The Species-Appropriate Nutrition Of Ferrets – That’s How It Works

If you want to get a ferret as a pet, you should inquire in advance about their requirements, needs and individual character traits. This is because they are not easy to keep animals. They are very demanding, need a lot of space and when it comes to food, it is not always easy to provide a species-appropriate diet.

However, this is important. Ferrets are small predators and belong to the so-called carnivores. This means that ferrets are strictly carnivores. In this article we will show you what you can give your ferret to enable it to be kept in a species-appropriate manner, because the health of the animals depends on it.

Ferrets need variety

While ferrets are strictly carnivores, they also need variety in their diet. You have to know that these animals have a particularly short intestine, which is designed to digest food animals and meat. Digestion takes about three to four hours, which is a very short time compared to us humans or other animals. Many people categorize ferrets as rodents and love all wrong. They are predators that hunt their food in the wild. You can see that particularly quickly if you take a closer look at the teeth of the animals and compare them with those of rabbits and the like. They have fangs that make it possible to hold and kill prey.

With plant-based feed, the animals could quickly have problems because they lack the enzymes to utilize this food. In addition, these animals do not have an appendix, which also supports plant digestion, as is the case with dogs or cats and rodents. For this reason, the focus should clearly be on a meat-based diet, which should contain a relatively large amount of fat, easily digestible proteins and few carbohydrates as well as no sugar.

Changing the diet of ferrets – how to do it

Unfortunately, many ferrets are used to a rather poor and inferior diet. Unfortunately, changing the feed is always very difficult for the animals, but it is not completely impossible. In this case, however, it is very important that you change the food slowly and always give a little more of the new food to the old one. Don’t force the food on your darling and take your time when changing the ferret’s food. If the animals accept the new feed after it has been mixed into the old feed, the mixing ratios can be increased. This amount can then be increased until the old food can be completely banned. Another option is to mix the food for the ferrets into a mush so that they don’t realize that there is new food in the usual varieties.

Wet food for ferrets

Wet food not only brings variety, but can also be used as an excellent supplement to the ferret’s diet. Especially because of the great variety, wet food for ferrets should not be missing from the menu under any circumstances. However, when choosing the right wet food, you should make sure that it does not contain any attractants. Sugar, coloring and preservatives must also not be included. In addition, the so-called meat substitutes, such as soy, are not at all suitable for these small predators. Ultimately, this means that the wet food should be of particularly high quality, which of course is also more expensive than the cheaper versions. In addition, you can also switch between the types of wet food, which will also be appreciated by the ferrets. Furthermore, the diet should not only consist of wet food. If you only rely on commercially available wet food for cats, this can have health consequences for the little predators.

This wet food is particularly suitable for your ferrets:

  • Hills wet food;
  • Wet food from Animonda Carny;
  • Fernando Ferrets wet food;
  • Kennel Nutrition’s Ferret wet food;
  • Prestige Duo Ferret wet food.

Dry food for ferrets

Yes, you read that right, ferrets also love dry food. A few years ago, dry food for cats or dogs was used here. That no longer has to be the case. There are now various suppliers, especially online, who also have special dry ferret food in their range. This is tailored to the special needs of the cute goblins and thus covers the need for vitamins, minerals and Co. Dry food for ferrets has the advantage that it is particularly easy to store and also lasts a long time. Even feeding and dosing are very easy with dry food.

It is best to ensure that the ferrets have constant access to their dry food. However, you must ensure that the animals are provided with fresh water throughout the day. This is because the dry ferret food contains very little moisture, which the animals now have to compensate for. In addition, you should not give your ferrets too much dry food. If, on the other hand, the animals do not drink enough, kidney problems can quickly develop. Furthermore, you should never rely exclusively on dry food. In addition, numerous vitamins and nutrients can only be found in fresh feed.

This dry food is particularly suitable for your ferrets:

  • Ferret4you dry food;
  • Ferret Complete dry food;
  • TotallyFerret dry food;
  • Chudley’s Ferret dry food;
  • Chudley’s Ferret dry food.

Fish, fresh meat, and feed animals

Of course, not only dry food or wet food should be on the menu for ferrets. It is best if the little robbers mainly get fresh meat. With the exception of pork, all types of meat are suitable for ferrets. In addition, you can even give the animals meat with bones, some of which are even eaten. That’s a good thing and not dangerous. Bones are high in calcium, phosphorus, and minerals, making them healthy for ferrets.

However, only meat is not correct either. A combination of fresh meat and feed animals would be best. You should also divide the meat into several small portions and distribute them throughout the day. This has to do with the short digestion time of the animals, which, as mentioned, is only three to four hours. Ferrets get hungry faster than other animals.

A typical daily requirement should be 100-150 grams per ferret, although it can be a little more in winter, around 200 grams. Ferret puppies can also be given more meat while they are growing, as they are growing. It is particularly important to pay attention to a balanced diet.

