Ferrets are like furry little clowns. They are full of energy and are always entertaining to be around.
To keep your pet ferret happy and healthy, you need to feed him a high-quality diet, but what does that look like? Many people don’t realize that ferrets are carnivorous animals, so they require a specialized diet. Meat is an important part of a ferret’s natural diet, but most owners of pet ferrets prefer to feed their ferrets a commercial diet.
A high-quality ferret food will be rich in protein, high in energy, and low in dietary fiber. There are a wide variety of products to choose from, so take the time to learn as much as you can about your ferret’s dietary needs before you start shopping.
Keep reading to learn more about what to feed your ferret and to learn the answers to some frequently asked questions about ferret feeding and care. You’ll also see our reviews of the top 10 best ferret foods.
Here are our top 8 picks for the best Ferret Foods:
#8 Kaytee Fiesta Ferret Food
For a simple and affordable ferret food, try this Kaytee Fiesta Ferret Food. This recipe is poultry-based with an assortment of vitamins and minerals to ensure nutritional balance. It also contains prebiotics and probiotics to support your ferret’s digestive system with plenty of natural antioxidants for healthy immunity as well. The crunchy kibbles help clean your ferret’s teeth to prevent dental disease and the price of the product couldn’t be better. It may not be the highest quality ferret food out there, but it offers decent nutrition at an unbeatable price.
Pros: Highly affordable price, contains 34% protein and 19% fat, beneficial supplements
Cons: Contains unnamed ingredients and by-products, contains some wheat and rice
#7 Marshall Pet Products Select Chicken Formula Ferret Diet
For a protein-rich diet featuring real chicken, try this Marshall Pet Products Select Chicken Formula Ferret Diet. This formula is made with real chicken – a whole 3 pounds of fresh chicken goes into each 4-pound bag. This recipe is formulated for ferrets in all stages of life and it is slow-cooked to preserve nutritional integrity. It provides 36% crude protein with 18% fat, so you can rest easy knowing that your ferret’s nutritional needs are being met.
Pros: 3 pounds of chicken per bag, slow-cooked to preserve nutrients, contains 36% protein and 18% fat
Cons: Contains some by-products, contains corn ingredients, fairly expensive
#6 ZuPreem Premium Ferret Diet
For a high-quality ferret food recommended by breeders and veterinarians, try this ZuPreem Premium Ferret Diet. This formula features chicken meal as the main ingredient which is a concentrated source of protein. It also contains fresh chicken, chicken fat, eggs, and natural chicken flavor. This recipe is specifically designed for the ferret’s shorter digestive system and fast metabolism which means that it is a nutrient-rich and highly digestible product. It contains no corn ingredients and it is loaded with 40% protein and 20% fat. The only downside is that it is fairly expensive.
Pros: Formulated for digestibility and nutrient absorption, contains 40% protein and 20% fat, free from corn ingredients
Cons: Fairly expensive compared to other options, contains some plant protein (potato protein)
#5 Kaytee FortiDiet Pro Health Ferret Food
If you’re in the market for a decent quality ferret food and you don’t have a big budget to work with, this Kaytee FortiDiet Pro Health Ferret Food is a good choice. This recipe features poultry ingredients to provide 35% protein and 20% fat while maintaining a low fiber content of 3%. It is supplemented with a number of other proteins as well as chelated minerals and probiotics. Chelated minerals are supplements that have been bound to protein molecules in order to make them easier for your ferret’s body to digest and absorb. You’ll also be glad to know that this formula contains probiotics and prebiotics for healthy digestion and it comes in larger, crunchy kibbles to support dental health.
Pros: Contains 35% protein and 20% fat, crunchy kibbles help clean teeth, probiotics and prebiotics
Cons: Contains unnamed ingredients and by-products, contains some grains
#4 Marshall Premium Ferret Diet Complete Nutrition
This Marshall Premium Ferret Diet Complete Nutrition is a great ferret food for ferrets in all life stages. It contains 38% protein and 18% fat which is enough to support growth and development but not so much that it leads to obesity. Simply follow the feeding instructions on the package according to your ferret’s age and weight and you’ll be good to go. This recipe comes highly recommended from ferret breeders, so you can rest easy knowing that it offers quality nutrition. It features chicken as the main protein with vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. Plus, it’s highly affordable.
Pros: Formulated for ferrets in all life stages, contains 38% protein and 18% fat, highly affordable
Cons: Contains chicken by-products, contains some corn ingredients
#3 Wysong Ferret Achetype Raw Ferret Food
If you’re looking for a ferret food that closely approximates your ferret’s natural diet, try this Wysong Ferret Achetype Raw Ferret Food. This recipe features 44% crude protein, 36% fat, and just 0.5% fiber, largely from meat ingredients. It features chicken, chicken organs, and chicken bone as the first three ingredients with a whole host of beneficial supplements to ensure nutritional value. This formula is not only formulated to mimic your ferret’s natural diet, but it is never cooked above 118°F so it retains more of its original nutritional value. It is also rich in essential fatty acids and supplemented with herbal extracts. The only downside is that it contains several plant ingredients, but the overall fiber content is still low, so it shouldn’t be a problem for your ferret.
Pros: Mimics the ferret’s natural diet, rich in protein and healthy fats, only 0.5% fiber, digestible
Cons: Contains some plant ingredients, very expensive to feed
#2 Kaytee Premium Ferret Food with Chicken
For a high-quality ferret food you can find in just about any major pet store, try this Kaytee Premium Ferret Food with Chicken. This recipe contains 42% protein, largely from real chicken ingredients. It is both grain- and gluten-free so you can rest easy knowing that it will be easy for your ferret to digest, and it is formulated to meet all of your ferret’s nutritional needs. This recipe is rich in healthy fats for skin and coat support and to provide a concentrated source of energy for your ferret. It comes in two different recipes – chicken and turkey – both of which are surprisingly affordable. Most importantly, however, it is nutrient-rich and full of healthy ingredients for your ferret.
