Ferrets are popular pets that are not only beautiful but also incredibly energetic and cute. They’re perfect for families or those who enjoy a quiet, intelligent type of pet. If you’re looking to adopt one of these adorable little creatures, however, beware: they’re not always the easiest pets to take care of!
One question I saw that was asked quite frequently was if ferrets can eat oranges?
And the answer is pretty straightforward. NO, ferrets should not eat oranges, and I’ll tell you why in just a few minutes.
So, I’ll be going over what kinds of food ferrets can and can’t eat and how to help ensure that your new friend gets proper nutrition while you take care of them.
Let’s start by looking at what ferrets usually eat. They don’t eat like cats or dogs, for the most part, so if you’re used to pets that only need one type of food, then this is going to be a bit of a significant change for you.
Ferrets are obligate carnivores. That means that they are strict meat-eaters. Ferrets can pretty much eat any meat that they want to, but they shouldn’t be given junk food or human food unless it’s been approved by their vet.
But in general, it is safe to say that ferrets must live on a diet of meat. There is no way to substitute another food source for meat in their diet.
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What about Oranges
Oranges are bad for your furry little friend. That is because of the sugar and fiber that oranges contain. This can wreak havoc on your ferrets’ digestive system. Ferrets are prone to Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (also known as bloat), which can be harmful.
Even though this won’t kill your ferret right away, it is still a good idea to avoid giving oranges and other human food to it.
What makes oranges especially bad for ferrets is the fruit sugar. Sugar will lead to diabetes and eventually to cancer in their pancreatic cells. This cancer is called insulinoma, and even though surgery can help – in most cases, ferrets die of it!
In short, oranges can cause stomach problems, or worse, in your ferret. It is not worth the risk.
What about other fruits?
Actually, it does not matter what fruit you feed your ferret – you will do more harm than good! Ferrets should not eat any fruits at all!
Vegetables are another no-go for ferrets. Why? Well, the fibers in vegetables can not be digested by your ferret. Their digestive system is not made for it! So, you are putting extra work on your ferret’s body, and you may even cause a blockage or other problems.
What Foods are Ferret Proof?
As said above. Ferrets need meat. So you either can feed a kibble (dry food) based diet or a raw diet consisting of different meat.
Kibble is a dry food that contains meat and some vitamin complex. Usually, kibbles are made by companies specialized in pet food.
When you buy kibble for your ferret, make sure that the percentage of meat is above 30% and that the main ingredient is actual meat. Not meat by-products!
Stick to ferret-approved kibble – Do not give your furry friend dog food! Dog food contains more significant amounts of fiber which is terrible for ferrets.
Cat food can be ok for ferrets, but only in controlled amounts. Plus, you need to check the ingredient list!
Raw Food Diet
With raw feeding, you feed your pet raw meat – chicken, rabbit, turkey, beef, or lamb. Organs and bones are also a part of this diet. Don’t worry. The bones are actually good for your ferret! They help to keep their teeth strong.
You could also feed whole prey such as mice (feeder mice are available in many pet stores). If you do not like the idea of storing dead mice in your fridge, the alternative could be the so-called frankenprey diet.
The idea is to feed your ferret food that is similar to that of a prey animal. This can be done by adding different animal parts to the raw diet to make up what a prey animal would consist of.
It is also important to note that the Frankenprey model follows a strict 80/10/10 guideline and that most raw feeders follow this over a week of meals, as opposed to a day.
- 80% meat
- 10% bones
- 10% organs
A raw diet, including organs, bones, and whole prey, is beneficial for your ferret’s health. It supplies your ferret with everything it needs to live a long and healthy life.
Getting your Ferret to Eat Raw Meat
By now, you might think that ferrets LOVE meat and will readily eat any meat that you offer them. But the truth is that many ferrets need to be taught that meat is good for them.
Ferrets are imprinted to their foods by the age of 5-6 months. Many bigger pet stores (Petko) sell ferrets that never had raw meat in their life. They grew up with dry food.
If that is the case, you will need to slowly introduce the new diet to your ferret. Start off with a little bit of raw meat on top of your ferrets’ food and gradually increase the amount.
Ferrets are usually very smart. They’ll find out that you are trying to get them to eat something and will soon realize that this something is, in fact, good for them, so they will eat it on their own.
The answer to the question if ferrets can eat oranges is NO – because oranges contain sugar and fiber that can cause stomach problems (and worse) in ferrets. It is not worth the risk of giving your ferret an orange or any other fruit that could be harmful.
The takeaway from this article is: Ferrets can’t eat oranges or any other fruit.
Last update on 2021-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API