Ferret treats can be fun or dangerous, depending on what you choose to give your pet. Most pets of any species enjoy treats, and ferrets are no exception. Unfortunately, it’s easy for new ferret owners to make bad choices.
The Golden Rule
The most important rule to remember when giving a ferret treats is this: just because your pet likes something doesn’t mean it’s good for them. Ferret digestive systems are designed for meat. They are true carnivores, and no matter how much they may love the taste of other kinds of food, fruits and vegetables are not good for them. Many ferret owners indulge their pets with raisins, melons, bananas and cereals such as Froot Loops or Cheerios, but ferrets have a hard time digesting such treats. Some ferrets will suffer diarrhea from eating the wrong things, but in severe cases, undigested treats can block the ferret’s intestines, resulting in either death or a huge veterinary bill for emergency surgery.
Meat, Meat & More Meat!
Since dry kitten food or ferret kibble is the usual diet for a ferret, one of the best treats you can give your pet is real meat. Chicken is a popular treat, and contains taurine, an amino acid essential for a ferret’s eyes and heart. Other meats and eggs are good as well, but all should be cooked first. Another great treat is a spoonful of canned meat baby food. If you want to use commercially-packaged ferret treats or cat snacks, be sure to check the ingredients. If it isn’t mostly meat, it isn’t something you should feed your pet.
Potential Stumbling Blocks
One potential stumbling block to feeding your ferret meat is that ferrets tend to decide what is and isn’t food during their first few months of life. If a ferret hasn’t tasted meat before they are six months old, they may refuse to eat it at all. When raising a baby, be sure to offer your ferret treats you want it to recognize as food. If your ferret was older when you adopted or bought it, you may never get it to eat meat.
If You Can't Resist...
If you can’t resist that sweet little face when your ferret begs for a bite of the wrong foods, remember to only give your pet a taste or a tiny piece. Do try to resist, though. What if your pet really loves whatever forbidden food you’ve just let it try and the begging won’t stop? Parents often find themselves indulging a child who begs for something, because the parents feel bad or get tired of saying no. It’s no different with that adorable ferret. If it pleads long enough for a certain snack, you might find yourself giving it the wrong things too often, or allowing it to eat too much of them. So, it’s much better to resist the urge to give your ferret bad treats in the first place.
Remember, attention is the greatest of all ferret treats. These animals thrive on interaction with their owners, and simply taking the time to feed your pet’s regular food to it by hand, one piece at a time, can make your ferret blissfully happy.
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