Can ferrets drink milk and do they like it? They love it completely, but it is not very good for them.
Ferrets love all dairy products, but it is up to us to keep them safe from all foods that are not good for them. It may be okay if they drink some milk accidentally, as it isn’t harmful for them in small quantities, but too much of milk, too frequently will surely be very bad for them.
Nature has designed ferrets to be purely carnivorous and they should be given only a high quality meat, with a high content of fat and low carbohydrates, grains sugar and fiber.
If you’re still wondering what this means, I can be more specific. The meat protein content in your ferret’s daily meals should be nearly 32-36%, with approximately 18% fat. You should also give taurine supplements in order to avoid your ferret acquiring infections of the urinary tract.
Why Is Milk Bad For Your Ferret?
Milk and other dairy products should be given to a ferret very sparingly because they are lactose intolerant. Feeding your ferret cow’s milk like the one you consume can cause diarrhea. Hence, your ferret would be at risk for getting dehydrated.
The lactase enzyme is absent in ferrets and it is essential for breaking down the complex elements found in milk, such as sugar. As babies, ferrets drink their mother’s milk and when they are older, you have to wean them because their intolerance towards lactose increases with age.
A little amount of milk or other dairy products fed to your ferret occasionally and very sparingly is not very harmful.
If you really want to give your ferret milk, you may use cow’s milk with reduced lactose as a treat or use pet’s milk. Another alternate can be soy milk, but this can interfere in the absorption of the calcium, not just from the milk but also from other foods.
Other dairy products, such as chocolate are extremely harmful for ferrets and should never be offered.
What Foods Are Good For Ferrets?
Because ferrets are pure carnivores, meat is their primary food. In the wild, ferrets get other nutrients like vegetables, fruits and grains when they eat the contents found in the stomach of their prey, which are often herbivorous animals. They don’t consume these foods directly.
Ferrets are known to eat the entire animal and this provides them more nutrition than only consuming the muscle tissue would.
It is extremely important to feed your domesticated ferret a good diet that is close to that of a ferret living in the wild. Feeding it only clean meats such as chicken fillets is likely to cause malnutrition after some time. Additionally, sugar-based foods or carbohydrate-rich meals are not what ferrets would face in the wild.
To maintain your pet’s health, give it a high protein diet with low fiber and animal fat. You should occasionally give it a whole chick or mouse because it is easier for ferrets to eat and digest raw meat in comparison to cooked food.
What Foods Are Not Good For Ferrets?
Things you should avoid feeding your ferret are foods that have added flavors or added sugar to encourage your ferret to eat.
Contrary to popular belief, commercial cat and dog foods are not good for ferrets because the nutritional elements in them are very different from the food requirements of ferrets. They usually have high grain and vegetable content as per the requirements of cats and dogs.
Use a water bowl for your ferret. Don’t use a water bottle as it is rather unsanitary and can cause harm to the ferret’s teeth. Ferrets are by nature playful and will enjoy playing with the water too. They can keep themselves clean in the process as well.
Don’t keep too much gap between meals. Because of their quick metabolism, ferrets need to eat every four hours. When you are not home, you can leave food and water for them. Unlike other pets, ferrets only eat what they need to, so you don’t have to worry that they may over-feed.
Ferrets Are Picky About Their Food
In the first year, ferrets should be fed all important elements of their natural and healthy diet. This is because they imprint on their food. In order to familiarize them to all various textures, flavors and foods, give them a variety of meats and kibble.
Feeding your ferrets junk food during the first year of their lives is very bad for them because they start enjoying foods that are not good for their health.
Your ferret may stop eating if it gets sick after eating unsuitable foods. This loss of appetite may even cause them irreparable harm.
To come back to the question, can ferrets drink milk, the answer is probably no, or very rarely. You can always use milk in a special meal known as duck soup, which includes oils, water, kibble, supplements, and baby food.