Ferret Diet Basics

Have you just purchased a ferret as your new pet? Are you considering adding one to your family? Read on as a Poway veterinarian discusses the basics of ferret nutrition.


Ferret pellets will make up the bulk of your pet’s diet. These are available at your local pet store or veterinarian’s office. The pellets are high in protein, which your ferret needs a lot of to support his active metabolism. Chicken or lamb should be the first ingredient listed on the bag.

Some ferrets will like small pieces of cooked chicken or lamb mixed in their pellet food. Try adding these if your ferret doesn’t seem to take to the pellets. In addition, ferrets are known to be rather fussy and may prefer one type of food over another. You may have to experiment with different types and brands to find the one your ferret likes best. Consult your veterinarian about the variations in ferret pellets and the technique for switching foods.


Ferrets will love the occasional treat of bits of cooked meat. Chicken, turkey, or lamb works best. In addition, small bits of fruits, green vegetables, or cooked egg whites make healthy snacks. Feed these items in moderation, though—too much of them can be a bad thing. Call your Poway veterinarian before trying a new treat of any sort to make sure it is safe.

What to Avoid

Never give your ferret grain products. Corn, rice, and cereal are all no-nos. Chocolate is harmful as well—keep it out of reach of your pet. Any foods high in sugar or carbohydrates should be avoided, as the ferret’s carnivorous digestive system has trouble processing such foods.

Most veterinarians don’t recommend free-feeding your ferret—that is, leaving food out at all times for your pet to eat as he pleases. Most ferrets work well with scheduled mealtimes. Ask your veterinarian for more information on this.


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