Do you know what are the best ferret treats are?
How can you pick suitable snacks for ferrets?
It is not complicated to find good snacks for ferrets, but you have to know what snacks ferrets can eat before you go looking for them. Today, I want to talk about healthy ferret treats so you can know which ones to avoid and which ones to use.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What Is Good Ferret Nutrition?
Before we start talking about ferret treats, we have to mention their nutrition. Ferrets are obligated carnivores, which means they can eat meat and only meat. So, no fruits, no veggies, and definitely no sweets.
Ferrets’ diet should have a high protein percentage and low fiber percentage. The best nutrition for them is raw meat diet, but a high-quality grain-free kibble is an OK option if you can’t afford the first one. If you want to know more about their nutrition, read my post about the best ferret food.
Why Should You Use Ferret Treats For?
Snacks for ferrets have the same meaning as snacks for cats, dogs, and other pets. You can use them for several reasons and they are not considered a meal. That means you shouldn’t give too much or too often because then they will become a meal. Offering a snack to an animal should be different from offering them breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
You can use treats for creating a bond with your ferret or for some medical reasons like helping with hairballs during seasonal sheds. Treats can help you train your ferret to poop in the litter box, stop your ferret from biting or even train your ferret to do different tricks.
How To Pick The Best Ferret Treats?
Now that you know a little bit about their nutrition, you can use that knowledge and pick good treats for ferrets. So, now you will see what are good and what are bad ferret snacks. Here you can learn which ones should you avoid and which ones are labeled as OK ferret treats.
What Snacks Can Ferrets Eat?
Remember, ferrets are carnivores. That means you have to give them treats made for carnivores. Those treats should be high in proteins and low in fibers. But, what does that mean? Let’s see some actual examples.
Store-Bought Pet Treats
The market is filled with treats for ferrets, cats, dogs, and other pets. If you want to buy your ferret snacks, then you should go with treats for ferrets or cats and kittens. Make sure that the treats have meat listed at the top of the ingredients list. That means it is high in animal protein which makes them healthy ferret treats. When it comes to nutrition, animal proteins are the most important for ferrets and the best ones for their digestion. Also, make sure it has a grain-free label on it because ferrets can’t digest any type of fiber.
One of the most popular treats is ferret chew sticks. They are basically dried-meat sticks and they are good for ferrets. Most of them are made of chicken, lamb, duck, etc. There are also dry meat bits you can use, just make sure they are made of meat, not any type of fiber. If a treat is good, it will have a small list of ingredients, mostly meat-related. But, as always, there are many brands that produce them so make sure to read the ingredients list first.
Salmon oil is one of the best ferret treats because it is healthy, yummy and not many ferrets can resist it. The salmon oil is great and you can use it as a bribe during training, grooming, and as a help with hairballs during shedding season. It also keeps the ferret’s coat shiny and strong so there is no downside to it, except one. You can give it too much. So, half a tablespoon every other day is a good amount for it.
Salmon oil is very good during shedding season for one important reason. When ferrets shed, they can swallow their hair and it can cause a hairball. The problem is that they aren’t like cats so they can’t cough it up. If you don’t treat the hairball it can cause a blockage in the ferret so you have to give your ferret something to help pass it through the system. Salmon oil is great for that because it helps the hairball with the “journey” through the digestive system.
As you can see, salmon is a very popular treat among ferrets. Salmon paste has a similar purpose as salmon oil because you can use it for training, grooming, even hairballs. It is very healthy and unlike salmon oil, you can give it a little bit more. Just remember, it is a snack so you can’t use it for an actual meal because it is not meant for that.
Salmon paste is a far better solution than malt paste ferret owners used before. Malt paste is a paste cat owners use to help their cats with hairballs. But, their main problem is that they are made with lots of sugar. As you know, sugar is a big NO-NO for ferrets so you have to avoid all cat hairball pastes, especially if they have any type of sugar in their ingredients. Salmon paste is great because it is mostly made of salmon, without added sugars.
If you want to keep your ferret’s diet as natural as possible, then your choice of treats should be the raw egg. Raw eggs are great because they are healthy for ferrets, even better than already-made snacks ferrets can eat and you can buy in stores. You can use quail eggs, chicken eggs, almost every egg there is. By size, quail eggs are the best ones, although chicken eggs are pretty good too. You can give your ferret raw egg treat once or twice a week, it should be enough. All you have to do is open the egg and put it in the bowl, scrambled or not.
But, the problem with feeding your ferret raw eggs is that they have to get used to them. When ferrets are young, they can eat everything. When they are a couple of months old, they tend to imprint on one type of food (even one brand). So, if you want your ferret to eat raw eggs, you should give them from a young age or he might refuse it. You can work with him to eat it, but prepare yourself for a long journey.
Raw or Cooked Meat
Another natural ferret treats you can use is meat. The problem with meat is that it is a meal so I am not sure if we can classify it as an actual snack for ferrets, but I don’t think it should be a problem. If your ferret reacts to it, then use it by all means. If you can use it to train your ferret or create a bond, then great! This also means it is a smart idea to start feeding your ferret with raw meat from the beginning because switching from kibble to raw meat can last for months.
Cooked meat is another healthy option for a ferret treat. What you have to know when you are preparing meat is that you mustn’t use spices. No salt, pepper, oregano, nothing. If you want to cook your ferret some chicken, do it in plain water, without any added ingredients. Your ferret loves the taste of meat and he can get sick if you use spices. Ferrets aren’t aware of spices and their body doesn’t know what to do with them.
