Can Ferrets Eat Sardines?

You are a (new) ferret owner and your little pal doesn’t want to eat meat? How about some fish instead? Is it ok for ferrets to eat fish and especially sardines? After all, ferrets are strict meat-eaters, and fish is known for being high in protein and a lot of other beneficial stuff. Here is the good news: 

Yes, ferrets can eat sardines. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will. I mean, tastes are different and some ferrets will not touch fish at all! 

Can My Ferret Have Fish

You bet. Ferrets are obligate carnivores, they need animal-based protein to thrive Sardine has been proven as an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids which help with brain development and overall health. It also contains vitamin D3, B12, iron, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, and magnesium.

So if you have figured out a healthy diet for your furry friend already, then adding sardines into their daily menu should be no problem. Just make sure that you don’t feed them too much or else you’ll notice a fishy smell in addition to your furry friends’ normal odor. 

Why is that so? The fish oil in sardines (or any fish) will “run” through your ferrets’ systems and cause them to smell like, well, fish! This isn’t something that happens overnight; it takes several days before this smell starts appearing. If you are concerned about this, try feeding fish only once a week so that the oils will not build up in their system.

Also, keep in mind that even though sardines contain lots of nutrients, they aren’t meant to make up the majority of your ferrets’ diet. 

What Do Ferrets Eat?

As mentioned above, ferrets are meat-eaters. They do not need vegetables or fruits to live a healthy life. Meat is what they need and you could either feed a raw diet, a diet based on dry food (kibble), or a combination of both. 

I would always try to go with a good mix between raw meat and kibble. It is so much more convenient to leave some kibble around when you are at work. Also, when choosing a type of meat, choose one that is easy to digest such as chicken breast or ground beef. You may find yourself spending less time cleaning dishes after each meal.

Types of meat

Ferrets are not limited to any “special” meat. Basically, they need fresh, raw meat of good quality. The species it came from is not so important at all. You could feed rabbits, pigeons, etc. But to be honest, most ferret owners stay with chicken and beef. It’s just so much easier to buy some chicken breasts than it is to buy pigeon meat for example. 

Here are some examples of what ferrets like:

  • beef
  • veal
  • chicken 
  • chicken wings
  • chicken hearts
  • turkey
  • turkey necks
  • raw bones
  • eggs 
  • fish
  • rabbit
  • pigeon
  • liver (+other organs)
  • offal
  • lamb

The list could go on, but you get the idea right? 

Ferrets Are Not Vegetarians

Do not feed your ferret vegetables or fruits. They are meat eaters by nature. Actually, ferrets lack the ability to digest fiber or other plant matter properly. This could lead to your furry friend suffering from obstipation, diarrhea, or an upset stomach. 

In some severe cases of obstipation, an internal blockage could occur – and sometimes surgical treatment is necessary. So, do not feed vegetables. Ferrets gain nothing from it but could suffer from digestive problems.

Fruits

Fruits are also not appropriate for your furry friend to have. That’s because they also could contain fiber, but most importantly, fruits contain sugar (carbohydrates). Sugar is bad for ferrets. Their little body can not handle sugar intake well. Many ferrets develop diabetes or even worse, insulinomas. Insulinomas are a cancer of the pancreatic cells and need to be treated by medical professionals. 

Do not put your ferret at risk – do not feed any fruits or other sugary foods.

How Much Should I Feed My Ferret?

This question has been asked many times already. There really is no answer to this question. How much should my ferret eat depends entirely on how active he/she is. Some ferrets don’t require very much while others need quite a bit. As a general rule, ferrets need around 5-7% of their body weight in food every day. 

How often should my Ferret eat?

This depends on the diet you let them have. Raw meat for example inherits more energy and supposedly will keep your ferret longer full. In general, ferrets should be fed 5-8 times per day. Freshwater should always be available.

Summary

Can ferrets eat Sardines? Yes, they can. Do not overdo it – once per week should be fine. Too much fish will make your ferret smell like fish(!). Sardines are high in omega 3 fatty acids which help maintain healthy skin and coat. Other than that try feeding a balanced diet of raw meat, kibble, and maybe some treats here and there.

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