Ferrets are excellent pets and bond well with animal lovers. They are highly intelligent, quick, and active. However, every ferret-owner at some point is concerned if their cuter ferret can eat certain snacks like popcorn.
It is a known fact that all human food is not suitable for animals. However, if you wish to give them some of your food, ensure it is in a moderate amount.
But if we talk about ferrets, what can they eat? Are popcorns safe for them? What are the side effects? To find the answers read down below!
Can Ferret Consume Popcorns?
Ferrets are strict carnivores, and it is preferred that you should feed them meat. However, ferrets can eat popcorn. These are not directly toxic to them, but if over-consumed can cause health problems.
Not all kinds of popcorns are safe for ferrets, but they can eat unsalted ones as a treat once in a blue moon. Buy plain popcorns from the store and microwave until the kernels pop and then offer it to your ferret.
Can Ferrets Eat Butter And Salted Popcorn?
No! your pet ferret cannot eat salted and buttery popcorn.
Like most pets, ferrets should not have salt in their diet. It is toxic for them and can cause severe health benefits and can even cause death. There are high chances that salt toxicity can occur in young ferrets.
Symptoms Of Salt Toxicity In Ferrets:
- Seizures and tremors in kits.
If these symptoms are not treated at the right time, it can cause brain oedema, coning of the cerebellum, and meningitis.
Buttered popcorns are also harmful to ferrets. Because butter is obtained from milk, which is a dairy product, all dairy products are dangerous for ferrets and other animals because they are lactose-intolerant.
Kits feed upon their mother’s milk, but as they grow up, their body stops producing an enzyme called lactase, which helps in digesting lactose.
Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance In Ferrets:
- Abdominal pain
If you suspect that your little friend has consumed popcorn and see the above symptoms, take them to the vet to avoid further complications.
Butter also contains saturated fats which is also a reason to avoid giving it to ferrets as it can cause obesity and your active, cute, and clumsy pet may not act the same due to gained weight and lethargy.
Can Ferrets Eat Caramel Popcorn?
No! You cannot give caramel or toffee popcorns to your furry friend. The kind of snack you buy at the cinema is not suitable for your pet at all as it contains a lot of additives which your pet shouldn’t consume.
Caramel is a product of refined sugar, and it is not suitable for ferrets; it does cause not only obesity but also dental cavities.
Sugar can also contribute to the cause of insulinoma. It is the most common form of cancer in older ferrets. The tumors in the pancreas cause overproduction of insulin that leads to severely low blood sugar known as hypoglycemia.
Most of the deserts and sugary foods contain “xylitol” which is extremely toxic for animals including ferrets. Even a small amount of this artificial sweetener can cause death.
Symptoms of Excessive Consumption Of Sugar:
If your dog overeats your sweet treats such as caramel or toffee popcorns you can notice the following symptoms.
- Excessive urinating (in case of diabetes)
Can Ferrets Eat Kernels?
Ferrets feed upon raw meat and raw bones in the wild. They require a diet that is low in carbohydrates and fiber and rich in protein and fat.
The corn kernel, which is used to make popcorns, are grains. Grains are high in fiber, and ferrets cannot digest them. The reason is that they have no cecum; this forms a part of the digestive tract in the majority of the animals and produces bacteria that digest complex carbohydrates.
Kernels are also hard in nature and indigestible. Eating them can cause choking and intestinal obstruction.
Symptoms of Intestinal Obstruction In Ferret:
- Weight loss (in case of severe obstruction)
- Pawing at the mouth
- Overproduction of saliva known as ptyalism
What Other Food Can Ferret Eat?
Ferrets are obligate carnivores, and they solely depend on it. Fruits, vegetables, and grains should not be a regular part of their diet. Ensure you give them as a treat.
In raw meat, you can give the following:
- chicken pellet,
- minced beef
- turkey necks
Ferrets love to eat raw meat. However, if you want to decrease the chance of illness, it is better that you cook it.
Ferrets belong to the same family as cats, and they are fussy when it comes to trying new food. If you wish to add any new item to their diet, try mixing it up with their regular food.
Ensure that you do not give plant-based proteins to ferrets as it can form urinary tract stones which are painful for the poor animal. If your ferret is between 3-7 years, there are high chances of the development of stones if their diet is high in such protein.
These calcium oxalate stones are also caused by dog food or low-quality cat food.
Ferrets need 32-38% of the protein in their diet and almost 15% of fat. Popcorns in any form do not provide any health benefit to ferrets. Instead, some of the types are harmful to their health.
Kernels are also not good for your tiny friend as they are hard and ferrets like to chew upon their food. Their teeth structure and digestive system are not developed enough to eat tough food like kernels.
You may love your pet and would want to share some of your popcorn while watching that movie, but you should be responsible and be well aware of what is suitable for your pet and what isn’t.
If you want to give a treat to your pet, there are many other options like cat treats. Unsalted popcorns are not toxic, but they don’t provide any benefits to ferrets. Therefore, you should try some other snacks of yours which are not poisonous but also do not carry any ill-effects for your ferret’s health.