Ferrets are obligate carnivores, which means that they can’t really eat anything else but meat. More than that, the meat needs to be high-quality, raw, and they often love live prey. To be more specific, you’ll need to make sure the meat your ferret eats contains between 32% and 36% protein and around 18% fat.
When it comes to drinking, ferrets should only drink clean and fresh water. And while they absolutely love milk and other milk-based foods, you should keep them as far away from them as possible. It’s almost as bad as giving them chocolate, which is something that should never happen.
Can ferrets drink milk?
Ferrets lack the lactase enzyme, which means that they are basically lactose intolerant. And if you’re wondering how they can live on their mother’s milk while being young, the answer is that they get more and more intolerant to milk as they grow older. This is why you need to stop letting them drink milk from their mother as soon as they can eat normal ferret food.
Just a spoon of cow milk can cause serious discomfort and more than that can easily end in diarrhea and a fast trip to the vet. Avoid eating milk in the same room as them because they will use their best begging methods to convince you they can totally drink that milk. But you should be responsible and avoid letting them drink milk no matter what.
But don’t worry, if you’re away from the bowl for a second and a ferret manages to take a taste it doesn’t mean it’s going to die. It will have a slight tummy pain that you might not even notice. This is because it takes a lot more than tummy pain to stop these mischievous creatures in their tracks.
However, if the ferret drinks a considerable amount, like more than 2-3 spoons, or worse, almost a whole bowl, you should immediately run to the vet. A few spoons won’t be very dangerous but half a small bowl or more definitely will.
The fact that a little bit of milk won’t cause too much harm doesn’t mean that you can use it as a treat every week or so. Just don’t give your ferret milk no matter how much you or the ferret want. It’s very irresponsible to feed your pet food that it likes while knowing how much harm it can cause. No matter how smart a ferret seems, it’s still an animal and you need to think about what’s right for it.
How about other dairy products, like cheese?
If your ferret can’t drink milk, it also means that it can’t eat anything that has milk in it. This includes ice-cream and cheese as well. These little carnivores just aren’t equipped with the proper digestive system to deal with dairy proteins. They will end up having problems digesting them, which can cause various other problems.
Many people are under the impression that animals need the same variety of food as we do. This is why we often mess up our dog’s diet with food that they like instead of feeding them what they need. And we often keep doing it to ferrets as well. They should only eat meat or specially-processed kibble that is made for them.
Animals don’t need three different courses and desert. All they need is to get the nutrients they need to maintain a healthy body. And most of the time, what they like can be very harmful to their bodies.
Soy milk and ferrets, is it OK?
By switching the cow milk with soy milk you do nothing but change the protein from diary to plant. And again, ferrets can only digest meat proteins. This is why you should never feed lots of fruits and vegetables to your little pet. And soy milk is just as bad.
Ferrets are incredibly active and keeping them in place for more than a few minutes is almost impossible. And since grooming can take quite some time, owners resort to feeding them dangerous foods that they like just to keep them in place.
This is why any ferret owner should have a bottle of salmon oil around. They absolutely love it and it can keep the ferret occupied while you’re clipping its nails or brushing its coat. There are various ferret-safe options you can use to keep your ferret busy, so you don’t have to resort to milk and other dangerous foods.
You can also try various types of meat and when you find one that your ferret absolutely loves, you can stop using it as regular food and start using it as a treat. Just make sure you’re taking the number of treats you’re giving it into consideration when feeding time comes.