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Nutrition in Ferrets: Essential Supplements


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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There are many ferret supplements and vitamins available to ferret owners, and it can be hard to know which products are necessary. The key to good nutrition starts with a high quality ferret food, but supplements can play an important part as well. There are skin and coat supplements, digestive supplements, high calorie supplements, multi-vitamins and more. Which vitamins or supplements should you give your ferret?

Skin & Coat Supplements

Ferret skin and coat supplements promote healthy skin and a lustrous coat. They can be offered as a treat or given as a daily supplement for ferrets who need skin and coat support. Skin and coat supplements are rich in fatty acids and essential vitamins. They can be mixed in with food or fed from a dish or your hand. They also serve as a helpful distraction when you need to clip your ferret's nails.

Some skin and coat supplements are:

Digestive Supplements

Digestive supplements fortify your ferret's diet and support digestive function. They can be used as a supplement to keep your ferret's digestive system running smoothly or may be helpful for ferrets with digestive problems such as Epizootic Catarrhal Enteritis (ECE), diarrhea, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). They are also helpful in providing a palatable supplement for older, geriatric ferrets to help them maintain or gain weight.

Digestive aids aren't just beneficial to promote healthy digestive function - they also promote a healthy skin and coat and boost the immune system.

Some digestive supplements are:

  • Nupro - all natural; source of protein, fatty acids, digestive enzymes, and more; contains no preservatives, sugar, corn, or fillers
  • Marshall Uncle Jim's Original Duk Soup Mix - all natural; source of protein, flaxseed oil, vitamins, minerals, and Lactobacillus acidophilus

High Calorie Supplements

While it is always important to keep high calorie supplements around, they are not something you want to use everyday. Most contain a high amount of sugar, which, in large amounts, is not healthy for ferrets. However, high calorie supplements can be very useful in stimulating your ferret's appetite when he is ill, recovering from surgery or if he's a picky eater. They are full of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, and can help your ferret receive the nutrients he needs if fed in conjunction with a quality high protein diet. They can be given by themselves, on food, or mixed into duck soup.

Never give a high calorie supplement to a ferret with insulinoma. Insulinomic ferrets need a diet that is high in protein and as sugar free as possible, and high calorie supplements contain more sugar than insulinomic ferrets should consume.

Some high calorie ferret supplements are:

Multi-vitamins

Ferret multi-vitamins can provide essential nutrients to support proper nutrition and growth. They provide an easy, effective solution for your ferret's general well-being. Many come in water-soluble forms that can be added directly to your ferret's drinking water each day. An example of a water-soluble vitamin is 8 in 1 FerretVite Vita-Sol Liquid Multi-Vitamin for Ferrets. It contains 11 important vitamins that ferrets need, including Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and more.

Which supplements does my ferret need?

You should always keep FerreTone or Furo-Tone around the house. It's a healthy treat, a great training reward, and the perfect distraction during grooming sessions. You can safely give your ferret an amount equal to the size of a quarter each day.

Digestive aids are good to keep around the house because you never know when your ferret may need them. Additionally, products like Nupro and Uncle Jim's Duk Soup should be given as a food/treat while your ferret is in good health so he recognizes them as food and eats them willingly when he's not feeling well.

Even though high calorie supplements should only be given occasionally, it's a good idea to have a tube on hand at all times. They work well in combination with high protein diets, as mentioned above, and can give an underweight or sickly ferret a much-needed boost. If your ferret has problems absorbing nutrients from his food or is not eating an ample amount of a high quality diet, a daily multi-vitamin can be very helpful in making sure your ferret gets all the vitamins he needs for proper health and nutrition.

Vitamins and supplements help keep your ferret's skin and coat, digestion, and overall health on the up and up. When you add the proper vitamin and mineral supplements in combination with your ferret's diet, you can rest assured that your pet is getting the nutrition he needs to thrive.

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