Can Ferrets eat Onions?

Ferrets are small mammals that belong to the Mustelidae family. They are also known to be relatives to polecats, otters, or weasels. Ferrets were first domesticated around 2500 years ago. They are often kept as pets because of their playful nature and intelligence.

Maybe you are wondering if ferrets can eat onions? Well, the answer is no. Ferrets should not eat onions. The onion is known to cause hemolytic anemia, which can be fatal to ferrets.

What kind of food does a ferret need?

As mentioned above, ferrets are carnivores. This means they should have meat in their diet. However, they need to get enough protein. The best way to feed your ferret is by providing raw and fresh meat. You could always add in some commercial ferret food. Another alternative or addition is kibble (a dry food).

Maybe you are surprised to hear that ferrets rely entirely on meat, but this is true. Their digestive system cannot handle other types of foods such as vegetables. Do not give your ferret any vegetables. Vegetables contain fiber and carbohydrates, both of which will make your ferret sick.

No Vegetables 

In most cases, carbohydrates are broken down or converted to glucose, in other words, sugar. Sugar is something you should not feed your ferret. Ferrets are prone to developing insulinomas – cancer of the pancreatic cells. 

The fiber will pass through your ferret’s intestines without being digested. It may even block your ferret’s intestinal – in many cases, surgery is necessary. 

No Fruits

Fruits also contain lots of sugar. As mentioned above, sugar is terrible for ferrets. They should not be fed any sugar-rich food because it can lead to diabetic shock. If your ferret consumes sugar, it can develop hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia (higher or lower blood sugar levels).

Insulinoma

Insulinomas in ferrets are pretty standard in middle-aged to older ferrets: 

“Insulinoma is a common condition of middle-aged to older ferrets. These tumors of the pancreas cause an increase in the secretion of insulin, which leads to severely low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This condition is seen most commonly in 3-4 year old ferrets, both male and female. Signs of the disease may appear suddenly as an episode of collapse lasting from minutes to hours. During such an episode, the ferret usually appears depressed, recumbent, and unresponsive. In severe cases, seizures may occur. Clinical symptoms appear gradually in many ferrets. Commonly, ferrets with insulinoma experience gradually progressive weakness and lethargy over weeks to months. Excessive salivation, pawing at the mouth, and weakness of the hind limbs are also frequently observed. Signs may be intermittent, with periods of normal activity in between periods of lethargy. Prolonged, severe hypoglycemia can lead to convulsions and even irreversible brain damage and death. Because of the frequency and severity of this disease, it is recommended that all ferrets 3 years old and older have their blood glucose checked every 6 months.”

Source: https://avianandexotic.com/care-sheets/mammals/insulinoma-in-ferrets/

No Milk and Dairy Products

Ferrets are lactose intolerant. This means that they cannot have any dairy products such as milk or cheese. Dairy products contain lactose (whipped cream and ferrets), which will make the ferret nauseous and possibly induce diarrhea.

Grains

Ferrets can not digest grains such as wheat, corn, oats, barley, rice, etc… Grains contain gluten, which causes inflammation in the small intestine. The result is malabsorption syndrome. Malabsorption syndrome results in weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and sometimes bloody stools.

Additionally, if your ferret overeats grain, he might get constipation. Constipation can become so severe that it requires surgical intervention. 

Ferrets are carnivores, so they need meat to survive. Grains are not part of their natural diet. Ferrets are also prone to obesity, so eating too many carbohydrates can lead to weight gain.

General Requirements for a Healthy Ferret Diet

Generally speaking, your furry friend’s diet should contain around 30% – 40% of protein, 15% – 20% fat, and less than 5% fiber. Protein and fat need to be animals based. Soya Beans are not an option for ferrets – they can not digest them, and ma suffers from intestinal blockages. 

How often Should Ferrets eat?

This may differ from ferret to ferret, but ferrets should generally eat around 5-8 times per day. They have a fast metabolism and short digestive tracts. This means to keep up with their metabolism, you need to feed them more often.

How much Should Ferrets eat?

Ferrets consume around 5-7% of their body weight in food every day. This may differ depending on the age and individual conditions of our furry friend. 

Summary 

Onions are not suitable for your ferret and could cause significant health problems if feed. The best way to ensure good health for your pet is by feeding him what his body needs. Ferrets are strict meat-eaters and need raw meat to thrive and survive. Please do not feed them vegetables and fruits. If you do, there’s a chance that they’ll develop diabetes.

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