10 Best Ferret Foods of 2020
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Ferrets are a cute and playful alternative to traditional house pets. Bred from European polecats, these quirky little animals were originally used to hunt rabbits. Today, ferrets are mostly kept as pets. But they do have some specialized needs that need extra attention.
Are you a new ferret owner, possibly confused about what to feed your new pet? The good news is that commercial ferret foods are now available to address their specific dietary needs. There are still several brands available, so let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.
What are the Dietary Requirements for Ferrets?
Ferrets have a very high metabolism and a short digestive tract so they will require frequent, small meals. Most ferrets will eat 8-10 small meals of commercial pellet food on a given day. Due to the frequency of their feedings, it is best to keep a supply of food available at all times.
Look for foods that are high in protein and fat:
- 30-40% protein content
- Animal-based proteins
- 20-30% fat content
- Low carbohydrate content
- Less than 3% fiber
Ferrets are predatory carnivores. Their diet should be high in animal-based proteins with no plant-based materials. In fact, some fruits like grapes (and raisins) are actually toxic to these furry little guys.
#1 – Wysong Archetype Ferret Food
Wysong Archetype is a raw meat food product that is freeze-dried to maintain freshness. It is a meat product that most closely resembles the ideal ferret diet and it is provided by the industry leader in quality ferret foods.
What we love about Wysong Archetype:
- Produced by a reputable, old-standard’ company.
- Meat-based, starch-free option.
- Raw meat product instead of processed kibble with harmful fillers.
What we didn’t like about Wysong Archetype:
- May not be as palatable as traditional kibble varieties. Some ferrets will not eat.
- Packages contain a lot of crumbs that are difficult, if not impossible, to rehydrate.
#2 – Zupreem Premium Ferret Diet
Zupreem premium ferret food is a completely balanced formula that requires absolutely no supplements. 40% crude protein, 20% fat, and 3% fiber is perfectly aligned with suggested dietary guidelines. Plus, this highly digestible formula is made with real chicken and egg protein
What we love about Zupreem Premium Ferret Food:
- Made with real, fresh (never frozen) chicken and egg for high-quality protein.
- Perfectly balanced formula
- Fan-favorite with loads of good reviews from fellow ferret owners attesting to its palatability.
What we didn’t like about Zupreem Premium Ferret Food:
- Wheat flour and potato protein rank pretty high on the ingredient list. We would prefer to see only animal-based proteins in the first 3 ingredients.
#3 – Higgins In Tune, Grain-free Ferret Diet
Higgins In Tune is a balanced diet ferret food with 40% protein and 20% fat, matching dietary guidelines. Protein comes from quality sources like easily digestible poultry, including turkey and chicken. And, Alaskan-caught Pollak processed right in the boat to preserve nutrients
What we love about Higgins In Tune:
- Made with Alaskan Pollock from a sustainable fishery. Processed in the boat to preserve nutrients.
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
- All the good stuff: DHA, Omega-3, Omega-6, and taurine.
What we didn’t like about Higgins In Tune:
- The ingredient list includes peas, potato protein, pea starch, and flaxseed which are not consistent with a carnivorous diet.
#4- Wysong Epigen 90 Ferret Food
With 90% meat-based ingredients, Wysong Epigen 90 most closely resembles a ferret’s natural diet. What’s in the other 10%? Not starch, which is often used as fillers for pellet foods. The manufacturer prides itself on eliminating this digestible carbohydrate.
What we love about Wysong Epigen 90:
- Made in the USA with USDA and FDA approved ingredient sources.
- 62% animal-based proteins
- Reputable company with a high commitment to providing quality foods
What we did not like about Wysong Epigen 90:
- Some ferret owners have reported digestive upset with this formula.
- 18% fat content is a little lower than the suggested target.
- The current formula contains things like coconut oil and chia seeds which are plant-based materials, typically incompatible with ferret diets.
#5 – Kaytee Premium Ferret Food
Kaytee Premium Ferret food checks all of the right boxes with 42% crude protein and 20% crude fat. This formula is available in two flavors – turkey or chicken to provide tasty variety to your furry little ferrets. Both are highly digestible poultry proteins.
What we love about Kaytee Premium Ferret Food;
- Meets appropriate dietary guidelines for protein and fat content.
- Good value with an affordable price point.
- Includes taurine, an essential amino acid with a long list of health benefits.
What we did not like about Kaytee Premium Ferret Food:
- Some owners reported serious medical complications that they attributed to feeding this food, like kidney stones and intestinal blockages.
- High fiber content, up to 5% exceeds suggested dietary guidelines.