Pros: Made with real chicken as the first ingredient, rich in protein and healthy fats, affordable
Cons: Contains some by-products (poultry by-product meal)
#1 Wysong Ferret Epigen 90 Dry Food
If you’re looking for a high-quality diet for your pet ferret, consider this Wysong Ferret Epigen 90 Dry Food. This recipe is nutritionally-dense and loaded with healthy protein. It contains a whopping 90% mean ingredients for a total of 62% protein and 18% fat. Loaded with meat ingredients, this product closely resembles your ferret’s natural diet to ensure digestibility and optimal nutrition. Plus, it contains probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, and all the nutrients he needs.
Pros: Nutrient-dense, high in protein and fat (62% and 18%), contains 90% meat ingredients
Cons: Contains some unnamed ingredients (meat protein isolate)
More products also worth checking out:
The Basics of Feeding Ferrets
The ferret is similar in appearance to the weasel and is, in fact, closely related. The main difference is that ferrets are a domesticated form of the rodent commonly kept as a pet.
Ferrets typically grow to about 20 inches long, including a 5-inch tail, and weigh anywhere from 1.5 to 4 pounds. They have brown, black, and white fur and a long, slender body. These animals are carnivorous and crepuscular which means that they follow a meat-based diet and they are most active during the hours around dawn and dusk.
In the home, ferrets make wonderful pets because they are playful, friendly, and affectionate. They are also very smart which can sometimes get them into trouble. If you have a ferret and you want to enjoy his company for as long as possible, follow the tips provided below to feed him a healthy diet.
What Does a Healthy Diet for Ferrets Look Like?
There are two important things you need to know about your ferret’s nutritional need. First and foremost, ferrets are obligate carnivores which means that their bodies are evolutionarily adapted to deriving nutrition from animal sources rather than plants. In the wild, they eat small prey like birds and other small rodents.
The second thing you need to know is that ferrets have very fast metabolisms and a short digestive tract. This means that they need a high-energy diet and they need to eat frequently. A ferret’s diet should be made with protein-rich ingredients as well as healthy fats. High-carbohydrate foods have no place in a ferret’s diet because he can’t digest them.
To put things simply, here are some qualities to look for in a good ferret food:
- Made with animal-based ingredients
- High in protein (from animal sources)
- Rich in healthy fats (for energy)
- Low in carbohydrates and fiber
Many ferret owners choose to create raw food diets for their ferrets. If you don’t feel up to the task, you’ll be glad to know that there are many commercial ferret foods on the market that offer quality nutrition for your furry friend. Just make sure that the product you choose is formulated specifically for ferrets and that you follow the feeding instructions properly.
Frequently Asked Questions About Feeding Ferrets
Every ferret has his own unique tastes and preferences, but the basics of feeding ferrets is always the same. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about feeding ferrets to get you started on the right track:
1. What should I look for in ferret food?
A high-quality ferret food will be rich in protein and energy but low in carbohydrates and fiber. Look for a minimum of 35% to 40% protein with 18% to 20% fat content. The fiber content should be as low as possible and make sure that quality sources of animal protein and fat are included in the first three to five ingredients.
2. Can I feed my ferret cat food or dog food?
Dogs and cats have very different nutritional needs, so you can’t feed a dog cat food and vice versa. In the same way, you shouldn’t try to feed your ferret cat food because it won’t provide for all of his nutritional needs. Cat food is very high in protein and low in carbohydrates, but it isn’t properly formulated to provide the vitamins and minerals ferrets need.
3. How much should I feed my ferret?
Ferrets have very fast metabolisms so they need a steady influx of energy throughout the day. Some ferret owners prefer to keep their pet’s food bowl filled while others prefer to offer 3 or 4 meals per day. In terms of how much to actually give your ferret every day, refer to the feeding recommendations on the package because every product is different.
4. Can I give my ferret any treats?
Giving your ferret treats can help you form a bond with him and it also comes in handy during training. Just be careful to make sure that treats make up no more than 10% of your ferret’s daily diet. In terms of what treats are best for ferrets, stick to things that offer nutritional value – meat-based treats that are rich in protein are the best option.
5. What do I do if I have to change my ferret’s food?
Making significant changes to your ferret’s diet can easily upset his stomach, so you want to make any changes as slowly as possible. Start by mixing the new food into your ferret’s old food at a ratio of 1 part new food to 9 parts old food. Gradually work your way up over the course of several weeks until your ferret is completely transitioned onto the new food.
6. Do I need to change my ferret’s diet as he gets older?
As your ferret gets older, he might become less active and his metabolism may start to slow down as well. To prevent him from gaining an unhealthy amount of weight, you should consider switching him to a senior ferret diet. These recipes are lower in protein and fat which means they are also lower in calories. Some senior diets are also formulated to help older ferrets that have developed healthy problems such as kidney issues. Always talk to your veterinarian before switching your ferret’s diet.
7. What foods are dangerous for ferrets to eat?
In the same way that there are certain foods you should never feed a dog or cat, there are also certain foods which can be harmful to ferrets. The most obvious of these is plant-based foods. Ferrets physically can’t digest high-carb foods like grains, fruits, and vegetables so they should be avoided. You should also avoid dairy products, chocolate, and anything sweetened with sugar.
Now that you have a better understanding of your ferret’s nutritional needs and how to meet them, you’re ready to hit the pet store! If you’re still not sure where to start, try one of the best ferret foods we’ve reviewed above. Best of luck!