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The 5 Best Foods for Ferrets

Ferrets Small Pets September 1, 2019
ferret food

The 5 Best Foods for Ferrets

ferret food

Ferrets are adorable little animals known for their masked faces and goofy personalities. Beyond that, most people know very little about these critters. Ferrets are actually carnivorous animals, which means that the majority of their diet should come from meat. That doesn’t mean you can’t feed them commercial pet food, however, you just have to find the right kind.

In this article, we’ll talk about the basics of feeding pet ferrets and provide some tips for choosing the best ferret food. You’ll also see our top 5 picks for the best ferret food.

Quick Look at Our Top Picks:  

  1. Wysong Ferret Epigen 90 Digestive Support Food Overall Best
  2. ZuPreem Premium Ferret Diet Runner Up
  3. Wysong Ferret Archetype Best for Sensitive Stomach
  4. Marshall Premium Ferret Diet Best for Budget
  5. Kaytee Premium Ferret Food with Chicken Best for Smell
IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Genetically appropriate meat-based diet
  • Contains 62% protein and 16% fat
  • Added probiotics for healthy digestion
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  • Complete and balanced nutrition
  • Chicken meal and chicken fat main ingredients
  • Highly digestible formula for ferrets
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  • Freeze-dried to preserve nutritional integrity
  • Meat-based and starch-free for digestibility
  • Contains 44% protein and 36% fat
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  • Contains over 35% crude protein
  • Adequate levels of fiber (3.5%)
  • Recommended by ferret breeders
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  • Contains 42% protein, largely from chicken
  • Formulate to provide balanced nutrition
  • Low in fiber (3% crude fiber)
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What To Look For In Food For Ferrets

Your ferret has a very fast metabolism, so it is important that you have food available at all times. These pets eat very frequently, about every 3 to 4 hours, so you might need to feed your ferret several times a day. On top of feeding your ferret often enough, you need to make sure that the food you offer is formulated to meet your ferret’s unique nutritional requirements.

Here Are Some Important Things To Look For In Ferret Food:

  • High in protein. Your ferret’s diet should consist of 30% to 40% protein according to the nutrition analysis on the label and, ideally, it should come from animal sources.
  • Rich in healthy fats. Your ferret needs at least 20% fat in its diet, up to 30% and, again, it should come from high-quality animal-based sources as much as possible.
  • Low in carbs and fiber. As an obligate carnivore, your ferret has a very limited ability to digest and utilize plant foods, so choose a recipe low in both carbs and fiber.
  • All-natural ingredients. In addition to meeting the right nutrient ratios in your ferret’s diet, you need to make sure that those nutrients come from natural sources to ensure digestibility and bioavailability. Check the ingredients list of any commercial food to be sure.

Now that you have a better idea what to look for in a ferret food, it’s time to start shopping! Keep reading to see our top 5 picks for the best ferret foods.

Here Are Our Top 5 Picks For The Best Ferret Food:

Wysong Ferret Epigen 90 Digestive Support Food

Specs:

  • Type – Dry food
  • Amount – 5 pounds
  • Key Ingredients – Chicken meal, chicken, chicken giblets
  • Price$24.79

Pros:

  • Genetically appropriate meat-based diet
  • Contains 62% protein and 16% fat
  • Added probiotics for healthy digestion

Cons:

  • Should be introduced slowly to prevent digestive upset
  • A little high in fiber (5% compared to 3% recommended)

For many years, it was recommended that you feed ferrets high-quality cat food. Wysong is a manufacturer of high-quality pet food and actually offers a ferret-specific diet. This recipe features premium animal-based ingredients like fresh chicken, chicken meal, and chicken giblets to deliver 62% protein for your ferret. This formula also contains probiotics for healthy digestion as well as a rich blend of omega fatty acids for energy as well as support for healthy skin and coat.

Wysong Ferret Archetype Chicken Formula Raw Food

Specs:

  • Type – Freeze-dried
  • Amount – 7.5 ounces
  • Key Ingredients – Chicken, chicken organs, ground chicken bone
  • Price$17.39

Pros:

  • Freeze-dried to preserve nutritional integrity
  • Meat-based and starch-free for digestibility
  • Contains 44% protein and 36% fat

Cons:

  • Contains several plant-based ingredients including barley
  • Very expensive compared to other options

Raw food is the highest in nutritional value, but it can be difficult to store. This Wysong Ferret Archetype recipe is freeze-dried (not heated above 118°F) which preserves more of the nutritional integrity of the raw ingredients, so your ferret gets the maximum nutritional benefit. This formula is loaded with real animal protein and fat but free from starch and other high-carb ingredients. It provides a total of 44% crude protein and 36% fat for a healthy, balanced diet specific to your ferret’s nutritional needs.

