Suppose you are considering having a ferret as a pet, or you already have a ferret. In that case, there is every need to know the diet necessary for her health and growth.
Ferrets are carnivorous animals and, as such, should be fed with food rich in protein and fats. Meat is the best source of their diet as it replicates their natural diet in the wild.
Ferrets diets should consist of 32-38% of protein and 15-20% of fat.
Naturally, ferrets do not have a cecum, which contains bacteria and microorganisms necessary to break complex carbohydrates and fiber. As such, carbohydrate-rich food should be avoided when determining the diets to give to your ferrets.
So, can ferrets eat vegetables? No, ferrets do not have cecum and cannot digest complex carbohydrates, fibers, sugars, and diary-based products. They need food rich in protein and fat for a healthy living. Meat, for example, is a good source of food.
As most people tend to be confused about the meal to feed their ferrets, this article acts as a guide on why you should not choose vegetables as their meal source.
Why Can’t Ferret Eat Vegetables
Okay, before taking the leap in getting meals for your ferrets, you should always try to provide a feed that fits in their body systems. That is why necessary studies have been considered that ferrets feed should replicate what they eat in the wide because of the way their body system is built.
The presence of cecum in the large intestine produces bacteria or microorganism that helps break down complex food. Unfortunately, ferrets do not have that gland and cannot break down complex carbohydrates or proteins present in vegetables and fruits.
Also, carbohydrate-rich food is not beneficial to their health. Every single ounce of carbohydrate produced can cause a whole lot of health complications to your ferret.
High amounts of carbohydrate in their diet can lead to the body having excessive glucose in the bloodstream, leading to beta-cell cancer in the pancreas. Vegetable proteins also cannot be digested by ferrets.
And feeding your ferret with vegetables might result in your ferret having bladder stones, reproductive complications, skin ulcers, and many more.
Ferrets naturally are a carnivore. The best ferrets are fed with raw meat, which is the best source of their protein intake and can be easily digested.
Also, ferrets can eat kitten food, baby food, and dried ferret food, which are high in protein as well
Meats from beef, chickens, lambs, or lamb’s heart, turkey head, rabbits, or pigeons are best recommended to feed your ferrets. It is also necessary to provide ferrets with raw animal bones for calcium and for cleaning their teeth.
While considering feeding your ferrets with rodents such as mice, chicks, and rats, consider not feeding your ferret with random mice from the environment. As most mice could contain the parasite. It would be best you get your rodents from a reputable shop.
Complication From Eating Vegetables
Giving ferrets vegetables can cause a lot of complications. A few of the complications include urinary tract infection, bladder stones, and intestinal problems.
It is no longer news that the major cause of urinary tract stones in ferrets is vegetable proteins’ accumulation. The stones can be found in raw vegetable leaves and some fruits.
They contain calcium oxalate and are very poor in quality and can cause many health complications in ferrets and other animals like cats and dogs. Bladder stones can be frustrating, and it is really something you would not want to get in your ferret’s body system.
They are dangerous and result in death if left untreated.
Also, ferrets do not have molars like other animals for grinding vegetables, just like other animals like a goat. So, any vegetables you give them might either block their airways, which could possibly choke them.
Or obstruct their intestine, which may require a more resonant operation.
The pancreas is not designed to hold vegetable nutrients or any other form of nutrients from fruits. Any incorrect food that passes through the pancreas could lead to a severe indigestion problem, known as gastroenteritis.
This can as well lead to intestinal cancer.
When Can My Ferret Eat Vegetables
As much as feeding ferrets which vegetables are not advised, most ferret owners still find a way of feeding them with vegetables in some conditions.
Unlike other animals, ferrets cannot produce their own vitamin C, which is a supplement for boosting the immune system. However, to alternate that, ferret owners find a way of introducing vitamin C to their diet.
This is done by boiling and meshing some vegetables and fruits such as unseeded peppers, carrots, squash, cauliflower, tomato mushrooms, potatoes, salsa, and broccoli. This way, ferrets can easily be treated when ferrets are suffering from scurvy caused by a lack of vitamin C.
How To Know If Your Ferret Is Eating Vegetables Or Fruits
Ferrets are created as carnivorous, and it is not advisable to turn them to herbivorous or omnivorous. You would need to stick to what they eat in the wild to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Meat or meat supplements are the best sources for ferrets feed, and non-meat supplement should only be used in extreme condition to boost their immune
Awareness is always the solution to everything. Sometimes your kids might throw in some vegetables or fruits; the innocent ferret would eat without knowing the consequence. Well, as a ferret owner, you should be able to know if you watch close to the poo and their behavior.
Once you see a seedy poop, that is a sign that your ferret has taken in unaccepted substance to the body system. React fast or call a vet to ascertain how much damage it has caused.
Once your ferret begins to decline food, know that something is wrong with its digestive system due to either eating vegetables or fruits. Treat fast before it becomes worse.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Ferrets Eat Lettuce
Ferrets digestive systems are not built to digest vegetables. They are pure carnivores and, as such, should be treated with only meat-based food.
Can Ferret Eat Cucumber
Some may feed their ferrets with cucumber because of its health benefits. However, the American Ferret Association advises against feeding your ferret with cucumber or any fruit or vegetables as they can be harmful to her health.
How Often Should I Feed My Ferret With Vegetables
Vegetables should be given to ferrets occasionally. Vegetables contain unnecessary proteins that are not good for their digestive system.
However, it is not recommended, but you would need to closely monitor your ferret for any change in lifestyle if you do. It would be best you stick to their meat-based diet for a healthy lifestyle.
Can Ferret Eat Vegetable Oils
Yes, you can give your ferret vegetable oils occasionally. Some people mix it up with olive oil with a 50/50 intake.
Others prefer ½ teaspoon daily and ¾-1 if they are shedding. Try as much as possible not to make it too often as this may be too bad for them.
How To Know If My Ferret Is Eating Vegetable Or Fruits
If your ferret is eating vegetables without you knowing, watch closely to their poo and behavior. You would notice unhealthy behavior or maybe a seedy pool.
If this is the case, react immediately by calling a vet to commence treatment before it becomes severe.
Can I Mix Vegetables Or Fruits With Meat For My Ferret?
Yes, but do that once a week with a little serve. You can give your ferret boiled potatoes and mash with meat.
You only need to mash it well so that the digestive system can process it. However, keep note that this food is not healthy for your ferret and is not recommended to be given at all cost.
It is beneficial to give ferrets the best meal to aid in their health and general well-being. Also, put into consideration the amount and the type of food in terms of nutrients you give to your pets.
Vegetables are not to be given to your ferret.
You could give them some boiled vegetables or fruits in some extreme conditions to boost their immune system. But it would be best you focus on meat-based food as it replicates what they eat in the wild.
It keeps them healthy and provides a good source of protein perfect for their digestive system.
However, if you are unsure of what to feed your ferrets, you can consult your vet. If your ferret falls sick or behaving unwell, call your vet too.