The ferret is by nature a meat-eater with a high need for animal protein and fat. Though it can adapt to eating almost anything it has no capacity for gaining nutrition from any plant life what so ever. You should not give in to a ferret’s desire to eat other than meats or recommended foods and meat proteins, which will be discussed here at length.
No processed food for ferrets is exactly what they should have by any means though many are close enough just as many cat foods will do quite nicely. Dog foods however do not provide adequate nutrition that is digestible for ferrets. If you are going to serve your fuzzy family member a constant diet of processed food, look for these telltale combinations.
The foods should be as close to 37% protein as possible and a little bit less than that rather than a little bit more. Your ferret will benefit from mixing two or three food types in odd combinations from time to time to liven things up, as long as other nutritional values are met.
Fat levels should (surprisingly) stay around 20% throughout the ferret’s life. The ferret also requires plenty of fresh, clean drinking water throughout the day as well as fresh food throughout the day. He or she has a very quick metabolism.
Note that ferrets can and do eat fresh meat too though not everyone can afford to love their pets quite that much. You should however avoid fish in their diets for many reasons. At least make sure the predominant ingredient in the processed food you do serve your ferret is a non-fish, meat. Avoid much of any corn if possible (it is often part of processed foods but there should be little of it in what you serve your ferret). Have a couple of processed food options for the ferret.
Make sure that an ingredient called Taurine is present in the processed food. This is an essential element for ferret survival. It is always found in acceptable cat foods.
Ferrets are unfortunately high maintenance animals where their food is concerned. They eat and drink often and at the same time play in and make a mess of their food often. Someone in the household with have to have opportunity to check on their food and water at least every few hours. These are all-important considerations before even buying a ferret.
If acquire your ferret at birth introduce as many different (reasonable) food types as possible. Like many young animals that imprint on their parents and follow them indefinitely, young ferrets determine acceptable and unacceptable foods in the same way early in life.
Though a ferret like a dog will eat about anything it is given, there are many things it should never eat. Like a human diet, don’t serve it (let it eat) any bones, too many sweets, or too many fruits or vegetables. These things may pass through but are no benefit and some or much harm can come to your ferret at a prolonged diet of these items.
Ferrets have various digestive related issues from hairballs to diarrhea. If they have been sick they can also use special diets. Consult the veterinarian in these matters before you own a ferret. There are also periodic supplements for his fur coat, dry skin and other issues you will need to be aware of.
Being prone to stomach upset it is not advisable to experiment with a ferret’s diet with human foods that are highly seasoned or where the outcome is unpredictable. A great example of what not to serve them is chilly, not even cold. Heated foods when still hot are not what I would recommend in any case. A temperature at which you should eat something is not necessarily a temperature at which a ferret should eat it, if they should have it at all.
There are however unique recipes that you may not like at all which your ferret will love. Much like a bodybuilder’s protein shake, there are ferret mixtures that are especially nutritious for their little furry fitness. Around 50/50 chicken broth (genuine, unprocessed, and no salt) and a good, early stage cat food is good for many things that ail a failing ferret. Search carefully for just the right expert recipe at the time of any serious health issues. Don’t be surprised to find that some combination of processed supplements recommended for the very young or old human being will also fit into the recipe somewhere.
You should know that your ferret could be subject to many maladies that humans are. It can be stressed out, dehydrated, suffer from all sorts of ailments and generally need close watching and loving, tender diet centered care when it has been sick.
If you haven’t guessed, your local pet store or another store with pet foods and your vet are great places to find foods and recommendations for foods suitable for a ferret.