Ferrets are small mammals of the genus Mustela. They are related to weasels, minks, and polecats. These animals are found in Europe and Asia. For centuries, ferrets have long been kept by humans for their role in rodent control, but today they are domestic pets that may be seen as companion animals or show animals.
As a new ferrets owner, you might be asking yourself if ferrets can eat dried fruits? The answer to your question is NO! Ferrets should not eat dried fruits!
Why Should Ferrets Not Eat Dried Fruits?
Ferrets are obligate carnivores. That means that they must consume meat exclusively. This includes all types of flesh such as fish, poultry, beef, pork, lamb, veal, venison, rabbit, etc. Ferrets have a specialized digestive system. They are not able to process fruits, nuts, corn, or any other plant matter. If fed these foods, it could cause them severe health problems and/or even death.
Additionally, fruits contain high amounts of sugar. This is especially bad for them – Ferrets are prone to diabetes and insulinomas. Eating fruits will make this condition worse. A very high percentage of ferrets will develop insulinomas (cancer of the pancreatic cells) at some point in their lives.
Do not put your furry friend at additional risk. Fruits are not beneficial; all vitamins our pet needs will be from fresh and raw meat. The same goes for vegetables! Ferrets do not need vegetables to live a healthy and happy life.
Quite the opposite is true! Ferrets can not digest fiber properly. It can give them an upset stomach, bloating, diarrhea, or in very severe cases, an internal blockage of their intestines!
Urinary Tract Infection and Stones in Ferrets
Fruits and vegetables can cause urinary tract stones if you feed them to your ferret. The stones are made up of calcium oxalate, which can be found in leaves, fruit, and grains.
Do not let your ferret have fruits (or vegetables). It doesn’t matter if the fruits are dried or fresh! They are not beneficial for your furry friend, and they might even cause serious harm.
How Can I Prevent My Pet From Getting Sick When He Eats Fruit?
If you want to prevent your ferret from getting sick when he eats fruit – DO NOT let your ferret have any fruits in the first place!
What Can I Feed My Ferret?
The best diet for ferrets consists mainly of raw meat. Ferrets are not limited to a specific type of meat; however, most people feed them chicken because it’s easy to find and cheap. Chicken has many benefits: it contains protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.
Other meats that are ok to feed your furry friend are:
- turkey necks
- raw bones
- tuna (sometimes)
The list could go on. You get what I am trying to say, right?
What About Dry Foods?
There are times when you can’t provide fresh meat to your pet ferret. Most of us have to go to work or do other things during the day. In those situations, dry food becomes a great option. Ferrets can be left with some dry kibble for the times you’re not around.
Whatever you do, do not give your furry friend dog food or dry cat food! Buy a kibble that is made especially for ferrets! Most other kibbles will contain carbohydrates, plants, fillers, corn, starch, and other stuff not suitable for ferrets.
How Much Food Does My Pet Need?
This depends entirely on how active he is. Some ferrets only require more food, others less. But generally speaking, ferrets eat around 5-7% of their body weight per day. Kits might need more, senior ferrets less.
The good thing is that ferrets typically are not “overeating” – If you leave them a bowl full of kibble, they will only eat as much as they need to be full.
How Often Must Ferrets Eat?
Again, this depends. It depends on the diet you are providing; if you are feeding mainly raw meat, your furry friend will not need to eat as often as if you rely primarily on kibble. The reason for that is that eat carries more nutrients than kibble does. However, there are also diets available that consist of almost 100% of raw meat.
As a general rule, ferrets need to eat between 5-8 times per day. A young and active ferret might eat more than an elderly ferret gentleman that is not as active anymore…
Ferrets are lactose intolerant! Do not feed them cheese, milk, yogurt, etc. It will have the same effects on them as it would on a human that is lactose intolerant. They may vomit, feel ill, bloated, etc. This includes any kind of dairy product.
It is essential for ferrets to not have fruits because it can cause urinary tract stones or cause insulinomas which are common in ferrets. It is also important not to give your pet any dry dog or cat food because many ingredients are not suitable for ferrets.
Ferrets need only fresh meat and water to live a healthy life. All vitamins our ferret needs will be from fresh and raw meat. You can feed them dry kibble – make sure it’s a brand made especially for ferrets! Do not let your furry friend have fruits, vegetables, or dairy products at all!