Do you live with a fat ferret? This small pet's diet consists of meat-based protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. An obese ferret may be the result of kibble with too much fruit, starches, and sugars.
Ferrets are obligate carnivores. The wrong foods may lead to obesity and a shortened lifespan. This small pet does not digest fiber well, and his teeth are designed for tearing and cutting, not for chewing. The key to a trim ferret is a high-quality diet.
Ideal Ferret Weight and Length
The pet industry develops commercial diet formulas for ferrets, and the brands meet the protein and fat level requirements. With this in mind, every healthy ferret's weight falls in a set range. An exotic vet may help to ensure your ferret is maintaining an appropriate weight.
- Females weigh between one and three pounds if neutered. Including the tail, females usually measure around 18 inches long.
- Neutered male ferrets weigh between two and four pounds. Unaltered males may weigh up to six pounds! Including the tail, males can measure up to 22 inches long.
A Balanced Diet Is Best
Both dry kibble and canned diets formulated for ferrets keep your small pet trim. A feeding schedule keeps pet parents organized, and it is always essential to give your ferrets as much variety as possible but limit daily treats.
Steps for a Healthy Diet
The first three ingredients in ferret kibble needs to be meat products, and the kibble should not contain corn. Always avoid kibble with dried fruits or vegetables, which ferrets cannot digest!
A Traditional Diet of Wet or Dry Food
Pet parents typically choose kibble as it is widely available and safe for your ferret. Canned options need to be a topper rather than the main course. With that in mind, there are pros and cons with wet and dry food.
- Dry kibble is not mentally stimulating for ferrets.
- Ferrets must first hydrate kibble before proper digestion is possible, as this little pet cannot chew the pieces.
- Canned foods may be low in carbs and high in fat.
- Kibble has higher than needed carbs.
- Some canned food brands lack the nutrients to be a ferret's primary food source.
Set a Feeding Schedule
Pet parents need to set a strict feeding schedule, which may help monitor a ferret's weight. If you feed your ferret a diet loaded with carbs, your ferret may become obese. A diet high in carbs may also drive your ferret to eat more often and perhaps every four to five hours. A balanced diet keeps your ferret satisfied for much longer. In some cases, if your ferret is fed a proper diet, it may be eight to ten hours between meals. Ferrets adapt to a strict eating cycle!
Treats Are Great in Moderation
Treats are an essential way to bond with your little buddy. Discuss with your vet the best snacks to give your ferret to ensure you don't upset his tummy. All treats need to be in moderation! Training your ferret with a few high-value foods is a wonderful way to teach a few tricks.
Everything on this list needs to be given in small pieces and amounts.
- Small prey animals
- Chicken baby food
What to Avoid
There are many treats pet parents need to avoid altogether. Dried fruits are high in sugar and are banned from the list of acceptable treats.
Older Ferrets Grow Wider
Some ferrets grow wider with age, and some get wider during the winter months. Obesity is uncommon and rarely an issue with ferrets. Feeding a balanced diet is the best way to avoid a fat ferret.
Always Feed a High-Quality Diet
If your ferret is obese, always rule out any medical issues and review your pet's current diet with a vet. A commercial ferret diet needs to consist of fat, meat-based protein, vitamins, and minerals. Only give your little buddy treats during training sessions and in moderation so your ferret does not gain weight.