As obligate carnivores, Ferrets can only eat meat and whole prey. This means chunks of various types of meat or little rodents and birds that they can eat whole, along with the bones, intestines, feathers, fur, etc. But when it comes to vegetables, they need to be kept away from them unless your vet says otherwise.
When your ferret is recommended to eat vegetables, it’s important to follow your vet’s instructions thoroughly. Otherwise, your furry little friend might develop various diseases. Ferrets might even love some types of vegetables but they can’t process the food and will cause them unnecessary pain.
Typically, your vet will recommend using the vegetables as treats. In this article, we’ll talk more about how can vegetables, which are so healthy for us, actually affect your ferret’s health and even kill it.
Can Ferrets Eat Vegetables? What Kind Would Work As Treats?
Any expert will tell you to maintain a carnivore’s diet for your ferret as fruits and vegetables can cause serious health issues for them. There are very few instances where you can feed your ferret some vegetables, but they’re very rare and you need to talk to a vet that’s an expert in ferrets about it.
Ferrets that have Scurvy, which means your ferret lacks vitamin C and can’t produce it on their own, will need to eat some vegetables that are “ferret-safe”. This doesn’t mean that these foods are great for your ferret. It only means they are the easiest to digest and allow them to take the needed vitamins without causing other problems.
These foods are potatoes (not sweet potatoes), mushrooms, squash, cauliflower, unseeded peppers, carrots, broccoli, and tomato salsa. However, all these vegetables need to be boiled very well and mashed into a puree. You should never give whole and raw vegetables to your little furry pet.
The vegetable puree needs to be mixed with lots and lots of chunks of meat, and only then offered to your ferret once a week in small quantities. This will ensure that your ferret gets all the vitamins it needs without having to worry about developing any diseases. However, you should always keep up with all the vet checkups.
Another thing your vet might recommend for your ferret with scurvy is to use a bit of chopped green peppers every day. If scurvy stops your ferret from being active and playful, green peppers can help lessen its effects. It’s recommended to add it to their ferret pellets.
But if your ferret is 100% healthy, there’s no need to risk their health just because they might get curious about other foods. While fruits and vegetables are extremely healthy for us, the same fruits and vegetables might kill your ferret if fed in abundance.
It’s important to follow the vet’s recommendations and only feed vegetables to your ferrets as weekly treats when they absolutely need them.
Are Fruits Better For Ferrets?
Sadly, fruits and foods that contain complex carbohydrates, sugar, fiber, or are dairy-based are just as bad for ferrets. And if you feed them the wrong type of food they can develop all kinds of diseases. Ferrets need high-quality ferret food that’s meat-based. This will keep them healthy and happy.
Ferrets don’t have the blind pouch that’s placed at the beginning of the large intestine and where the small intestine opens, which is called a cecum. This is a very important gland that helps with the production of bacteria/microorganisms that are capable of digesting all those complex carbohydrates.
Fruits contain lots of unnecessary sugars which can be very bad for a ferret’s teeth and overall health. This is why the rule of the thumb when it comes to keeping a ferret healthy is avoiding anything that is not meat while also avoiding fish. You should rather use chicken chunks as treats.
If your vet recommends starting feeding a few small chunks of fruit a week, you might be able to feed your ferret apple, melon, and maybe a bit of banana. You should be careful of the sugar these fruits contains and never feed them more than your vet suggested.
You might have to mix a small piece of fruit in the mashed vegetable meal and feed everything at once, but never more often than once a week. Asking a vet that doesn’t specialize in ferrets about their dietary needs might not be a good idea. You should always have a ferret vet, even if you have to drive a bit further away.
Possible Health Issues If You Feed Ferrets Vegetables
If you feed your ferret foods that have lots of complex carbohydrates, they might develop an excessive production of glucose in their blood. This will quickly lead to insulinoma, which is a rare beta-cell cancer that develops in the pancreas. These foods are usually fruits.
You should also keep your ferret extremely far away from oranges, grapefruit, limes, and other fruits that are known to cause acids. This will create a very disturbing situation inside your ferret’s stomach and you might even have to run to the vet.
Vegetables are sadly very bad as well as they contain vegetable protein that can’t be digested either. If you keep feeding them veggies they will develop various other diseases as well. This includes fertility issues, skin ulcerations, gastroenteritis, bladder stones (especially from peas), etc.
The sugar from fruits can cause bad problems for their teeth as well. The accumulation of plant-based protein can cause urinary tract stones. They’re made of Calcium oxalate and can be found in raw leaves, fleshy fruits, various vegetables, and even grains. Some poor-quality dog and cat foods also contain plant-based foods.
It’s best to avoid oranges, limes, grapefruit, apples, bananas, lentils, lima beans, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, pears, pinto, pigeon beans, spinach, dates, guava, broccoli, figs, kiwis, plums, onions, sweet potatoes, grapes, dried raisins, etc. Don’t feed your ferret these foods unless your vet recommends otherwise.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What veggies can Ferrets eat?
If your ferret has Scurvy, your vet might recommend boiled and mashed mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, squash, carrots, unseeded peppers, and tomato salsa, mixed with some meat chunks, but only once a week.
Can ferrets eat lettuce?
Ferrets shouldn’t eat lettuce as it doesn’t have anything that could benefit their health and could actually cause indigestion.
Can ferrets eat carrots?
Ferrets should not eat anything else but meat unless the vet recommends it. Carrots shouldn’t be fed as a treat either.
Are peas bad for ferrets?
Peas are very bad for ferrets and should never be included in their diet. They can cause bladder stones.