- Pea Flour is the 3rd listed ingredient meaning this food contains a high proportion of plant-based material which is considered incompatible with a typical ferret diet.
#6 – Marshall Premium Ferret Food
Marshall premium ferret food is a good choice for all life stages. It is made with highly digestible poultry proteins and special attention is paid during processing to ensure nutrient-values are not compromised.
What we love about Marshall Premium Ferret Food:
- Special low-temp processing preserves nutrients.
- High in protein with not less than 38% crude protein content.
- All life stages food, rich in Omega-3’s and 6’s
What we didn’t like about Marshall Premium Ferret Food:
- Made with cornmeal filler.
- A little light on the fat content at only 18%.
- High sugar content and plenty of filler ingredients lead to weight gain for some ferrets.
#7 – Mazuri Complete Ferret Food
Mazuri complete ferret food is an all life stages formula with high animal-based proteins and low starches – appropriate for a carnivorous diet. It is highly palatable and easily digestible, which is backed up by dozens of consumer reviews from happy ferret owners.
What we love about Mazuri Complete Ferret Food:
- Less than 15% starches like common fillers including cornmeal and potato. Low starch content is more appropriate for carnivores.
- Tasty and digestible. Good for picky eaters.
- Contains Fish oils, vitamin E and probiotics. Meets guidelines for protein and fat content.
What we didn’t like about Mazuri Complete Ferret Food:
- Brown rice and soybean meal and the 2nd and 3rd listed ingredients. Both are plant-based materials and are not compatible with a quality ferret diet.
- Fiber content is high at 4%. The recommended guidelines are not to exceed 3%.
- Overall questionable ingredient list, including preservative choices.
#8 – Sheppard and Greene Adult Ferret Food
Sheppard and Greene is an adult ferret food with all of the right proportions on protein, fat, and fiber content. It boasts a few benefits, including a healthier immune system, less shedding, and more solid fecal matter. Many ferret owners will combine this food with other brands to combat diarrhea.
What we love about Farnam’s Sheppard and Greene:
- No more smellies. Numerous reviews claim that this food has cleaned up the smell of their ferret wastes.
- Real chicken is the very first ingredient.
- The balanced formula provides 36% protein, 20% fat and 3% fiber.
What we don’t love about Farnam’s Sheppard and Greene:
- Multiple plant-based products like cornmeal, brown rice, and beet pulp which are not great for a carnivorous diet.
#9 – Wild Harvest Advanced Nutrition Ferret Food
Wild Harvest is a budget-friendly ferret food that still offers a balanced, high-protein diet supplemented with taurine. Consumer reviews indicate that many ferret owners find it to be well-received with their furry friends, suggesting a good taste.
What we love about Wild Harvest:
- Affordable option.
- Contains taurine, an essential amino acid with many health benefits.
- High protein formula with 40% crude protein.
What we didn’t like about Wild Harvest:
- Low (15%) in fats which are essential for healthy skin and coat. And, corn oil is listed as a primary source of fat.
- High in fiber at 8%. Suggested dietary guidelines call for no more than 3%.
#10 – Solid Gold Indigo Moon
Before ferret foods were commercially available many owners fed cat food. Most high-quality cat food formulas meet all of the same requirements of a carnivorous diet and work well as an appropriate ferret food.
What we love about Solid Gold Indigo:
- Natural, grain-free formula.
- High protein (42%) and low carbohydrate formula that is great for carnivores.
- Wild-caught Alaskan Pollock provides a palatable source of protein and Omega-3’s and 6’s.
What we don’t like about Solid Gold Indigo:
- Like other commercially available foods, it contains peas and carrots which are not ideal for ferrets.
- Technically this is cat food and is not even formulated with ferrets in mind.
There are a number of commercial options available for processed kibble ferret foods. Unfortunately, none of them will fit the bill of the perfect ferret diet’ as all contain minimal amounts of plant-based materials like cornmeal, peas, potato starches, and the like.
The best diet for a ferret is a 100% raw meat diet, but that is expensive and inconvenient. Kibble is much easier to free-feed in order to accommodate a ferret’s need for 8-10 meals per day. All of the products on this list are suitable in moderation. Many ferret owners who feed commercial kibble will rotate or combine multiple products which may lessen the impact of one formula.
Focus on providing a balanced diet and minimizing the amount of filler ingredients by choosing a quality ferret food.