What Treats Should You Avoid?
Not that we shared snacks ferrets can eat, we will also mention forbidden ones so you know which ones to avoid. You have to keep in mind that there are even some ferret treats that aren’t good for ferrets so make sure you read the ingredient list on each and every treat you consider buying for your ferret. Avoid treats from this list below and focus only on the good snacks for ferrets I mentioned above.
Storebought Treats With Fibers
Fibers are bad for ferrets. Ferrets can’t digest fibers in any form and they should stay clear of them in every possible way. That means you should avoid all treats that come with any type of fruit or vegetable. Avoid treats filled with corn, banana, raisins, especially peas. Peas can cause bladder stones in a ferret and that is a medical condition that can have severe consequences on the ferret’s health.
If you see a fruit or vegetable in the first 5 places on the ingredient lists, forget about that treat. If you see a drawing on the package, forget about it. Ferrets and fiber don’t mix and the best way to keep your ferret healthy is to stay away from fibers.
Most dog treats have fruit and vegetables and that is why they are on this list. Cat’s treats are different because cats should also avoid fibers like ferrets. Another reason to avoid dog treats is that they come in big sizes which makes it hard to bite for one small ferret. That means you will have to break them and you can’t break a kibble that easily so there is a high chance you will make a mess.
If there are dry meat dog treats and you are sure they are animal-based, without fibers, then you can use them for ferrets. But, you have to be extra sure and use it as a treat, not as a whole meal. There are enough high-quality treats on the market so you can find something you are sure is a good choice.
Human Treats & Sugar
When I say human treats, I mean all types of sweets. No chocolate, no candy, no soda, every human treat is forbidden for ferrets. Actually, I think that most human treats are forbidden for most pets so this shouldn’t be an option in any way. But, I feel obligated to mention it again. Ferrets can’t process any type of sugar, natural or fabricated. Their body can’t recognize sugar and it can only end up badly.
Every human treat, from chocolate to bubble gum, will make your ferret sick. Don’t give him a small amount, don’t give him once a month, simply don’t give it to him. Your ferret might not look sick at that moment, but he can develop serious conditions like adrenal or insulinoma later in life due to wrong nutrition.
I know that ferrets are cute and they know how to beg for your food, but you must be strong and don’t give it to him. It doesn’t matter whether it is a roasted lamb, cooked potato, a stew, coffee, tea, or any other food, you mustn’t give it to your ferret. As I have already mentioned, anything sweet or spicy is not a good choice for a ferret treat.
Human food is a big NO-NO for ferrets and other animals. We have a different digestive system and we are, unfortunately, used to this amount of added sugar, spices, and other additives. They aren’t and it is best to leave them at that. Leave that food to you and other humans and let your ferret eat healthy ferret treats.
Homemade Ferret Treats
You can make good snacks for ferrets at your own home too! As you can imagine, most of them I have already mentioned like raw eggs, raw meat, cooked meat, etc. But, there are a few more options you can make without too much experience in the kitchen!
Summer DIY Ferret Treats
For example, you can scramble raw eggs in a bowl and place a small amount in an ice cube tray, and put it in the freezer. Once raw eggs are frozen, you can give them to your ferret as a cool snack, perfect for hot summer days.
The same thing you can do with small bits of meat. Place them in an ice cube tray and fill the rest with water. Let it freeze and you are done. As you can see, you don’t really need much for these freeze-dried ferret treats that will cool down your fuzzy and prevent a ferret heat stroke!
Jerky Ferret Treats
Homemade jerky is a very popular pet snack all over the world and it is not that complicated to make. The only thing you need for it is meat and an oven. So, cut the meat in thin stripes (without spices) and place it in the oven at a max of 200°F (around 95°C). It has to be on the lowest setting.
Once you set up the oven and placed the meat in it, the only thing you have to do is monitor the oven. This process can last 4-10 hours so you really have to be around for it. The result is dried meat you can use as healthy ferret treats.
Are Cat Treats For Ferrets?
Yes, there are some cat treats that are good for ferrets too. As long as those treats are without fibers or sugar, they are good for ferrets. Ferrets and cats have similar nutritional requirements so they can eat the same food, as long as it is high-quality.
Can Ferrets Eat Peanut Butter?
No, ferrets can’t eat peanut butter. It won’t make them sick immediately, but it can cause upset stomach, bad poop, and cause serious medical conditions later in life. So, avoid peanut butter and everything else connected to fruit and vegetables.
Can Ferrets Drink Milk?
No, ferrets can’t drink milk. The only period in life when they drink is when they are born. Later in life, milk is something your ferret should avoid because they can’t digest lactose.
Can Ferrets Eat Cheerios?
No, ferrets can’t eat Cheerios or any other snack we humans eat. Cheerios are filled with additives that can cause different medical conditions in a ferret’s body and you mustn’t give them to any ferret. Actually, to any pet.
Just like with ferret food, you should choose only the best ferret treats that won’t cause stomach troubles or any medical issues later in life. Stick to the good treats for ferrets and you will have a happy and healthy ferret for a long time. Have you tried homemade ferret treats? Share your recipes and experience with us in the comments below! Don’t forget to subscribe to the Friendly Ferret newsletter!