How to pick the best kibble for ferrets?
What are the things you need to know?
A happy and energetic ferret is a healthy one. The best way to give your ferret what he needs is to provide him a healthy environment. The most important part of a healthy environment is a proper diet. That is why today I want to share with you how to pick the best ferret kibble, what makes some kibble good for the ferret, and what kibble is forbidden to give to ferrets.
What Should Ferrets Eat?
Ferrets are obligated carnivores which means the best diet for them consists of meat, bones, and organs or a whole prey diet that consists of small animals like rats, mice, quails, etc. Kibble is not their natural diet, but there are some kibbles on the market that are good for them. If you are not in a condition to provide your ferret a raw meat diet, then you have to provide him the best possible alternative in the shape of the best ferret kibble.
What Kibble Should Ferret Eat?
You can give your ferret a high-quality ferret kibble or a high-quality cat kibble. Cats have similar nutrition requirements as ferrets so their kibble is a good match sometimes even better than ferret kibble. Dog’s kibble is not good because it has more vegetables and fruit than allowed.
Differences In Good And Bad Kibble
Keeping a good ferret diet is very important and you can see differences in your ferret’s body and behavior when you switch from bad to good kibble. A ferret fed on bad kibble will be smaller, thinner, and lacking energy. A ferret on high-quality kibble will have shiny and fluffy fur, he will be an energetic little bomb and will love to run around exploring your home.
Combine Two Kibble Types
Ferrets are known to “imprint” on some food, meaning they won’t eat anything else. That is why most ferret owners combine two or even three kibble types from different brands. That way your ferret will still eat good kibble, even if some of them become discontinued for some unknown reason. If that happens, you will still have kibble your ferret wants to eat. Also, you can slowly introduce another kibble that will eventually replace the one you don’t use anymore.
How To Choose The Best Kibble For Ferrets?
Choosing the right ferret kibble means choosing the one that comes with a good amount of protein, fat, and every other nutrient a ferret needs. I will highlight good amounts of each nutrient so you can choose a good kibble based on the percentage and the type of nutrient.
Read The Ingredients
Everything you need to know about any kibble should be listed on the back of the package. There is a list of ingredients and you should use that as a guide to determine if a food you want is good food for your ferret. Make sure to observe the entire list so you can come to a conclusion and decide on the kibble.
High Percentage Of Animal Protein (30-40%)
Since ferrets are carnivores, the most important part of good ferret kibble should be animal protein. A good ferret kibble should have 30-40% of animal protein. Most high-quality kibble you can give to your ferrets has the first 3 spots in the ingredient’s list animals like chicken, duck, turkey, beef, etc. Under no circumstances should those spots be filled with vegetables or fruit.
High Percentage Of Fat (20-30%)
Fat is another important part of a healthy ferret diet, and, like protein, it should be animal-based. A good value for fat is around 20-30% for ferret kibble. One of the most common types of fat used in kibble is chicken fat and it should be high on the list of ingredients, almost below the animal proteins. It can also be located in the 3rd place on the ingredient list.
Low In Carbohydrates And Fibers (less than 3%)
Due to the special ferret’s metabolism, they can’t digest fibers and that is why fibers should be on the bottom of the list. Their metabolism is too quick for them which leads to many health problems in the future. Lack of digestion can cause constipation, bladder stones, gastroenteritis, and many other health complications.
Besides the fact that they can’t digest it, ferrets can’t control it also. That means it can affect the glucose in their blood, make it higher than normal. That situation causes insulinoma, a cancer of the beta cells in the pancreas.
Best Kibble For Ferrets: Recommendations
Ferret Epigen 90 by Wysong
Wysong is known as a high-quality brand for both cats and ferrets. They have one of the highest protein percentages on the market with 62%. Their fat percentage is slightly lower than recommended with 18%, but it is still pretty OK. If you check out the list of ingredients, you will see that the first three ingredients are animals – chicken meal, organic chicken, and meat protein isolate (pork). The fiber percentage is 3%, as it should be. Also, they claim to be grain-free kibble which is very important for ferret digestion.
Ferret Epigen 90 Digestive Support by Wysong
This kibble is actually similar to the Epigen 90 I mentioned above. The animal protein is around 62%, but the fat percentage is lower and it is 16%. Also, it has a higher fiber percentage – 5%. But, it is still pretty good kibble with the first three ingredients chicken meal, organic chicken, and chicken fat. Just like the kibble above, this one also claims to be grain-free.
Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe With Real Duck by Instinct
The third ferret kibble also comes with a good protein and fat percentage, but it has one big downside and that is peas. The protein is 41%, fat is 22% and fiber is only 4%, which is good. The first 3 ingredients are duck, turkey meal, and chicken meal, which is good. But, peas are very high on the list (6th place) and that is not ideal considering it can cause bladder stones in ferrets.
Carnivore Chicken, Turkey + Duck Recipe Cat Food by Go!
This kibble made by Go! has 46% of animal protein in the ingredients, which is pretty good. 18% of fat is a slightly lower, but still OK amount. This kibble is one of the few that has less than 3% of fiber. It has only 1,5% which is pretty good. If we take a look at the ingredients list, we will see a chicken meal, deboned chicken, and de-boned turkey on the first three spots.
Regional Red Cat Food by Orijen
Orijen is another good brand of kibbles for ferrets. Their animal protein percentage is 40% and fats are 20%, which is pretty good. Fiber percentage is the average one so no surprises there – 3%. If you check out the ingredients, you will notice that the first three spots are reserved for deboned beef, deboned wild boar, and deboned goat so we can agree that this seems a rather strong kibble. I wouldn’t recommend it for ferrets with upset stomachs, chicken is a better choice for them.
DISCLAIMER: These are our recommendations, we aren’t part of the Amazon Affiliate program. We don’t receive any compensation if you click on the link or buy this product.
What Is Bad Ferret Kibble?
A bad ferret kibble is almost every cheap kibble for cats and ferrets you can find on the market. Cheap kibble doesn’t have many animal nutrients since they are more expensive to process so they require a bigger price. Also, every kibble that has a drawing or an image of vegetables and fruit on the package is a big no-no for ferrets. There should be a minimal amount of fruits and vegetables in them.
Avoid Kibble With…
If you notice that kibble has peas, corn, soy, apple, pears, almost every vegetable or fruit. It is known that peas cause bladder stones which have proven to be fatal to numerous ferrets and that is why you should avoid it at all costs. You can read more about it in my post What can ferret eat?
Avoid Dog Kibble
Dog kibble is not good enough because it is too low in protein and fat. Also, if you check out most dog’s kibble, you will notice that their vegetable/fruit percentage is much higher than ones made for cats or ferrets. That is because dogs can digest it, although it is not the best option for them also.
How To Switch One Kibble With The Other?
If you want to switch your ferret to a different kibble, or you want to introduce another one to the diet, you should do it gradually. There is a chance you will cause digestive problems if you switch your ferret’s diet at once. So, have patience and let your ferret accept and adjust to a new taste.
When you decide to introduce another kibble, make sure you do it in small amounts. For the first week put only 25% of it in the food bowl with the old kibble. Make sure your ferret eats it, not only old kibble. If your ferret eats the new one, then after a few days put a higher amount of new and smaller amount of old kibble in the bowl. Every few days put a bigger and bigger amount of new and remove the old one until you completely replace the old kibble with the new one.
Photo Source: Taste Of The Wild
If your ferret doesn’t want to eat the new kibble, don’t despair. Give him time. As I have already mentioned, ferrets can imprint a particular type of food, which means they don’t want to eat anything else. That means you might have to introduce a new kibble for a longer period that can last up to a couple of months. Just remember it is for their own good and doesn’t give up.
Is Kibble Bad For Ferrets?
Low-quality kibble with a high amount of fruit and vegetables is bad for ferrets. If you buy a high-quality kibble with animal-based ingredients, then your ferret should be happy and healthy.
Should I Wet My Ferrets Food?
If your ferret eats kibble, you should provide him with water at all times. Kibble is dry food and if your ferret doesn’t ingest enough water, it can cause prolapsed rectum and other medical problems. I don’t recommend feeding your ferret wet food, I recommend making sure your ferret has enough water to avoid any dehydration or other medical issues.
Yes, ferrets’ best diet is raw meat diet, but if you are unable to provide them that, you should choose the best alternative and that is the best kibble for ferrets. Make sure to read the list of ingredients before buying the ferret kibble you want so you can be sure it is the right choice for them. Do you have a good ferret kibble you want to share with us? Leave us a comment below the post and we will check it out! Subscribe to our newsletter for more interesting ferret posts!