Most ferret owners do their best to keep their ferrets healthy and happy. They spend a lot of time researching what the best diet is for their ferret and compare different kinds of foods. They debate upon feeding techniques and go to their vets for consultation. Nevertheless, most people are not aware of the fact that clean water is actually the most important part of a ferret’s diet.
How much water should a ferret drink a day? No specific amount of water can be made a general rule that applies to all ferrets. Most ferrets drink water up to 20 times a day. It all truly depends on each ferret. You need to make sure that your ferret always has access to clean water.
Following is some information to answer the questions that you have on your mind about ferrets’ drinking habits!
Best kind of water
This may seem like an absurd concept, but yes not all types of water are the same. There is distilled water, bottled water, tap water, and filtered water. You need to have a good understanding of the difference between all these types of water in order to provide your ferret with the optimum supply of water.
The water that is drawn from household faucets is known as tap water and contains many additives like chlorine and fluoride etc. These can affect animals or humans that have weak immune systems.
The distillation process is used to create distilled water. The distillation process helps to remove all the impurities, nutrients and minerals like magnesium from the water. This kind of water should be avoided as it has the wrong pH, ionization, oxidation and polarization potentials.
Distilled water fail to provide the body with the necessary nutrients it requires. Distilled water has been linked to certain mineral deficiencies as well as hair loss. Distilled water is only beneficial when it comes to the production of medicines and compounds.
Bottled water can be tap water and have additives. You can read the label to know what is in it.
For ferrets, the safest kind of water is bottled water or filtered water. This kind of water does not have additives such as fluoride but is rich in minerals. So filtered water or bottled spring water is the best drinking options when it comes to ferrets.
Cleaning advantages and disadvantages
The fact that you need to clean the water bowls and water bottles is understood. As a ferret owner, you need to clean your ferret’s water bottle or water dish every day. Bacteria can grow in a dirty water dish or water bottle and can contaminate the water within. Drinking that bacteria infested water will definitely make your ferret sick.
Wash the water bottle or water dish every day using soap and warm water. Every morning fill the clean bowl or the bottle with water. Remove any ring or buildup formed along the dish or bottle using vinegar or baking soda.
Water bottles are a little harder to clean. You need to use a long narrow brush like the ones that are used to clean baby bottles that easily fits through the neck of the bottle in order to help clean the inside of the bottle. If the bottle is not cleaned for a few days, you might witness the growth of algae in the bottle. There are many wide neck bottles available in the market nowadays that are very easy to clean.
Never use bleach in order to clean your bottles as residue from the bleach contaminates the water and messes up the ferret’s digestive system. This can cause your ferret to get extremely sick and may even result in death. Bleach will burn the stomach lining, intestinal tissue, mouth, and esophagus of your ferret.
Bowls or bottles
Keeping bottles can be a little difficult when it comes to ferrets as they are very playful and have a knack for destroying everything they can get their hands on. Most ferret owners just attach water bottles to the cage and put a water dish under the bottle in case it begins to drip and does not cause a mess.
There have been studies that show that ferrets actually prefer to drink out of bowls instead of water bottles. Which is actually much healthier. This may be because it is easier to drink out of the water bowl and much more sanitary as compared to drinking from a water bottle.
Ferrets also love playing in the water, so remember to not get a very bog water bowl as it will be a potential drowning hazard. And buy a bowl that is dishwasher safe as you have to clean it every day.
Water weasel games
Ferrets do not only like drinking water, but they love splashing about in it too. Get a shallow bowl, cook pot, baking pan or a bathtub with an inch of water and let the ferrets go looking for ping pong balls, ice cubes. You need to place a towel under the container of water as the splashing may make the floor wet. Sparkling water also adds to the fun. Just add sparkling water in a glass and watch your ferret try to bite the bubbles. A tabletop water pet dispenser if the best gift you can give to your ferrets. It not only provides them with water to drink, but it is also a fun splash day.
Ferrets can develop giardiasis easily if they come into contact with the Giardia protozoa. These protozoa grow where feces contaminate the drinking water. Some symptoms of this infection include loss of appetite, foul smell, greasy stools, pale and soft stools, and weightless. Take your ferret to the vet as soon as you think there is something wrong. The proper diagnosis can save your ferret’s life.
What do ferrets eat?
Ferrets are actually obligate carnivores, which means that to keep your ferret healthy you need to provide it with a diet that is dominated by meat. Raw meat is the best thing you can feed your ferret. Ferrets need foods that are high in protein, and cat kibble can do the trick. You can also occasionally feed your ferret eggs. The diet you feed your ferret should have at least 15 to 20 percent fat and 32 to 36 percent protein in it.
Ferrets can devour the following meat
- Turkey Necks
- Chicken wings
- Chicken carcasses
- Lambs heart
- Minced Beef
- Raw animal bones
In the wild ferrets do not just eat the bones of animals, but they also eat the organs. The action does not only cater to their nutritional needs, but it also stimulates their jaw and provide them with exercise.
Ferrets and dry food
You can also feed your ferret dry food. Dry food is actually a very good option as you can leave dry food out where the ferrets can have access to it all the time, and the food will also not go bad. There are many dry ferret foods available in the market such as James Well beloved ferret food or Burgess Ferret food.
Things to avoid feeding your ferrets
You should not feed your ferret food that contains complex carbohydrates and fiber. Ferrets are unable to digest fiber as they do not have cecum which is actually an important part of the digestive tract in many animals. The cecum is responsible for producing bacteria that digest complex carbohydrates.
A diet that is high in complex carbohydrates can also cause your ferret to suffer from insulinoma; as a high amount of carbohydrates can lead to an excess of insulin in the blood of the ferret.
Vegetables, on the other hand, contain vegetable protein that your ferret is unable to digest easily. If the ferret eats too many vegetables it could develop bladder stones, gastroenteritis, ulcerations of the skin, reduced reproduction ability and the babies of the ferret would suffer poor growth.
List of foods that you should not feed your ferret
- Pink beans
- Lima Beans
- Pigeon Beans
- Winged Beans
- Pinto beans
- Brussels Sprouts
- Kiwi Fruit
- Split beans
- Dried plums
- Sweet Potato
Can ferrets eat fish? Yes, you can feed your ferrets fish, but ferrets do not actually prefer the taste of fish. Plus fish can make your ferret smell even worse.
Can ferrets eat dog food? Giving your ferret dog food is not the brightest idea as dog food does not cater to their nutritional requirements.
Can I feed my ferret nuts? No, you should never feed your ferret nuts. Nuts contain complex carbohydrates which are very bad for the health of ferrets, and they lead to many illnesses.
What treats can I give my ferret? Ferrets love treats and they come in handy while training ferrets. You can give your ferret eggs once in a while and also baby food with a high meat content is also a good option.