They love it madly, but it’s not exactly the best for them.
Ferrets love all dairy products, but it’s up to us to keep them safe from foods that aren’t good for them. It is not a problem if they drink milk accidentally, as it is not harmful in small amounts, but if they drink too much it could be very bad for them.
Nature created ferrets to be entirely carnivorous, so their diet should be based on high-quality meat, high in fat, and low in carbohydrates, sugars, and fiber.
If you are still wondering what this means, we will try to specify more in-depth. The protein content in the ferret’s daily diet should be around 32-36% with around 18% fat. It may be necessary to provide taurine supplements to avoid urinary tract infections.
Why is milk bad for ferrets?
Milk and dairy products can be given to ferrets very rarely because these animals are lactose intolerant. Feeding cow’s milk, the one we usually consume at home, can cause the ferret to have diarrhea, which could put it at risk of dehydration.
The lactase enzyme is not present in ferrets and is precisely what is needed to be able to process the complex elements present in milk, such as sugar. Like babies, ferrets drink their mother’s milk, and as they grow older, they tend to develop a greater intolerance for lactose.
A small amount of milk or dairy products, from time to time, are not harmful to the cute animal. If you want to give your ferret milk, you can use lactose-free cow milk or pet milk. An alternative is soy milk, which can interfere with the absorption of calcium from both milk and other foods.
Other milk-based products, such as chocolate, are very dangerous for ferrets and should therefore never eat them.
What foods are good for ferrets?
Since ferrets are pure carnivores, meat is their main food. In nature, ferrets obtain all the necessary nutrients, those derived from vegetables, fruit, or cereals, by eating the contents present in the stomach of their prey, usually herbivores. Therefore, they do not consume these foods directly.
Ferrets are known to feed on the whole animal, which gives them much more nourishment than eating single parts that are more or less lean. It is important to provide the domestic ferret with a good diet similar to the natural one, giving it only very clean meats, such as chicken fillet, which could cause malnutrition in a short time.
Furthermore, sugar-based foods and foods rich in carbohydrates are not habitual foods for ferrets.
For excellent health, the diet must be high in protein with low fiber and animal fat, with a mouse or chick fed in full from time to time. Ferrets digest raw meat better than cooked meat.
Foods that are not good for ferrets?
The things that shouldn’t be given to the ferret are foods with added flavors or sugars to entice it to eat.
Contrary to common opinion, commercial food for cats and dogs are not suitable for ferrets as the nutritional values present in them are different from the dietary needs of mustelids. They are usually rich in cereals and vegetables according to the needs of dogs and cats.
A ferret water bowl should be used, do not use a water bottle as it could damage the animal’s teeth. Ferrets are playful by nature and love to play with water. The water in a bowl also allows it to wash and keep itself clean at the same time.
Don’t let too much time pass between meals. Due to their fast metabolism, ferrets have to eat every four hours. When you are not at home, you can leave them plenty of food and water. Unlike other pets ferrets only eat what they need, there is no risk of overfeeding.
Ferrets are picky about their food
In the first year of life, ferrets should get all the most important nutrients and elements for their diet. This is because they are imprinted with their food. To get them to know all the different textures, flavors and foods it is advisable to give them a wide variety of meats and croquettes.
Giving a ferret junk food during the first year of life is very bad, as it may start to require only foods that are not good for health. The ferret may stop eating if they get sick or eat unsuitable foods. This loss of appetite can also cause irreparable damage.
To return to the question, if ferrets can drink milk, the answer is should be no, at least very rarely. It is always possible to give milk by mixing it into special dishes, such as duck soup, which includes oil, water, kibble, supplements, and baby food.
This article is purely informative, at Shelterapet we do not have the right to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We encourage you to take your pet to the vet in case of any kind of discomfort.