Ferrets can be trained with some tricks just like we do to other pets, but of course, it can only be done effectively by giving them treats as a reward for something “good they did.” By reading on, you will learn about treats that are at least safe to give, because ferrets have a sensitive dietary condition.
What snacks should we give ferrets? Either kitten food (provided you should check the label of contents first), scrambled eggs, chicken or any meat/ organ trimmings, and a drop of honey in their tongue is all good enough as treats to reward them.
These little furry buddies enjoy treats as most pets do. But their diet is complex and special, so they have prohibited food groups to be careful about. Lots of foods need to be avoided like grains, chocolate, ice cream, vegetables, and fruits.
What is safe and delicious to us humans may actually be harmful to ferrets. Never giving them ice cream or chocolates doesn’t mean you are depriving them of some of life’s best pleasures, but rather you are doing it best for their safety!
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Foods Safe For Ferrets
It is always better to feed ferrets meat regularly, but most of it must be dry products to keep their teeth clean. Among the convenient choices are kitten feeds (make sure it doesn’t contain much grain, rather more protein and fat), chicken meat (cooked or raw doesn’t matter), beef, lamb or turkey offals, frozen or dead mice, canned bugs and insects, mostly available in pet stores, duck soup, pork, liver or any animal organ, fleshy bones, and eggs (scrambled, boiled or if the source is a backyard farm it’s ok to give it raw), or get some meat-based baby food, and if they have a low blood sugar level, a drop of honey can be a treat for them.
Ferrets have a short digestive tract and they eat whenever they’re hungry and they can consume an average of 8-10 small meals, daily (including treats if you are giving them just but must limit it to at least 10% of their caloric need). An adult ferret should eat 30-40 grams of dry food (about 1-2 ounces) spread over several meals.
If your meat source may seem unsafe and want to avoid risks of getting possible foodborne sickness, it is also advisable to cook or bake it until they are just pinkish in the center. Do cook bigger batches and store it in the freezer if you want to save time then defrost it just before serving.
You can slice it into smaller pieces, taking off large and sharp bones they shouldn’t swallow. Of course, for fresh meat discard spoiled leftovers that stayed in their feeding bowls for over 5 hours to avoid bacterial food poisoning from harming them unseen.
Unsafe Foods For Your Pet Ferret
Ferrets love treats as rewards, but there are lots of foods not so safe for them. They can not process or digest foods containing high complex carbohydrates and fiber like grains (including grain-based animal feeds, cereals, and bread), fruits, vegetables, chocolates and caffeinated food, ice cream, peas, nuts, and other dairy products must all be avoided as they can be toxic and harmful by causing your ferrets some diseases.
Keep them away from other pets also especially during feeding time, because ferrets are actually good at “sneaking and stealing” and you wouldn’t want them stealing dog food from your dog without your notice! Most dog foods, though meat-flavored, contain more of fibrous grains than meat so if they ingest too much, it might cause them digestive problems seriously.
And of course for choosing treats, follow what is only recommended (meat, meat and just meat), because taking away sweets from them (like ice cream and chocolate) is not depriving them to enjoy the “best pleasures in life” but rather prolonging their existence and overall health.
They can’t process these sweets, and the only thing you can do to preserve and keep them healthy is to imitate their life and food group in the wild.
Never Feed Them With Anything That Might Not Fit Their Intestines
The size of a ferret’s intestine is only as small as a macaroni hole, and once it cannot digest the food it has ingested it might stay there long enough until it causes a bigger problem or damages its mouth and internal parts.
Never feed it with nuts, huge and hard bones (let them nib on the fleshy parts only), angulated shaped kitten or ferret feeds( triangular, square, or star-shaped), raw carrots, fruits and vegetables that when directly swallowed might block their airways or intestines.
Watch out for small pieces of things too! As said earlier, they are good at sneaking and get too much attracted with the small stuff. So to remedy their playfulness, keep them preoccupied with toys which are ferret-friendly and large enough not to fit inside their mouths.
Food Categories: Cheapest to Expensive Varieties
Some of its favorite food is readily available inside your backyard, like insects, bugs, and mice. If you can’t find any of these around, you can buy some readily available ferret goodies like ferret pellets, canned insects or bugs, and frozen mice or day-old chicks. Chicken and eggs are among the cheapest food or treat that you can buy for them, but if you have a more expanded budget to buy the best quality meats you can choose among beef (not processed or salted), turkey, lamb, or offals (meat or organ trimmings), or pork. Just be mindful of variating their food menu daily to avoid the possible development of allergies (ready-made feeds) or confusion in their taste system which can cause them to vomit their food.
What to give your ferrets when they get sick
Ferrets get hairballs from self-grooming, but you shouldn’t force to vomit it out or regurgitate them. Use any laxative instead or take ferret products (feed, shampoo, and supplement form) designed to prevent hairballs from developing.
But if the build-up of hairballs went too big, surgery is the best option to remove it. Duck soup is also helpful whenever they have a loss of appetite, but as a preventive measure, their daily menu should be variated. If your ferret is inactive and showing signs of a low blood sugar level due to insulinoma until it eventually suffers hypoglycemic shock, you can use honey or Karo syrup thinned with a little water to cure dehydration and immediately heighten their blood sugar level.
Can I give my pet ferret salted chips as treats? It all depends on its content. Always remember that vegetable, grains, fruits, chocolate, caffeine, and dairy-based goodies are bad for them. So to be safe, always check the label to ensure that your pet is not eating anything that is bad for its health. Treats that are pure meat-based is best given to them as treats.
Can I give my pet ferret ice cream or fudge as a reward or treat? Absolutely not! Dairy products and sweets are bad for their digestive system and teeth so it should be avoided.
Can I give them dried fruits, raisins, nuts, or corn as treats? No! Ferrets lack the capacity to digest these foods so excessive amounts can be too bad for them. Raisins and bananas have high sugar content which can also be bad for their teeth and can clog in their airways or intestines, might cause a bigger problem if it stays longer there.
Can I give them peanut butter? No. Especially if it sweetened. Foods high in carbohydrates and fiber are bad for them and may lead to intestinal problems or even cancer.
Can I give them cured meats such as bacon or hamburger patties? As obligate carnivores, they can eat anything meat. But of course, the additives, seasonings, and other contents would always matter as it affects their overall health. Bacon can be an occasional treat which is good for them because of the fat content, but make sure to strip off the saltiness!