Can Ferrets Eat Kale?

Ferrets are strict carnivores; that is to say, their diets consist of meat only. They do not need any other food sources such as vegetables or grains. This includes the leaves and stems from plants like cabbage, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, etc.

This is because these foods contain high amounts of fiber that ferrets cannot digest properly. The fiber in your pet’s diet will cause diarrhea, gas, bloating, constipation, stomach ulcers, or worse. 

So, to answer your question, “Can Ferrets Eat Kale”? – No, ferrets should not eat kale! 

Is Kale Safe for Ferrets?

Even though kale is rich in vitamins and minerals, it is not suitable for your furry friend to consume. As mentioned above, ferrets are strict meat-eaters. Their digestive system is made specifically for consuming animal proteins. If you feed them with a vegetable-based diet, they may suffer from various health problems.

That’s why I would say that kale is not safe for ferrets to eat! 

Can Eating Kale Benefit Ferrets?

Short answer: No! Eating kale will not benefit your ferret’s health. The opposite might happen if you give them too much of it. Bloating, digestive problems, and due to the fiber in kale – even intestinal blockages could occur. Do not put your ferret at risk. Vegetables are not beneficial for them to consume.

Kale is toxic to ferrets when fed in larger quantities. The toxicity appears to come from oxalic acid present in the plant.

What to Do if Your Ferret Eats Kale?

Don’t worry if your little furry friend only had a little bit of kale that you overlooked. But if you notice that your pet is in distress due to the large amount he consumed, please take him to a vet immediately. 

Infections of the Urinary Tract and Stones in Ferrets

Plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, may actually cause your ferret some health problems. As a result of the accumulation of plant-based proteins, they can develop urinary tract stones. 

Here is what PetMd says about stones (urolithiasis) and ferrets: 

“Urolithiasis is a condition where certain compounds called uroliths form in the urinary tract. Made of stones, crystals, or calculi, the uroliths are caused by metabolic and dietary factors that affect the acidity of the ferret’s blood. Ferrets with this condition suffer from secondary bacterial infections and pain due to the rubbing of the uroliths against the urinary tract.”

Source: https://www.petmd.com/ferret/conditions/urinary/c_ft_urolithiasis

They further go on that Urolithiasis is “most common in middle-aged to older ferrets (3 to 7 years)” and that, especially males, are prone to it. The risk factors identified are

  • dog food
  • low-quality cat food
  • plant-based proteins

Treatment 

Stones are either treated via antibiotics or surgery. So, if you noticed that your pet is acting strange, not eating or drinking, as usual, lethargic, or has a hard time using the litter box, you should take him to the vet immediately.

What Should Your Ferret Eat?

Meat-based products or raw meat such as:

  • chicken breast
  • chicken wings
  • bones (uncooked)
  • turkey
  • turkey neck
  • game birds
  • veal
  • beef
  • liver
  • eggs (sometimes)
  • fish (sometimes) 
  • kibble/dry food

If you can provide your pet a variety of meats, then please do so. It will keep him more healthy. I do not recommend feeding your ferret-cooked bones as it may cause him serious internal injuries, but raw bones are ok. 

read.. can ferrets have coffee?

Kibble

ferret in front of its food

If you are feeding kibble, make sure that it is high-quality food. It should be free of fillers and additives such as corn or wheat. Especially the amount of fiber is something you must be careful about when buying your ferrets’ diet. 

Fiber can cause problems with digestion and could lead to intestinal blockage. Remember? Ferrets are strict carnivores. Their digestive system is not made to process fiber and plant material.  Instead, they need lots of protein in their diets!

What do I need to know before giving my baby ferret raw meat?

At six weeks, a mother ferret’s milk is no longer available to feed her kits. At this stage, new kit owners will need to provide a meat-based diet. If you give your ferret raw meat, make sure that the meat comes from a source of known good quality. 

If you are feeding kibble, it might be necessary to mix it with some water to soften it up. Ferrets are imprinted to their foods by the age of approximately five months. Make sure to feed a variety of foods and change the diet always. 

What is the Best Food for Ferrets?

Raw meat! Why? Just think about it, if ferrets lived in the wild, they would consume whole animals such as mice, prairie dogs, rodents, etc. That’s why raw meat is my number one recommendation. It is packed with proteins, fats, and essential nutrients.

Many pet stores offer feeder mice or chicks. My ferrets love to eat them. After all, ferrets are strict carnivores. They must eat meat to live a healthy and long (hopefully) life! If you do not feel like storing dead mice in your fridge, you could always look into the Frankenprey Diet. 

Frankenprey Diet 

The frankenprey diet is basically a diet of meat-based meals for your ferret. The idea is to combine different animal parts to resemble what a whole prey is made of. 

80% meat, 10% bone, and 10% organs. You put together a meal plan for the week and aim to achieve the 80/10/10 ratio weekly – not daily! I think that’s an exciting approach and might be useful for you. You should definitely check it out!

Read more here: https://www.fairoakferrets.co.uk/raw-feeding-ferrets

I personally have not put my ferrets on it. The reason is that I prefer giving them a combination of raw meat and kibble. 

Summary 

Ferrets are strict meat-eaters. They cannot digest plant material properly. Kale is a member of the cabbage family, and if you are thinking about using it as a substitute, please don’t! 

Your furry friend may suffer from diarrhea, bloating, or even a blockage of the intestinal tract. Vegetables are also thought of as being responsible for developing infections of the urinary tract and stones. 

To best meet his nutritional needs, you should feed your ferret with a mixture between raw meat and kibble.

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