Bookmark and Share
Printer Friendly Bookmark and Share

Feeding Your Ferret

Because ferrets metabolize food so quickly, they need to eat frequently throughout the day.

By Deborah Jeans

Ferrets are carnivorous animals and must be fed a premium dry ferret or kitten food with a meat-based protein and high-fat content. Because ferrets metabolize food so quickly, they need to eat frequently throughout the day and probably will consume between seven and 10 small meals daily. For this reason, fresh food and water must be available to them at all times.

Ferrets too young (up to 10 weeks of age) to digest hard food require a moistened diet. Aging ferrets may require adult formulas, but a veterinarian should be consulted before switching foods.

Anytime new foods are introduced they gradually should be mixed with the original diet until the ferret adjusts to its new diet.

Heavy ceramic or weighted food and water bowls are recommended because ferrets like to tip things over. A 16-ounce water bottle should be secured to the outside of the cage with the spout facing in.

Ferrets love to snack on foods, including some fruits and vegetables; however, they digest fiber poorly. Treats should be chopped into tiny pieces and given in small amounts (not exceeding 1 teaspoon per day). Some acceptable snacks are melon (no seeds), sugar and salt-free Cheerios, broccoli or cucumber (without skin). Cooked egg and cooked meat scraps are healthy treats and may be fed in larger amounts. Ferrets should not be fed dog food, sweets, salty foods, milk products, vegetarian cat food diets or bones.

Some ferrets may require extra fat in their diets, especially during the dry winter months in colder climates. A ferret or cat fatty acid supplement based on a veterinarian's recommended dosage will suffice. Laxatives also may be necessary when a ferret has eaten something that could cause an obstruction. Laxatives also can prevent hairballs during their shedding seasons. Again, dosage should be recommended by a veterinarian.

Posted: April 2, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT

 Give us your opinion on
Feeding Your Ferret

Submit a Comment   Join Club
Earn 1,000 points! What's this?
Reader Comments
I know this isn't what any of you want to hear, but seriously, a raw diet, either frankenprey or whole prey is what ferrets are made for. Small bones are great for ferrets, cleaning their teeth and providing them with calcium. Most owners don't bother because they can't be bothered doing the research or buying and cutting up meat, but personally, I will do anything to ensure my beautiful girly enjoys a happy, healthy and long life:)
Martha, International
Posted: 1/19/2015 2:28:05 PM
Definitely no fruits or veggies :/
Erica, Denton, TX
Posted: 4/15/2012 12:53:51 PM
In my opinion fruits and veggies are a big no no, even if it is a small amount. And some ferrets are slightly allergic 2 some ferret foods like mine are, they will b more itchy than normal. I started 2 mix a couple different foods 2gether and they seem 2 like it pretty well
Leslie, Gurley, AL
Posted: 3/20/2011 2:44:17 PM
You should also make sure your dry ferret foods don't contain any meat "byproducts" or corn. The low quality ones usually have that and its not good for the ferrets.
m, hb, CA
Posted: 6/25/2010 12:19:39 AM
View Current Comments

Rabbits USA
Rabbits USA
Top Products

Hi my name's Simba

Visit the Photo Gallery to
cast your vote!