ferret owners who have a hard time finding the right food feed their pets dry cat food as it can easily be obtained and matches the nutritional value of ferret food. Nevertheless, if stinky ferrets bother you, avoid feeding them anything with fish contents as it is a widely known cause of ferret stink.
With all said, the most important thing to remember is that a ferret owner or any pet owner should investigate the pros and cons of the food items before they start feeding their pets blindly.
These pets are our responsibility and we should not take it lightly. As far as ferrets are concerned, cereals and popcorns should only be fed once a week in the form of a treat. It should not be included in the pet’s routine diet as it can become harmful.
We hope you find the above information useful but if you have questions regarding the diet of your furry pets, keep on reading the next section.
What else can I feed my ferrets as a treat? According to some ferret owners, their pets love ordinary, no frosting multigrain cheerios, Marshall treats, Kix cereal and even baby food. Many also suggested cereals with low salt and sugar levels as well as small portions of fruits like bananas or grapes cut in half. Again, these treats should be considered as treats, not regular food and cannot be given more than once a week. Failing to do so can have lethal repercussions and fatally endanger the lives of your pet ferrets.
What other kinds of food items do ferrets like? Ferrets enjoy eating ordinarily cooked meat, raw meat, the prepackaged ferret foods, kibble, some exotic fruits and even some veggies. However, anything other than raw meat does not come highly recommended by any vet or pet expert. We have mentioned this a couple of times that ferrets are designed to digest only raw meat and have trouble with digesting other foods and even some greens. While they can eat and digest cooked meat, cooking takes away from the nutritional properties of raw meat, leaving a gap in the daily nutritional requirements of a ferret. If you are planning to get a ferret or own one, it is better to follow a diet that was recommended by a pet expert or a vet.
What should I not feed my ferrets? It is better to stick to the recommended protein diet for your ferrets and avoid any food items that are high in sugar or carbohydrates. On the other hand, if you do wish to feed them such food items, make sure to keep the portions as small as possible and feed them, at most, once a week.