Posted: August 13, 2010, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: How can I get my ferret to eat her food? She is 5 months old, and she is not sick. She eats everything else but her food. She eats her food only if it is chopped up and has water in it to where it almost looks like soup with chunks, not soupy; and I have to hold her to eat it, or she won’t eat. I have tried different kinds of food also. Right now she is eating a ferret-specific food. Once again she does not have any problems eating anything else by herself, just her food. I also have two other ferrets, and they won’t eat their food without warm water in it also.
A: What else are you feeding your ferret? You mentioned that she eats everything else but her food. If you are giving her a lot of treats or table scraps, then she will logically turn her nose up at her regular food. A human child that is offered cake all the time will put up a fuss if given bread.
At 5 months of age, she is old enough to eat dry food without the water added. If she likes it that way and you don’t mind mixing it up for her, there is nothing wrong with continuing to feed her the moistened food. Be sure to check her teeth regularly to make sure that tartar isn’t building up on her teeth. Stop spoiling her, though. Set the food down, put her near it so she knows it’s there and then walk away. If she is hungry, she will eat. If not, then leave the wet food there for a while (about an hour) and then take it away and just leave some dry food out for her. She may just enjoy the time you spend with her.
You may also want to try a different brand of ferret food. Maybe the brand you get is too hard for her. Try a brand that has smaller pieces or that crumbles more easily. You can also try squirting a little Ferretone or a similar product on her food to entice her to eat it. Just don’t use too much or she may start gaining weight. Be sure to change the coated food every couple of days so it doesn’t go rancid. Try the same thing on your other ferrets. If she sees them eating the dry food, then she may start eating it on her own, too. Be sure to have plenty of fresh water available for them at all times.
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