Ferrets are masters of fun. It is truly a joy to watch them willingly explore any object, often with energized antics that quickly turn an ordinary afternoon into an adventure. But while you may be tempted to reward your ferret for the delight and pleasure he brings to your life, consider his dietary needs before you offer any treat. Ferrets have a unique digestive system; therefore, their nutritional needs are different from those of other similar-sized animals. Be careful that the treats you offer do not compromise his diet and overall health.
Your Ferret's Anatomy Dictates His Diet
Instead, your ferret's diet should be dictated by his anatomical design. Ferrets have short intestinal tracts. Therefore, food moves through quickly without as much time to be worked on by the digestive enzymes and bacteria. This physiology limits both the amount of food they can digest in one meal and the amount of nutrients they can absorb from that single meal. Ferrets require a diet higher in protein than most animals. Therefore, ferrets need a concentrated diet, rich in protein with a mix of fats and low amounts of carbohydrates (such as sugars and starches). The treats you offer your ferret, if any, should follow the same dietary guidelines.
The Truth About Ferret Treats
Health Problems From Inappropriate Treats
In addition, too much of any treat can quickly lead to malnutrition. Ferrets are very small animals; therefore, only a few treats can quickly add up to a large portion of their food intake for the day. Ferrets also have a tendency to become so passionately fond of certain flavors that they won't eat anything else. By rule, the total amount of dietary supplements and treats should not be more than 10% of your ferret's daily caloric intake.
Suitable Ferret Treats
Suitable ferret treats include:
Keep in mind, however, that even the best treats are not substitutes for what your ferret really craves - your attention. It is easy to overfeed your ferret with treats. After all, each ferret is a cute companion who seems to be continually after our hearts. But informed decisions need to be made about the treats you offer. Also, a strict schedule that limits the amount of treats offered daily should be followed. By doing so, you can reward your pet without compromise to his health. In turn, your ferret's life can be long and healthy, which is the greatest treat of all - for both you and him.