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Ferret Nutrition 101

Ferrets are delightful pets, and lots of fun to watch. They are very different from our other animal companions, however, and have their own unique care needs. If you are a first-time ferret owner, you may have a bit of a learning curve to face. One area of ferret care that is very important to understand is nutrition. As your Marion, IA vet, I offer tips on ferret nutrition in this article.

Kibble

You can now find ferret food in many pet stores. It’s worth mentioning that, since minks and ferrets are closely related, one may think that commercial mink food is safe for ferrets. However, mink food typically contains fish, which is not appropriate for ferrets. If you can’t find ferret food, you may be able to offer your pet premium dry food for kittens. Don’t use dog food, however: it isn’t suitable for ferrets.

Variety

One curious thing about ferrets is that they do sometimes get fixated on a certain type of food. In fact, ferrets can get so attached to one type of food that they will refuse anything else. If you feed your ferret kibble, offer your furry friend a mix of brands. Otherwise, if your pet’s favorite food is discontinued, you could find yourself in a pickle!

Treats

Just like any other pet, ferrets love snacks. You can give your little buddy commercial pet treats for cats or ferrets; cooked eggs; or cooked, plain meat, without the skin or bones. Frozen muscle or organ meats are suitable as well. These guys tend to enjoy anything liver-flavored.

Dangerous Foods

Never give your pint-sized pal a new food without first researching it to make sure it’s safe. Some things to avoid are marshmallows; chocolate; garlic, onions, and chives; ice cream; candy; peanut butter; potato chips; grapes; fruits and veggies; grains (including bread) and dairy products, with the exception of eggs.

Tips

Ask your vet for specific advice, including feeding times, safe and unsafe foods, and suitable treats. Your vet may recommend feeding your ferret several small meals a day, rather than one large one. If you do need to make changes to your tiny buddy’s diet, you’ll need to do so slowly. Last but not least, make sure your ferret always has fresh water!

Please contact me with any questions about ferret health or care. As your Marion, IA vet, I’m happy to help!

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