Ferret Diet FAQ
If you’re planning on owning a pet, but don’t want to go for a generally large-sized one, why not consider a pet ferret, they’re fuzzy and cuddly and make excellent household companions. Ferrets are vicious carnivores, so if you were planning on making your pet ferret vegetarian, you’re going to have a tough time. So what exactly do ferrets eat? here are a bunch of frequently asked questions about pet ferrets and what they eat:
Q: Do ferrets eat cats?
A: Ferrets do not naturally eat cats, it’s completely safe to have both in the same household as long as they are properly trained to coexist with each other, you can do this by slowly and gradually introducing both pets to each other, while properly supervising them both of course in case of any mishaps, ferrets can be fed cat food but it is advised not to feed them fish-flavored cat food as that may cause odor problems.
Q: Do ferrets eat mice?
A: Absolutely, ferrets can be fed mice, it has essentially been part of their food chain for thousands of years, however, it is ill-advised to feed them too many mice, as that can make them ill. The mice need to be free of germs or bacteria and fresh for your ferret to eat them.
Q: Do ferrets eat rabbits?
A: Like mice, rabbits have been hunted using ferrets in the past as well, hence if you already own a rabbit, buying a pet ferret and keeping them both in the household will not yield a pretty result, so yes, ferrets do eat rabbits and other rodents.
Q: Do ferrets eat snakes?
A: Ferrets, like weasels, will attack and kill snakes in the wild, however, their diet does not usually consist of eating them as they prefer rodents and small birds, in the end, it really depends on what your pet ferret prefers.
Q: Do ferrets eat prairie dogs?
A: In the wild, prairie dogs make up most of the ferrets’ diet, they eat about 100 in a year, so it’s safe to say that pet ferrets love eating prairie dogs.
Q: What do ferrets eat in general?
A: Like we’ve already mentioned before, ferrets are strict carnivores, which means they’re obligated to eat almost anything containing meat in general.
Q: What do ferrets eat in the wild?
A: Prairie dogs make up about 90% of their diet in the wild, they also eat rabbits, rats, and small-sized birds.
Q: Can ferrets eat fruit?
A: You should never, ever feed your pet ferret fruits or vegetables, they are strict carnivores that only eat meat, feeding your ferret fruit could really give them digestion problems in the form of intestinal blockages, and you wouldn’t want that happening to the poor thing, so it’s best to stay away from fruits and vegetables.
Q: Can ferrets eat dog food?
A: No, feeding your pet ferret dog food is not recommended, ferrets need a high dosage of protein in their diet and dog food doesn’t really contain that much, dog food also consists of fiber and vegetable protein, which cannot be digested by ferrets.
Q: Can ferrets eat eggs?
A: Ferrets absolutely love raw eggs as they’re full of essential proteins, make sure the egg is fresh and new before feeding it to your ferret though or it’ll get sick.
Q: Can ferrets eat peanut butter?
A: It is not recommended to feed your ferret sugar-containing food products, so peanut butter is a no in this case unless you plan on giving your ferret bitter medication, then small amounts of peanut butter (of the NON-chunky type) may be given sparingly.
Q: Can ferrets eat fish?
A: Ferrets can eat fish, although it’s not part of their natural diet, it depends on the preference of your pet ferret but they usually go for meats instead of fish.
Q: Can ferrets eat chocolate?
A: NEVER feed your pet ferret chocolate, it is considered toxic for them and will make them ill, this is because they cannot digest it, so refrain from the chocolate goodness.
Q: Can ferrets eat apples?
A: Like we’ve said before, it is not recommended that you ever feed your pet ferrets fruit of any kind, they cannot digest the fiber and that includes apples.
Q: Can ferrets eat grapes?
A: Grapes also contain fiber as they’re classified as fruits, so you should not feed them to your ferrets.
Q: Can ferrets eat ham?
A: It should normally be fine to feed your ferret ham as it’s a meat and full of protein, but only sparingly, as most ham present in the human household is processed and has extra ingredients added to it, which isn’t good news for the ferret since they’re used to eating raw meat in the wild, however, small amounts of ham occasionally should be perfectly fine as a treat.
Q: Can ferrets eat human food?
A: As long as the food doesn’t involve fruits, vegetables or grain and is mostly raw or unprocessed meat, it should be fine to feed your ferret human food that doesn’t contradict with the above list.
Taking care of a pet ferret is no walk in the park, it needs to be under constant supervision and fed only the right stuff if you’re sure you can “meat” all its needs then a ferret would make an excellent furry pet and companion.
- What Do Ferrets Eat? A Guide to Feeding Your Ferret
- Ferret Care Tips: How To Properly Care For Your Ferret
- 10 Very Unique & Interesting Facts about Ferrets
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