Can dogs eat ferret food

Dogs have been considered humans’ best friends for many decades now and humans’ love for dogs is increasing every passing year. The number of pet dogs is increasing, people even adopt dogs that do not have homes because they are super loyal animals. You must have seen a countless number of videos of humans adoring dogs and vice versa. Feeding your dog is not a hard job at all but if you are on a budget, it can be a bit expensive. Dogs need attention to be happy and healthy, and if you are raising your dog with a ferret, you know that someone will always have to supervise them. It can differ based on the breed of your dog though and at times, they can get along, if you do not have a hunting dog.

Raising a ferret and a dog together can be a big responsibility and if you have gotten yourself into it, you probably know that it can be tough yet entertaining at the same time because you love them both. Ferrets and Dogs do not eat the same food and should be fed separately but if your dog somehow, ends up eating ferret food, the very first thing you need to do is do NOT panic. Remember, dogs are also individuals, and something that affects one dog might not affect the other. 

Can Dogs eat Ferret Food?

It differs from dog to dog and depending on what breed you have; the effects may vary. Overall, the sudden change of a diet can cause disturbance, sickness, and at times even vomiting or loose stool. You should not intentionally feed ferrets’ food to a dog because their nutritional needs are different. Ferret food is nutritionally made for ferrets only, which is different from the nutritional needs of the dog. If your dog is completely fine and does not show any negative signs or symptoms, great. But you should still avoid giving your ferrets’ food to your dog. Your dog is a dog, regardless of the breed, and needs to be fed dog food. So, to be precise, you should not give ferrets’ food to your dog.

Nutritional Requirements of a Dog

Some of the basic nutrients that a dog needs to live a healthy life are water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. These nutrients are essential, and they should be a part of the regular dog’s diet, these play a vital role in all of the basic functions of the body. If the diet you are giving to your dog misses or lacks any of the required nutrients or even excesses the standard requirement of a specific nutrient, then the results would not be good. It may not be known to you in the short run but when you keep feeding any nutrient above average requirement then your dog is going to suffer in the end. Remember, your dog does not know what is toxic for it and what is beneficial; and is also not aware of which nutrients are necessary to live a healthy life but YOU DO.

Nutrients in Ferrets’ Food

A ferret is an obligate carnivore and must eat appropriately to maintain a healthy life. A Ferrets’ diet should have 32 to 38% protein and 15 to 30% fat; their ideal food is high in protein and fat and is low in fiber. The calcium and Phosphorus ratio in Ferrets’ diet should be at least 1:1. Since Ferrets do not need a high amount of minerals and vitamins, Commercial Ferret Diets have adequate amounts of these nutrients, to make sure that Ferrets do not get excessive amounts of any nutrient. Fruits and vegetables do not have any nutritional value that is needed for ferrets, so do not give them in abundance. In some parts of the world, Ferrets even have whole prey diets (which includes: rats and chicks) but it is not very common. Instead of grains, Ferrets should be given meat to fulfill their protein requirements. 

Why dogs cannot eat Ferrets’ food?

To put it simply, the nutritional requirements of Ferrets and Dogs are different. Dogs should not eat Ferrets’ food or the other way round. Dogs need vitamins and minerals that Ferrets do not need; hence they are not available in Ferrets’ food. Ferret food is very fatty (high in protein and fat) and is not suitable for dogs, eating Ferret food would most likely make your dog obese, which means inviting many ailments that come with obesity. Depending on the breed of your dog, eating a piece or two, once in a while (or accidentally) would not do any harm, but if you will replace it with Dog Food, then you should be ready for the consequences (which are never good).

What to do if a dog eats Ferrets’ food?

In most breeds of the dog, eating ferret food (accidentally) would not be much of an issue and it might not even have any effect on them because Ferret food normally contains a lot of meat. But based on the quantity of ferret food your dog has consumed and the breed, the effects may vary.

Since a dog normally does not eat Ferret food, in some breeds, a sudden change of the food might upset the digestive system causing problems like vomiting, diarrhea, and refusal to eat. If any of these symptoms appear, withhold your dogs’ food for about 12 to 24 hours. Give a small amount of water or unflavored Pedialyte. Then start giving a bland diet (boiled boneless and skinless chicken breasts with plain white rice) but make sure to give it in small quantities. If the vomiting has stopped by now it is a good sign, continue feeding the bland diet until the stool is normal then slowly shift to the regular dog diet. If the vomiting or diarrhea does not stop even after giving a bland diet then consulting your veterinarian is the best option. 

What to do if your Dog prefers Ferret Food instead of Dog Food?

Since ferret food is high in protein and fat, it makes the food tastier and your dog might prefer ferret food over dog food, which is understandable. But since it is high in proteins and fats and does not have a high amount of vitamins and minerals needed for a dogs’ healthy life, they are extremely unhealthy for your dog. You must do something now to bring your dog back to its normal dog food for its good. You are the human, the BOSS, and the one with brain, wisdom, and awareness, so you need to do everything you can to make sure that your dog lives a happy and healthy life.

  • One reason why your dog is preferring ferret food might be because the dog food you are using is not good. Try some other kind of food, like dry or canned food.
  • You can also try buying dog food from different brands like Kibbles ‘N Bits (great for picky eaters) and Pedigree.
  • You can also give a try to puppy food instead of dog food. 
  • Try some expensive food like Solid Gold and Nutro; these foods have fewer fillers and more ingredients, your dog might like them.
  • There are also Dog Gravies which you can pour over the food, to make them eat their food.
  • If you do not want to try new dog food yet, you can also make them their food from scratch (rice, chicken, and lamb-based food). 

Note 1: While shopping for new dog food make sure to take a look at the ingredients. If chicken, lamb, or beef are present in high amounts, your dog would probably love it.

Note 2: While, making food at home is good for your dog but it should not be the only main diet, keep trying out other brands and flavors or try adding gravies on top to attract your friend to commercial dog food. Feeding only home-cooked food might lead to some problems later.

Foods that you should keep away from the reach of your Dog

Although, there are times when you can share what you are eating with your dog but there are certain limitations, certain foods that you should avoid giving to your pet.

Ferret Food

Well obviously, to protect your dog from making this silly mistake of eating ferret food, you must keep it away from it.


Chocolate is also toxic for your dog and should be well protected from them because they love its smell. 

Onions and garlic

Onions are super unhealthy and dangerous for dogs, causing oxidative damage to the red blood cells, meaning it ruptures them, leading to anemia.


The citric acid in fruits like orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime, can cause diarrhea, vomiting and may even cause depression of the central nervous system.

Fatty foods

You do not want your dog to become obese which is dangerous for your dog, so keep sweet and fatty food away from its reach.

Some other food items should not be given to dogs to maintain their healthy life.


Although, Ferret Food cannot do extreme harm to your dog if eaten accidentally and in a small amount if it does cause any symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or refusal to eat and you are unable to fix it at home, consult your veterinarian. Overall, you should be avoiding giving ferret food to your dog because it is unhealthy for your dog.

Leave a Comment