Feeding an animal might seem like a no-brainer at times. Just pick and choose whatever leafy greens or fruit you find, cut it up, clean it, and present it to them. That statement might be true in many cases, but some animals cannot tolerate the food you feed them. There are a myriad of differences between animals as some animals might digest a portion of food while some cannot.
One of the most craved foods for humans is chocolate is terrible for so many animals in the animal kingdom as it can make them suffer from a disease called hypersensitivity. Hence you must pay attention to what you are going to feed your furry friends.
Now, you might be thinking that you will mostly be okay if you feed your ferret some dates as it comes from mother nature, and most of what mother nature bestows upon us is clean and healthy for us.
For “us,” yes! For your ferret, not so much. We will answer the question of is it so in the next heading.
WHY YOU CANNOT FEED YOUR FERRET DATES:
As I stated earlier, every animal in the kingdom has a different body structure and other nutrients. Some nutrients will keep them safe and healthy, while some which might be redundant for their body will make them sick and cause them to suffer from the disease.
Vegetables and fruits, which might seem like a good idea for your ferret to feed, are not good things to feed your ferret as they are strictly carnivores. These foods contain a very high amount of fiber and carbohydrates. Unfortunately for the ferrets, they cannot digest fibers and cause many anomalies in their digestive system. They also are unable to derive any sort of nutrition from any fruit and vegetables.
So instead of giving your ferret vegetable or fruits like dates, they must be given a diet that is extremely rich in meats. This is because they have a very short digestive tract that cannot effectively absorb the nutrients. When a meat-rich diet is presented to the ferret, it can quickly consume it, digest it, and get all of its digestive needs from it in an efficient fashion.
There also might be some diseases that could be linked to your ferret consuming things like dates and other fruits or vegetables. Let us see and get right into it.
URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS AND STONES:
Being carnivores, ferrets cannot pass on and digest the plant-based proteins and calcium oxalates, which leads to complications like urinary tract infections. There can also be calcium oxalate-based stones lodged in the urinary tract, which can be very painful for your ferret. These stones, once lodged it can even become fatal and kill your ferret.
ORAL AND INTESTINAL PROBLEMS:
Certain sugars come from fruits that contain other things like fibers and carbohydrates that the ferret cannot digest. Examples relating to such fruits are bananas that cannot be consumed by ferrets due to the high amount of sugar it contains. Mangoes and pineapples are also full of fiber content, making them unfit to be consumed by ferrets. If these feed ferrets, there might be problems due to these fruits being dangerous to them. These problems can include things like indigestion, which can lead to more severe issues like gastroenteritis. Fruits like dates can also cause a cancerous problem like intestinal cancer that can stem from beta-cell disorder. They also have a problem with chewing as they do not have teeth healthy enough like humans or other animals its size, which may cause the food blocking their esophagus which can become a cause for their death.
CAN FERRETS EAT VEGETABLES?
Even though we have established that ferrets are carnivores and under no circumstance should they be given fruits or vegetables but there is a slight exception to this rule, which is caused by their inability to produce vitamin C. Due to this inability, they might suffer from lower immunity and a disease called Scurvy which is caused by the lack of Vitamin C. Hence without overdoing it and as a supplement to their meat and protein diet, ferrets might be given small quantities of vegetables like mushrooms, potatoes, squash, cauliflower, unseeded pepper, carrots, and broccoli.
As mentioned earlier, these vegetables can be classified as safe vegetables and can be given to your ferret; however, one vegetable that should be thoroughly kept off-limits to your ferret is peas. Even though this vegetable is a nutritious diet for us and other herbivores and omnivores, containing Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Manganese, thiamin, and folate, your ferret should be thoroughly kept off-limits from any peas in its diet. Peas can cause gallbladder stones from the high quantity of fiber and the plant-based protein inside it. This content is not suitable for your ferret, and treatment for this will have you operate your ferret surgically, which is never good.
SIGNS TO SEE IF YOUR FERRET IS SICK FROM FRUITS OR VEGETABLES:
We have advised you that you should never feed your ferret fruits or vegetables and that you might be able to provide them with some only under strict conditions and in a minimal amount. However, due to your lack of knowledge or the ferret’s eating habit, it may eat some fruits and vegetables, which can cause adverse effects on it. You can detect these adverse effects by looking at signs that your ferret might exhibit. Undigested nutrients can be seen by looking at the droppings, which might be “seedy.” These are undigested food items that the ferret’s body has rejected and is an obvious sign that should not have been a part of its diet.
There also might be other severe diseases that can lead to the untimely death of your ferret. These can include things like organ failure and insulinoma.
So, what are some of the foods that you can give your ferret without being worried about its well being? Let us find out.
WHAT SHOULD YOU FEED YOUR FERRET?
As ferrets have a very short digestive tract with the inability to digest fibers, which are found in carbohydrates, ferrets have to be exclusively fed meat, a very high and nutritious protein source. Hence they must be given raw meat. They can also be given game meat, baby food, and dried ferret food, which are all great contenders to become a part of your ferret’s food due to the content of the much needed proteins it has. Eggs can also be a protein-rich diet for your ferret from time to time.
As a ferret’s diet entirely consists of proteins and fat, the protein ratio should be around 40 percent, while the diet containing fat should be approximately 20 percent.
Some foods that should be given to ferrets include raw meats like chicken wings, turkey necks, rabbit, game birds, pigeons, minced beef, lamb, lamb heart, and minced beef.
Ferrets can also be given prey to satisfy their appetite, including chicks, rats, and mice. This will fulfill their appetite and stimulate them as it replicates the diet it has in nature. These can also meet its nutritional needs that consist of the fat as mentioned above and protein.
You should be aware that rodents do tend to hide some food for later on as a measure to save food for later on. This can become dangerous for them as this meat can go wrong as time goes on and can become a cause of food poisoning.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU FEED YOUR FERRET?
You should be feeding your ferret twice every day at the very least. There is a difference of opinion in this; however, twice a day can suffice very well. You can leave food for them to eat during the day and then swap it for something else at night. However, it is recommended that meat be given at night as they tend to hoard it, which can become a problem very quickly as hoarded meat will go wrong with time and become a massive problem for them.
In conclusion, we have determined that ferrets should not be fed dates. It is dangerous for them and becomes a cause of disease due to their inability to pass it on. Ferrets are strictly carnivores for this very reason, and they do not need the nutritional benefits that come with dates. However, there are some exceptions to the carnivorous rule. You can sometimes feed your ferret a few vegetables from time to time to combat a disease called scurvy that might stem from the inability to produce vitamin C. These vegetables are classified in a list of safe vegetables that include things like mushrooms, potatoes, squash, etc., however, they should be fed in a very moderate amount. Ferrets being carnivores, should only be given protein sources that come from meat. You should buy this meat from pet stores or other establishments that might be able to have some. Ferrets also tend to hoard meat, leading to complications like food poisoning due to the meat going bad.