The Best Ferret Food for Happy, Healthy Pets

Published: May 27, 2022

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Ferrets, just like every other animal, need a healthy and nutritious diet. Whether you’re a seasoned ferret parent or you’re researching before adopting, you’re in the right place. It can be confusing with all of the pet food options online and in pet stores today. 

We’ve done the research for you and found the top four ferret foods that your furry friend will enjoy. These cute and playful critters hunt rabbits in the wild, yet usually, only eat dry kibble when domesticated. 

Below you’ll find out favorite options that are packed with all of the nutrients your ferret will need. We answer popular frequently asked questions, along with going over a buyer’s guide in detail to ensure you choose the right option that’s best for your pet. 

What are the Dietary Requirements for Ferrets?

Ferrets require constant, little meals due to their fast metabolism and short digestive tract. On any given day, most ferrets will consume around 10 small meals of standard pellet food. Because of their frequent feedings, it’s ideal to have a supply of food on hand at all times. 

Look for high-protein and high-fat foods:

  • 30-40% protein
  • Less than 3% fiber
  • Animal-based proteins
  • Low carbohydrate 
  • 20-30% fat

Ferrets are carnivorous predators. Their diet should consist mostly of animal-based proteins, with no plant-based ingredients. Some fruits, such as grapes are harmful to these hairy little animals.

A-Z-Animals Top Picks for Ferret Food

  1. Marshall Premium Ferret Food
  2. Marshall Premium Ferret Food
    • Contain at least 38% protein
    • Comes in different size packaging
    • Vitamin and fat-enriched
    • Very tasty and nutritious
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Ferret Food
  4. Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Ferret Food
    • Available at an affordable price
    • High in protein and crude fat
    • Added probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids
    • Ferrets really love this
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Marshall Select Chicken Formula Ferret Food
  6. Marshall Select Chicken Formula Ferret Food
    • Chicken is the first ingredient
    • Food is soft and breaks when touched
    • Easy to eat
    • Very nutritious
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  7. ZuPreem Grain-Free Diet Ferret Food
  8. ZuPreem Grain-Free Diet Ferret Food
    • Grain-free
    • Contains chicken meal and sweet potatoes
    • Gives the ferret everything it needs
    • Great option for sensitive ferrets
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

1. Overall Best: Marshall Premium Ferret Food 

We’ll start off with a banger – our overall best choice for ferret food is the Marshall Premium Ferret Food. Because ferrets require a lot of protein, Marshall Premium Ferret Food is sure to contain at least 38% crude protein. You’ll also find a minimum of 18 percent crude fat, which gives your ferret the essential building blocks he or she needs to be healthy. 

This kibble is accessible in small and big packages ranging from seven pounds to 35 pounds for your convenience. Be aware that it is a bit pricey for the quantity, and you may purchase similar food for less money, albeit the quality may be lacking. 

This meal is perfect for ferrets that are at least six weeks old. This is something we particularly enjoyed about this food from Marshall, as many require your pet to be older. If you’re offering it to younger ferrets who don’t yet have all of their teeth, you may make a paste out of it by mixing it with water. 

This mix is vitamin and fat-enriched to guarantee that your rodents get all of the nourishment they require. Plus, all of our ferrets appeared to enjoy themselves. They weren’t interested in other things, so trying to ensure they’ll eat something specific is crucial! Overall, we believe this is the tastiest and most nutritious ferret food for this year.

Overall Best
Marshall Premium Ferret Food
  • Contain at least 38% protein
  • Comes in different size packaging
  • Vitamin and fat-enriched
  • Very tasty and nutritious
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best Budget: Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Ferret Food

The Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Ferret Food could possibly be the best ferret food for pet parents on a budget. There’s a minimum of 35 percent crude protein and it’s available at an affordable price. It’s high in protein and crude fat (20%), giving your ferrets lots of nourishment. 

Of course, there’s more to nutrition than fat and protein. As a result, probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids are included in Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro. This is something you won’t find in every kibble on the market. They’ll keep your ferrets’ coats smooth and luscious while also supplying nutrition for cardiovascular, eye, and brain wellness.

The fact that this food is only available in a three-pound bag is our main gripe with it. If you only have one ferret, this could be plenty for a while. If you have a lot of furry friends, anticipate ordering more nearly as soon as they arrive! 

