Vegetables are very healthy for humans as they contain lots of nutrition we need. However, ferrets are obligate carnivores, which means their bodies are specifically built to be able to absorb nutrients only from meat. They’re just simply incapable of benefiting from any of the nutritions that the vegetables can provide.
However, in extreme cases, there are situations where you will need to incorporate a few vegetables or use supplements. In this article, we’ll talk about what these situations are and what vegetables are acceptable in extreme cases.
Can ferrets eat tomatoes?
A healthy ferret has no reason to eat tomatoes as they offer no benefits. More than that, they can create some serious digestive blockages and put the ferret through a lot of pain. These creatures should only be fed a raw diet that contains meat and a few raw bones here and there. Whole prey is also a must. And if you want a second option, you can opt for high-end quality kibble that is specifically made for ferrets.
The only time ferrets might be recommended to eat tomatoes is when they have Scurvy. But this is something that you should speak very carefully with your vet and follow the instructions properly. And the ferret will have to eat tomato salsa, not whole slices or chunks. The tomato salsa needs to be very smooth so the ferret will digest it as easily as possible.
Scurvy is a disease that is caused by the lack of Vitamin C. This is a vitamin that is very helpful at boosting their immune system. But since they’re not capable of producing their own Vitamin C, you will need to start giving your ferret supplements as per your vet’s prescription.
If your ferret is healthy, you should only feed it raw or cooked meat and kibble. You should be very careful about the kibble you buy for your ferret as some of them are made from extremely disgusting things and simply colored to make them more attractive to you. There are still many manufacturers that know what your ferret needs and can meet all the dietary requirements.
And if you’re going with a raw diet, make sure the occasional whole prey is not missing. From time to time your ferret will need to eat a complete rodent from start to finish. Raw bones are also recommended for keeping their teeth clean and healthy. Otherwise, you will have to wash their teeth almost daily.
Are other vegetables and fruits OK?
If your ferret has Scurvy, there are some other vegetables accepted as well, besides tomato salsa. This includes potatoes, mushrooms, cauliflower, squash, carrots, unseeded peppers, and broccoli. These vegetables are considered somewhat “ferret-safe” but they should never be fed as their main meal.
It’s highly recommended to make sure all the vegetables are boiled and made into a puree. This will ensure that your sick ferret won’t be in a lot of pain while the vegetables are being digested. And if the disease is so bad that the ferret can’t enjoy being active and playful anymore, you can add some chopped green peppers as well.
The green peppers need to be chopped very finely and added to their pallets. It’s a great way to lessen the effect of Scurvy and you only need to feed your ferret a small amount, once a day. It might take a few days but it can really make a difference for a very sick ferret.
Since these creatures don’t have the needed digestive system to deal with complex carbohydrates and fiber, vegetables and fruits are never on their menu. But in certain situations and in very small amounts, vegetables and fruits are acceptable. Fruits can be very dangerous in high amounts as some have lots of acids and most of them have lots of sugar, which is harmful to ferrets.
If you really want to use a few fruits as treats, you can use apples, melons, and bananas. But they should be chopped very well or sliced into very thin pieces. And to ensure that the ferret will be able to deal with the fruits without harming itself, the fruits should be made into home-made juice. One tablespoon of good fruit juice a week is more than enough.
Remember to keep your ferret away from oranges, limes, grapes, grapefruit, lemons, and other similar fruits. If they manage to eat a small piece when you’re looking away keep an eye on it for up to two days. If it eats a very big piece or you notice that something is wrong, you should rush to the vet. And if you can’t figure out how much it ate, going to the vet is the safest option.