Ferrets have distinctive nutritional needs compared to other animals. Whether in the wild or at home, they follow a strict carnivore’s diet as their digestive system cannot handle anything else better than meat.
In the uncultivated environment, ferrets prey on other animals and feed on the raw beef and digested vegetable substance from corpses. Since their bodies cannot tolerate milk, fiber, or carbohydrates, a pet owner needs to provide a balanced diet rich in fat and proteins.
Note that ferrets stick to a diet that was introduced earlier in life. So, it is essential to identify the most healthy and safest food that meets their dietary needs.
Here is a compiled list of ten toxic foods that you should never allow your pet to consume.
Any form of chocolate, whether dark or white, is poisonous to a ferret. Chocolate is rich in sugar and stimulates the body to produce a mood enhancing substance known as serotonin or happy hormone. Also, it contains another lethal element called theobromide, which excessively animates the animal’s heart.
Bear in mind that chocolates have a substantial amount of milk. When taken in large amounts, it may contribute to other several health issues. Even if the tolerance level of chocolate in kits is manageable, it is detrimental to adult ferrets.
Some of the side effects include tremors, increased urination, vomiting, and depression. In rare cases, chocolates may cause liver and kidney leading to cardiac arrest or death.
Feeding ferrets on food meant for other animals may lead to a whole load of health implications. Additionally, ferrets thrive on high protein and fat. So, if they fail to absorb the right nutrients, it may lead to low weight, constipation, or death.
On that note, dog food contains specific elements suitable to the canine species only. Some of them include fibre and vegetable protein, which ferrets digestive system cannot breakdown well.
A ferret’s body does not have the required enzymes that break down lactose in milk. If you happen to feed your ferret on dairy products, it may lead to several digestive issues like diarrhea, vomiting, or even death.
Some of the dairy products you need to discard include cheese, butter, ice cream, yogurt, or anything that contains milk.
The main ingredients in bread are fiber, carbohydrates, and grains. Ferrets cannot manage to digest such a high level of starches.
So, avoid feeding with anything that shares similar ingredients like cereals, cookies, sandwiches, etc. To prevent complications, keep wheat products away from them.
Candy and Sugar
Too much sugar may spike insulin levels, which may result in hypoglycemia. This is a condition caused by limited glucose in the blood. When it happens, the first body organ that gets affected is the brain.
With lower glucose levels in the brain, ferrets may tremble, sweat, or develop nausea and a rapid heart race. Sometimes, it may result in a coma or death. Few sugary foods that you need to exclude from the ferret’s diet are syrup, honey, and cereal.
While there are several nutritious types of mushrooms, not all are safe for consumption. For instance, Psilobyce sp, or magic mushroom, is rich in psilocin and psilocybin elements. These are some of the most poisonous ingredients found in fungi plants that alter moods.
When ferrets consume even the smallest levels of these toxic mushrooms, they may become disoriented, anxious, or hypothermic. There is more concern on mushrooms not grown at home as toxicity levels may not be exact.
Similarly, most mushrooms require a sweetener or chili to alter the sour taste. These addictives may worsen the situation and agitate your pet more.
Grapes contain a substantial amount of carbohydrates. Based on a recent survey, one grape has an equivalent of 17 grams of carbohydrates. While some pet owners reward their ferrets with a few grapes, it is not advisable as too many complex carbohydrates may interfere with digestion.
Moreover, the seeds of the grape fruit may clog intestines and make your ferret sick.
Garlic and Onions
All the food in the onion family may cause severe problems if consumed in large quantities. Excess onion either on its own or in juice and powder may trigger a condition known as hemolytic anemia. This is an extreme case of low blood in the system and requires transfusion to treat. On the other hand, garlic in the diet may lead to renal and kidney failure.
It is not always possible to pinpoint the level of onions and garlic in pre-prepared food. Therefore, avoid buying ready-made meals and consult with your vet on the best viable option. Additionally, make it a habit to read through labels to understand the ingredients in the product.
Sugar-Free Foods (Xylitol)
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener common in candies and chewing gum. Likewise, manufacturers use Xylitol to make cough syrups, toothpaste, throat lozenges, and other products in the medical world. In some instances, some baked home items also contain Xylitol.
If your ferret consumes any of these items, sugar levels in the blood may drop to unhealthy levels leading to seizures or death. Even if the condition is treatable, there is a higher chance of developing liver complications later in life.
Raw meat comes in the right portion of the bone, internal organs, and muscle that a ferret needs. On the other hand, smoked meat like bacon has a high salt amount, which is detrimental to a ferret’s health. When heated, meat may lose some of the fundamental nutrients necessary for your ferret robust health.
Furthermore, giving your ferret smoked meat poses an enormous risk of bones splintering in the mouth. This is a severe mishap that can lead to choking or death.
While ferrets are well known for their colossal appetite and high metabolism, it is vital to monitor the food that you give them. Note that ferrets feed on almost any food they come across.
As a pet owner, your role is to protect and keep them away from food that may lead to profound health implications or fatality.