When buying pet food, one thing to keep in mind is whether your animals will really eat it! Fortunately, our ferrets seemed to appreciate it. Since it is so inexpensive, we weren’t sure, but our ferrets couldn’t seem to get enough! 

Best Budget
Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Ferret Food
  • Available at an affordable price
  • High in protein and crude fat
  • Added probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Ferrets really love this
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best for Flavor: Marshall Select Chicken Formula Ferret Food

The Marshall Select Chicken Recipe Ferret Food lists chicken as the first ingredient, indicating that it is the most used ingredient in the mixture. You may also count on at least 36% crude protein, guaranteeing that your ferrets get enough meat.

Each bag is made with around three pounds of fresh chicken. Not only is this healthy for your pet, but they’re also sure to love the taste as well. It can be hard to find a food that your ferret enjoys, and we think this will be a sure winner! 

Hard food might be tough for some ferrets. Some appear to despise them. This ferret chow, on the other hand, is considerably softer and breaks when touched. This makes it extremely easy for them to consume, and our ferrets love having it available at all times.  

Best for Flavor
Marshall Select Chicken Formula Ferret Food
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Food is soft and breaks when touched
  • Easy to eat
  • Very nutritious
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best for Grain-Free: ZuPreem Grain-Free Diet Ferret Food

ZuPreem’s Grain-Free Diet Ferret Food is jam-packed with probiotics for better gut health. But that’s only one of the advantages it can offer your pets. You’ll love that it has at least 40% crude protein and 20% crude fat. 

Although this cuisine is grain-free, it does not mean it is completely free of carbs. Sweet potatoes are mentioned as the second component! That indicates that sweet potatoes are more abundant in this recipe than every component except chicken meal.

It’s available in a convenient four-pound bag. It’s designed to be a major food source that gives your pet ferret everything he or she needs to live a healthy life. Ferrets have a particular digestive system that necessitates a certain protein-to-animal-fat ratio to maintain their busy lives and this food meets their needs. 

It’s a great option for ferrets that have sensitivity to gluten or perhaps have a medical condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome. 

Best for Grain-Free
ZuPreem Grain-Free Diet Ferret Food
  • Grain-free
  • Contains chicken meal and sweet potatoes
  • Gives the ferret everything it needs
  • Great option for sensitive ferrets
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

Now that you’ve seen a variety of ferret meals, how do you choose the best one? At first look, all of these ferret meals may appear to be the same. However, if you look closely, you’ll find that there are some significant differences between them. In this brief buyer’s guide, we’ll go over the most crucial factors to consider to make your selection easier.

Protein Content

Ferrets are obligate carnivores, meaning they get all of their food from animals. As a result, protein is their most valuable commodity. They require an abundance of protein in their diet. 

The protein level in some of the greatest meals we’ve observed is as high as 60%. 

Medium quality foods have a lower crude protein content, usually less than 40%. However, just because a food has more protein does not imply it is necessarily better.

Fat Content

Fat is the other major nutrient obtained by ferrets from animal-based meals. They require a large amount of it because it is their primary source of energy rather than carbs. To guarantee that your animals get enough fat, look for a meal that has at least 15% crude fat. 

Carbohydrates 

Carbohydrates are detrimental to your ferret’s health. Carbs are not required for ferrets. Their digestive systems are incapable of processing these nutrients. As a result, you should opt for ferret feed with the least amount of carbs. Use caution when seeing phrases like grain-free. Because there are carbs that aren’t grains, this doesn’t mean they’re carbohydrate-free.

Ingredients

Reading the ingredients list is one technique to rapidly assess the quality of any ferret food. They’ll be presented in order of highest to lowest quantity, therefore the first item on the list will be the most common in the mix. Look for meals like chicken that include entire animal origins as the first ingredient. 

The Different Types of Ferret Food: Pros and Cons Compared

The only ferret food that you see in stores that you should give your furry friend should be dry food. Please avoid any wet food you see in stores. In addition, you can give your ferret any of the following as part of their diet. 

