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Ferret Nutrition Roundtable, Ferret Nutrition Question #8

Should kibble be moistened before being offered?

By Sandy Meyer
Posted: May 23, 2008, 7 p.m. EDT

Ferret Nutrition Question #8

Should kibble be moistened before being offered?

PR: When they’re very young, it’s not a bad idea to continue to offer them a bit of a moistened food and then wean them off to a dry ration. [Another time is] post-surgery or if they’ve had a lower-intestinal issue. There are certain times of their lifetime that you might offer a moistened diet.

SW: It generally should not be required to pre-moisten kibble for a healthy animal.

TW: No. If you have to moisten a kibble so the ferret can chew it or bite it, you’ve got the wrong food. No dry kibble should be so hard that you have to add water in order to make it soft enough to eat. If they’ve been sick and you’re trying to get them back on solid food, just about anything of that nature is a good idea, but you shouldn’t have to soften it just so they can eat it. An elderly, healthy ferret should not [need a moistened kibble] either unless it has broken or poor teeth that would cause difficulty in chewing.

AP: I do if I have a brand-new baby. I put some warm water in there and moisten [the kibble] up just a bit. [I moisten food for] babies, very young kits and any reason of complication, like older or sick ferrets, but on a day-to-day basis, no.

GS: Kibbles can be moistened to improve acceptability when introducing a new diet. However, moistened food should be replaced with new food frequently.

JF: Only to young ferrets. They will wean themselves off the moistened food.

KS: It is common for ferrets to have problems with tartar build up. Providing dry food will help minimize this. Offering moistened food can contribute to periodontal disease if used regularly. Moistened food should only be used for young animals or as an occasional treat.

LG: Each creature is unique. One ferret may have proclivities different from the next. Some ferrets may find dry kibble more palatable and/or digestible if moistened, but as with the shape of the kibble, this rule cannot be generally applied. There is really no health advantage to moistened kibble vs. dry kibble. Of course, fresh pure water should always be available.

MM: It’s probably not going to matter. If [owners] want to, yes. The way the ferret’s teeth are anyway, they don’t get any benefit from the scraping when they chew on the food because it cleaves like a diamond, so it splits apart. It doesn’t generally puncture and run up the side of the tooth and clean it. So it’s almost immaterial whether it’s crunchy or wet. The difference on the enamel on the teeth is almost zero. The only thing that keeps teeth clean is ripping through fur and things like that.

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Meet The Panelists
Each ferret-food manufacturer representative is identified by his or her initials.

PR: Peter Reid, president of Marshall Pet Products Inc.

SW: Stefan Wawrzynski, operations director for Brisky Pet Products.

TW: Tom Willard, Ph.D., president of Totally Ferret/Performance Foods Inc.

AP: April Pietroiacovo, ferret specialist at Totally Ferret.

GS: Gail Shepherd, senior marketing manager at ZuPreem, a division of Premium Nutritional Products Inc.

JF: Jack Fallenstein, owner of Triple F Farms Inc.

KJ: Ken Johnson, national accounts manager at D & D Commodities Ltd.

KS: Kathy Schneider, technical services manager for Central Avian & Small Animal, a division of Kaytee Products Inc.

LG: Lucas Gillis, supervisor, office manager at Wysong Corp.

MM: Michael Massey, president of Pretty Bird International Inc.

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Ferret Nutrition Roundtable, Ferret Nutrition Question #8

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