Can Ferrets Eat Licorice?

Ferrets are becoming more and more popular pets to keep in households. A lot of people may not know, but ferrets are strict meat-eaters. That means that they do not eat plants or anything else besides meat.

Ferrets also have unique nutritional needs because they are strict carnivores. They can’t eat things such as raisins, peas, or anything with high fructose corn syrup.

Now, what about licorice? Licorice contains sugar which is something you should avoid feeding your furry friend at all!

So to answer your question: Can Ferrets Eat Licorice? is NO – They should not eat licorice or any other sweets that contain sugar!

Why Sugar is Bad for Ferrets

Sugar is bad. We all know that. But it is terrible for ferrets because ferrets are prone to diabetes if they consume too much sugar and other sweet foods. Their insulin levels get out of line, and hypoglycemia occurs, causing erratic behavior, seizures, and even death.

Anything sweet or high in sugar is terrible for ferrets because of the high percentage of glucose in their diet. One teaspoon of sugar contains about six grams of glucose. Six grams!

read.. can my ferret have a Twizzler?

Insulinoma

Another thing that could develop if your furry friend overeats sugar is an insulinoma. An insulinoma is a tumor in the pancreatic cells. The only way to treat it is by removing it through surgery.

The problem is that your ferret could die from surgery, making the prognosis not very good for your sweet pet.

Xylitol

If there is one thing even worse than sugar, it’s an artificial sweetener. Xylitol can cause seizures, low blood sugar, and failure of the liver. It is necessary to keep your ferret away from sugar-free gums and other products that contain this sweetener. 

The Ideal Ferret Diet

As mentioned above, ferrets are strict meat-eaters. They shouldn’t have any grains, cereals, or other plant-based products in their diet. This is why ferrets don’t need to be fed vegetables and fruits.

All the nutrition they need is obtained from their diet. That is why it is essential to provide a high-quality diet for your ferret.

Raw Diet

A variety of meats in front of a white background

If you think about it, a raw diet of fresh meat is the most natural way to provide your ferret with proper nutrition. Like the diet of other meat-eating animals, raw meat provides a lot of proteins, vitamins, and minerals essential for your pet’s health.

An ideal ferret diet should contain poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.), rabbit, occasionally fish (a salmon is an excellent option for ferrets), beef or lamb, and even pork.

Some other examples are:

  • beef
  • game birds
  • bones (raw)
  • pigeon
  • chicken wings
  • chicken breast
  • rabbit
  • feeder mice
  • ground beef
  • liver (raw)
  • pork
  • offal
  • beef liver, etc.

Be sure to buy good quality raw meats. It could be a good idea to talk to a local butcher and get some raw meat on sale. A whole chicken is a great option, and the neck, gizzard, and heart can be fed to your ferrets.

It is always better to feed fresh food than frozen food, but frozen food will do perfectly fine in some cases. However, if you can get raw meat fresh or frozen, that’s by far the best option for your furry friend.

Kibble

Kibble is dry food. It is available for cats, dogs, and ferrets. Make sure that you only feed kibble that was made for ferrets. Dry food for dogs, for example, contains a large amount of fiber which is known to cause digestive problems in ferrets.

Kibble contains everything your ferret needs for a healthy and long life. However, it is essential to realize that ferrets are obligate carnivores and should not be restricted to eating only kibble.

Commercial Ferret Food

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Wet Cat Food?

Good quality wet cat food is also an option for ferrets. That is because, just like ferrets, cats can not produce taurine by themselves. Taurin is to be found in met only.

However, never give your ferret anything made for a different type of pet because there could be ingredients in the food that are harmful to your pet and could cause serious health problems such as obesity and diabetes.

Check the Ingredients List

If you are unsure about any food, check the ingredients list. The ingredients are listed by the amount in the product. A more significant amount of one component will appear further up on the list.

Animal By-Products

You will often find something like “chicken by-product” as the primary meat source of ferret food. But what does that actually mean? By-products are all parts of the animal that are not considered suitable for human consumption. Most commonly, these are skin, feet, head, beaks… but also feathers and gelatin.

I would advise you to look for ferrets foods that contain “real” meat. So instead of “chicken by-product,” it should read “chicken.” While animal by-products won’t make your ferret sick, they are not what I would consider quality meat.

Summary

Can ferrets eat licorice? No! Ferrets can only eat meat as they are obligate carnivorous. Their diet cannot contain any grains, cereals, or other plant-based products.

Your ferret should eat a balanced diet containing fresh raw meat and kibble. Ferrets should not be fed vegetables and fruits or, even worse, any manufactured products containing sugar.

Last update on 2021-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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