The detoxification organs such as the liver and kidneys should never be fed. Furthermore, pork is not good for the little predators, both raw and cooked. Pork can lead to notifiable Aujeszky’s disease. When feeding phosphorus-rich organs, which include heart and muscle meat, it is important to give your ferrets extra calcium.

This meat is particularly suitable for your ferrets:

  • Beef (heart or generally beef);
  • Poultry meat (stomach, neck, chicken hearts);
  • Wild;
  • rabbit meat.

Fish is also well received by the ferrets and may be given from time to time. However, you have to make sure that it is a type of fish that does not contain the enzyme thiaminase. This enzyme has the property of destroying vitamin B, which naturally promotes deficiency symptoms. Ferrets can become seriously ill from this over the long term.

This fish is particularly good for your ferrets:

  • Tuna;
  • Pangasius.

As long as you really want to keep your ferret species-appropriate, food animals also come into play. Even if this may take some getting used to, it is more important for the animals than you might think. On the Internet and in pet shops you can now get a particularly large selection of feed animals, so that they can be bought without any problems. Don’t be surprised if the food animals are not swallowed directly. Many ferrets play with dead animals first, meaning they toss or carry them around before eating them. Which, by the way, is also a typical behavior of cats.

These feeders are especially good for your ferrets:

  • mice;
  • rats;
  • day-old chick;
  • guards;
  • pigeons;
  • Rabbits;
  • hamster.

Treats and supplements for ferrets

Ferrets are one of those animals that have a mind of their own and are very difficult to train as such. Small treats are excellent and are a good tool. Rice, corn or boiled potatoes are particularly irresistible for ferrets. When cooking potatoes, you should of course avoid salt and other spices. Eggs are also in high demand, although they should only get the yolk.

Egg whites contain avidin, which has the property of destroying the important biotin. If you want to give your ferrets some cat milk, it should be lactose-free or at least low in lactose. If you like, you can also give your loved ones some cheese or a little quark from time to time. However, please only in small quantities. With dairy products, it can happen that the little fur noses get diarrhea as long as they are not used to it. So start very slowly and in really very small amounts.

While your ferrets are moulting, it is very important that you offer them supplements. Now you can mix some cod liver oil or safflower oil into the feed. Murnil powder or tablets can also help and ensure a shiny and dandruff-free coat.

While ferrets love fruit, it should not be on the daily menu, and if only in very small amounts. The digestive system of the animals is not adapted to such a diet, which can quickly lead to abdominal pain and diarrhea.

These fruits are especially good for your ferrets:

  • melon;
  • grapes;
  • banana;
  • Paprika (I prefer the green ones because they contain less sugar);
  • cucumber.

If you are looking for bribes, for example, to break the ice between you and the animals, pies are the first choice. Whether it’s vitamin pies, malt, or cheese pies, your ferrets will love these products. You can buy them either at pet stores or online. They are suitable both as a reward and as a means of pressure. Ferrets love pies, and most animals would do just about anything for them. Of course, you can also take advantage of this. Especially when it comes to the vet when the animals need medication or to care for ferrets.

These pastes are particularly good for your ferrets:

  • Nutri Cal;
  • Calo Pet;
  • Gimpet Multi-Vitamin Paste.

Feeding tips for ferrets

Ferrets love variety and need it to be happy and content. Of course, this does not only apply to setting up the enclosure or ensuring that the animals are kept at least in pairs. The diet of ferrets must also be varied. Due to the fact that ferrets eat two to three meals a day, you can vary them directly. For example, you can give fresh meat one time, a feed animal the next time, and finally some dry food. On the following day, for example, the dry food could be replaced by wet food.

In addition, the animals are also happy when the food brand and type of food is changed from time to time. In addition, you can use feeding to keep the animals busy, which is a particularly important point when keeping ferrets. For example, you can pass the dry food in a small food ball that loses the food when playing.

Of course, the freshwater should not be missing either. However, do not offer fresh water in sipping bottles, but in open bowls. Otherwise, it can happen that the animals do not drink enough. This is because it takes a lot of effort to work out every sip from the bottle, which the animals only really want to eat when they are very thirsty.

Always remove any leftover food immediately, as there is a risk that it will spoil quickly. If your pets eat the spoiled food, they can get sick. Gastrointestinal diseases can quickly become dangerous for the little predators and even lead to the death of your pet. For this reason, please always look carefully, which also includes the favorite hiding places of the animals. Because ferrets often don’t eat everything up, but also like to bunker the food from time to time.


Feeding ferrets is not an easy task, but it should always be done with care. Ensure not only a varied diet, but also a high-quality diet. The animals should be supplied with all the important vitamins, minerals, and trace elements every day.

You can also give small treats in between, but of course, you shouldn’t overdo it. If you reach for high-quality food, don’t keep your ferrets alone, offer them plenty of space and playtime fun, then you will spend wonderful moments with your treasures and make sure that they lack for nothing.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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