Ferret Nutrition: Your Pet Ferrets Nourishment Needs

To stay fit and healthy, your pet ferret nutrition must be composed of animal protein. Since ferrets are obligate carnivores and must be fed with exclusively meat-based food products, nourishing them could be easy but you still need to balance their intake to make sure the right amount of these nutrients are absorbed by their body.

Most ferret pet owners who are experienced in ferret nutrition would suggest feeding your pets often but in small amounts as these animals have fast metabolism and very short digestive tract. They must not be fed with vegetables or any plant-based food because they have very little capacity to digest fiber from these sources.

A ferret with an average size should be eating amount of food that is equal to at least 5% of its bodyweight (i.e. 50 – 70 grams of food if the ferret’s weight is 1 kilogram). This sometimes varies depending on their needs and age. A younger ferret may need to eat more in order to keep up with their growth needs, while a pregnant and lactating ferret need to eat more for the babies.

ferret tongue out ferret nutrition

Photo: Selbe Lynn |Flickr

The Kind of Nutrients for a Balanced Ferret Nutrition

• Essential proteins from meat

Ferret’s diet must have around 35% to 40% of protein. This is very important because the amino acids in the protein serves as their body’s building blocks that help manufacture blood cells, This is also the primary nutrients that aid in developing healthy muscles and bones. If your ferret is feeding on low protein food, they must eat more to compensate for the lack of required amounts of protein.

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• Fat

For ferrets, fat is an important nutrient that must be included in their diet. A minimum of 20% fat is needed in their daily food consumption. Young ferrets are very active and their growing body must have enough energy, same with pregnant and lactating ferrets. Aging ferrets will also need 15% to 20% of fat.
Fat from the food is the best source to provide them with the energy they need. Fat is a concentrated nutrient which is also highly digestible. Aside from the natural animal fats from their food, you can also provide your ferret with fatty acid supplements such as Ferretone and Linatone but if they are feeding enough fats from their food, providing supplement may not be necessary. Make sure to monitor their fat intake so that they will not grow obese.

• Carbohydrates

The carbohydrates from fiber is not recommended for your pet ferret but the ones derived from starch would be sufficient if starch is cooked properly. Cooked starch carbohydrates is highly soluble and could be well digested by your pet.

Carbohydrates, when combined with fatty acid will supply your ferret the energy it needs to perform daily activities and to become stronger and healthier.

• Vitamins

Vitamins help their body matabolize food intake as part of ferret nutrition. High quality ferret foods bought commercially are already formulated to contain all types of vitamins needed by your pet. These vitamins are the fat soluble ones such as Vitamin A, D3, and Vitamin E. These fat soluble vitamins must be taken in moderation because overfeeding foods or supplements rich with these vitamins can lead to toxicity.

Another important vitamins needed by your pet is Vitamin C and B vitamins that help fight diseases and build strong immune system. These vitamins are water soluble and can just be eliminated through urine when taken in large amounts than recommended. However, most animals are capable of producing Vitamin C in their bodies when needed. Adding some more of these vitamins is okay because it could help more in preventing ferret cancers and tumor growth.

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• Minerals

The two forms of minerals are helpful for your ferret’s overall health. The first form which is the macrominerals can be provided in large amounts as these minerals are essential for strong muscles and bones and also help in the proper absorption and release of your ferret’s body fluids. These minerals include calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, sulfur, and phosphorous.

The other form of mineral which is the micromineral must be given only in small amounts. These are zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and manganese. Over intake of these minerals can poison your ferret. Premium ferret foods already contain the recommended dose of this mineral so no need to buy supplements for this type.

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