Posted: January 1, 2010, 5 a.m. EST
Q: Lately my ferret has really been eating a lot. He looks fat — his belly is wider and even his neck is fatter. Is this normal? He eats sometimes two bowls of food a day. I know it’s winter time, so I figured he was eating so much due to that. Could you please help me? I’m worried.
A: Ferrets usually do not become overweight, and they usually do not overeat. But every ferret is different. Your ferret’s appearance may be a combination of overeating and not getting enough exercise. Usually, there is an explanation for both of these problems.
Ferrets may overeat if they are fed a food that is poor in nutrition or due to a behavioral component. Maybe your ferret is in competition with another ferret (or another pet in the house) over the food in the food bowl.
Sometimes ferrets do not get enough exercise because their enclosure is too small or they do not get time outside of their enclosure. Sometimes ferrets are sick and are too tired or in pain to exercise.
The best action is to find a veterinarian familiar with ferrets and have that doctor examine your ferret to be certain there are no diseases causing a problem. Once the veterinarian rules out a disease problem, then make sure you feed a quality diet meant for ferrets. And make sure your ferret gets exercise daily to help run off those calories.
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