ZuPreem Premium Ferret Diet

Specs:

  • Type – Pellets
  • Amount – 8 pounds
  • Key Ingredients – Chicken meal, wheat flour, chicken fat
  • PriceCheck on Amazon

Pros:

  • Complete and balanced nutrition
  • Chicken meal and chicken fat main ingredients
  • Highly digestible formula for ferrets

Cons:

  • Some users report odorous urine/stools
  • Contains wheat flour (carbohydrate)

If you’re looking for a slightly more affordable ferret food that still uses a majority of meat-based ingredients, try this ZuPreem Premium Ferret Diet. It features chicken meal and chicken fat as two of the top three ingredients to meet your ferret’s needs for protein and healthy fat. It is 100% complete and balanced to provide for your ferret’s nutritional needs and is highly digestible as well.

Marshall Premium Ferret Diet

Specs:

  • Type – Pellet
  • Amount – 18 pounds
  • Key Ingredients – Chicken by-products, herring meal
  • PriceCheck on Amazon

Pros:

  • Contains over 35% crude protein
  • Adequate levels of fiber (3.5%)
  • Recommended by ferret breeders

Cons:

  • Chicken by-products as main ingredient
  • Contains some corn ingredients

When you’re not sure what to feed your ferret, it doesn’t hurt to go with a product ferret breeders themselves recommend. This Marshall Premium Ferret Diet is the #1 ferret diet sold worldwide and comes highly recommended from ferret breeders. It contains 38% protein and just 3.5% fiber with plenty of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. It does, however, contain some corn and by-products, so if you can afford one of the top 3 recipes above, go for those instead.

Kaytee Premium Ferret Food with Chicken

Specs:

  • Type – Pellet
  • Amount – 4 pounds
  • Key Ingredients – Chicken meal, poultry by-product meal
  • Price$11.99

Pros:

  • Contains 42% protein, largely from chicken
  • Formulate to provide balanced nutrition
  • Low in fiber (3% crude fiber)

Cons:

  • Contains some by-products
  • Could be higher in fat content

If you’re working with a low budget or you prefer to shop in stores rather than online, you’ll be able to find this Kaytee ferret food fairly easily. It is formulated to provide balanced nutrition for ferrets, containing 42% protein from real chicken. It also contains a rich blend of healthy fats for skin and coat support, plus it is gluten- and grain-free.

Tips For Feeding A Ferret

You may think that choosing a ferret food is as simple as walking into the pet store and picking up the first bag with a picture of a ferret on it. While most of the ferret foods you find in a pet store might technically meet your ferret’s needs, they are not all created equal. You need to understand your ferret’s nutritional needs so you can make a smart choice.

Here Are Some Simple Tips For Feeding A Ferret Properly:

  • Choose a ferret food that contains at least 30% protein and 20% fat according to the nutrition analysis on the label.
  • Double-check the ingredients list to make sure most of the ingredients are animal-based and not plant-based.
  • Check for whole sources of protein like chicken or chicken meal rather than by-products – by-products are going to be lower in nutritional value and harder to digest.
  • Be prepared to spend more for a high-quality ferret food – don’t skimp when it comes to your ferret’s diet because you’ll be sacrificing its health for the sake of saving money.
  • Don’t feed your ferret cat or kitten food – this used to be the recommendation but now there are quality ferret foods available that are much better.

If you aren’t confident that you can get a ferret diet right, you may want to consider another pet. If you don’t feed your ferret properly, it won’t be healthy – there is no substitute for high-quality nutrition, no matter what kind of pet you decide to get.

Final Remarks

You are your ferret’s caretaker and it is your responsibility to provide for its needs. This means choosing a healthy, high-quality commercial diet that is formulated to meet your ferret’s needs. You also need to know when and how much to feed your ferret, so take the time to do your research!

If you’re still not sure where to start in looking for a ferret food, try out one of the top 5 best ferret foods we’ve reviewed above. Good luck!

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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