Despite the fact that ferrets are often compared to cats, their dietary needs are different. While wet kitten food is somewhat acceptable in case there’s an emergency, but ferrets need food that’s been specifically made for them. And if you can’t afford the high-end quality kibble, then it’s better to switch them to raw food.
While it’s OK to experiment with the food, you should only stay within the ferret-approved foods. This includes keeping your ferret as far away as possible from cheese and other milk-based foods, even if it’s soy milk. Ferrets are obligate carnivores and anything that’s not meat is not ideal for them.
Can Ferrets Eat Cheese? Other Dairy Products?
Ferrets need to avoid cheese at all costs. And you’re the one that has to make sure there’s no way for the ferret to reach to any unhealthy foods for them, which is basically everything that isn’t cheese. Ferrets love cheese and will do their best to convince you to give them some if they see you eating. But they love lots of foods that can be extremely harmful to them.
If you dropped a piece of cheese and your ferret was quicker than you, there’s no need to panic. Small pieces will only cause a bit of tummy pain as the cheese takes a bit of time to get out. The smell of the poop will also worsen a lot and you’ll have to keep cleaning the litter every time the ferret goes to the bathroom.
Ferrets are masters of mischief, which means that you should never underestimate their abilities to get themselves into the most ridiculous situations. This also means they can easily get to the cheese if you don’t store it properly.
If the ferret manages to eat a bit more cheese, keep an eye on it for at least two days. The moment something seems very wrong you should go to the vet. If the damage is not too bad, they will continue to eat and drink like always. But if they refuse to drink water and don’t eat so eagerly anymore, it’s recommended to call your vet.
And if the ferret somehow manages to steal and eat a lot of cheese, you shouldn’t even wait to see what will happen. Take it to the vet and leave it, there under professional observation for two or three days.
Is Milk OK?
Cheese is not the only thing that you should store carefully. Milk should also be stored away properly and never left around in a room where ferrets can easily escape into. It’s also recommended to not even drink milk or eat your cereal around them. Their noses are very sharp and they will immediately jump on you or start rattling the cage. Many ferrets end up with chipped teeth because of trying to break out of a cage.
Kits (young ferrets) drink milk from their mother until they’re capable of eating on their own. And this might confuse a lot of people. But as ferrets grow, they become more and more lactose intolerant. They are simply incapable of digesting it and they can end up with various health problems if they drink it on regular basis.
Some people are looking for the most creative ways to keep the ferret busy during the grooming process. This is why it’s a must for any ferret owner to have a salmon-oil bottle in the house at all times. All you have to do is put a little bit on your finger or its tummy and let it lick it while you’re brushing its coat or cutting its nails.
If you’re completely out of salmon oil, you can chop a few pieces of raw or cooked chicken, turkey, or duck and use it in the same way. But whatever you do, keep the poor little furry creature away from milk.
Effect on the ferret’s digestion
Ferrets lack the proper digestive glands that can help them digest milk and other dairy products. This means that they can easily get a blockage in their digestive system, which can cause a lot of pain. You need to rush to the vet when you notice that the ferret is in pain, doesn’t drink, sleep, or eat.
Many people think that if the ferret seems OK then it’s clearly nothing wrong with it. But ferrets can’t communicate with us too well and they’re also very active creatures. An easy pain won’t stop them from playing and being their usual mischievous self.
With time, the problems keep building up and you will start asking yourself where did all these health problems come from. It’s very important to not experiment with human food as there are lots of ferret-safe and healthy foods you can try.