The topic of portion control, overeating, and combating obesity in pets, will come out regularly, regardless of the kind of pet you have. It’s true of ferrets as well, they can overeat, and will gain weight as a result, especially if they don’t get enough exercise.
There are certain strategies that one can take, to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore, and we will briefly touch on them in our article.
Can Ferrets Overeat? Can you over feed a ferret?
Yes, ferrets can overeat. It’s not true of most of them, but it can happen if you leave food out all the time, which is actually something that many recommend.
The reason why food is generally recommended to always be available, is the short digestive system of the ferret. Due to it, a ferret will eat at 3-4 hour intervals, so it’s easier to just leave food out, rather than remembering to do it so often.
As for the quantity of food that you can give a ferret, it varies depending on the weight, but also on the time in its life (if it’s still growing, or preparing for winter) and on the amount of exercise it does. More on this below.
How do you stop a ferret from overeating?
If your ferret overeats, and has gained weight as a result, then you should first see what you can do to improve its diet. Take away fatty treats, sugary content, and in general try to cut down on the calories.
While generally I’d say that you can leave food out at all times, when a ferret is overweight you can switch to feeding him at fixed times throughout the day. Leave the food out for a certain amount of time, and then remove it if he hasn’t eaten it.
While we’re on the subject of obesity control, another easy step you can do is let the ferret exercise more. Let him out of the cage as often as possible, so that he can burn off calories.
How much should a ferret eat in a day?
A typical ferret will eat about 5 to 7% of its body weight each day. This could mean anywhere between 50 and 140 grams of food, for a ferret between 1 and 2 kg.
Adjust the quantity of food to the size of your ferret, and to its particular needs. Some will eat more than others, and those going through pregnancy or growth will need something extra.
Should ferrets have access to food all the time?
Due to the short digestive system of the ferret, it’s a good idea to leave some food out all the time. However, if you find that your ferret is gaining weight, then you can switch to a set time schedule, and if some food remains, remove it after a set time.
Usually though, if the food is of good quality, the ferret will eat only what they need, and shouldn’t get fat. Cut back on sweet treats or on fatty foods, if you find that they’re gaining weight. If that still doesn’t works, and the ferret overeats, you can change the feeding schedule.
One more thing. Leaving food out all the time generally means that you’re giving the ferret kibble. If it’s on a raw meat diet, and you’re giving him whole prey carcasses, then obviously I wouldn’t recommend you leave it out all the time. It will go bad and stink up the place, plus it’s not safe for the ferret either. A set schedule is a good idea for a raw meat diet.