  • Pelleted food: This is perfect for feeding ferrets because it is dry and easy to store. Kibbles is a nice example of this. They’re available at various pet retailers. Everything we’ve mentioned above is considered pelleted food. 
  • Cooked meat: Beef, pig, turkey, and other meats Cook them briefly and provide them to your ferret plain as can be. Do not use any spices or add any condiments to the meat. 
  • Cat food: A ferret and cats can consume the same food, with one exception. Ferrets love cat chow, which is considerably easier to find in stores. Be sure to only give them dry cat food
  • Raw egg yolks: Eggs are an excellent meal to include in a ferret’s diet since they’re strong in protein, fat, and energy while also being low in carbohydrates. Egg yolks can be fed directly to them in a bowl or used in a dish.
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements: When wild ferrets devour other creatures, they consume the flesh, bones, and fur, which provides them with a more complete diet than just cooked meat. To balance their diet, feed them vitamins along with cooked meat on a regular basis.

Foods to Avoid

What should you never give your ferret? Here are a handful of food items to avoid feeding your adventurous companion. 

  • Grains: Ferrets cannot digest fibrous foods, so stay away from them! Rice, oats, bread, and other grains should be avoided by ferrets. 
  • Junk foods: Many junk foods are heavy in sugar and starch, which can create difficulties for ferrets, and some are potentially poisonous, such as chocolate. So stay away from chocolate, snack foods, fried food, ice cream, wine, tea, cakes, pizza, and other similar foods. 
  • Dairy: Ferrets are lactose intolerant and cannot consume dairy products. 
  • Dog food: This is worth mentioning since, either to misconception or laziness, some pet owners may be tempted to give their ferrets any other animal’s food instead of cat food. However, ferrets have quite different dietary demands than other pets, including dogs, and this should be avoided. As you read above, the exception for this is cat food.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Ferrets are unable to digest plant-based foods because they are lacking the cecum, a digestive organ. Vegetables are discouraged, and supplements or pellets should provide the majority of a ferret’s non-protein and fat intake. Fruits are a no-no since they include both sugar and fiber.

Best Times to Feed Your Ferret

The majority of living creatures have a set eating pattern. This includes our pets, such as dogs and cats. Ferrets, on the other hand, are exempt from this ban. It is a well-known truth that they require four meals in a 24-hour period, however, a strict eating plan in their feeding pattern is rarely observed. To put it another way, they control their own eating schedule.

Due to their fast metabolism, ferrets should be fed dry kitten food that has at least 30% protein. The most notable aspect of ferrets’ eating habits is their high absorption capacity. Food goes through their intestines rapidly due to the low bacteria concentration. Veterinarians estimate that absorption takes three hours.

That effectively implies they must eat every six hours or less. Due to ferrets’ erratic eating schedules, it is critical that you have a supply of your pet’s food on hand. They may feel hungry at inconvenient times. Ferrets have been observed transporting little bits of their feed to their cage in anticipation of their next meal. 

These stashes, however, must be cleaned out on a regular basis since they will deteriorate if left unchecked. The feeding regimen of a kit must be carefully monitored. Kittens do not drink from a bowl until they are around four weeks old, therefore they must be fed by hand until then. It is also necessary to feed them often, say every two to three hours, a minimum of four times a day.

Verified Review: User Experience

Knowing what real pet parents have to say about the product you’re considering is important. Do you know what else is important when purchasing food for your pet? The price. One ferret owner has this to say about the Marshall Pet Products Natural Complete Nutrition Premium Ferret Diet Food:

“This food has been a wonderful change in my ferret’s diet that I didn’t even know he needed. I noticed that my ferret didn’t seem to be eating as much.. or if he was he would completely dump his bowl out first, almost like a little temper tantrum. After buying this food (and at a better cost than buying it from my local Walmart) my ferret is very, very happy! He is definitely getting all the proper protein and nutrition now, whereas come to find out the previous brand was almost ALL FILLERS. I will DEFINITELY be continuing on with this brand from here on out.”

While their ferret loves the Marshall food, some pets are pickier. Another pet parent sang the praises of the ZuPreem Grain-Free Diet Ferret Food as an alternative to the Marshall kibble options. This is what they have to say:

“I can not recommend this stuff enough. We bought three ferrets and bought Marshall’s brand food. They wouldn’t touch it. So we wanted to put them on something healthier so we tried Wysong. This resulted in horrible weight and hair loss and diarrhea. We tried Kaytee in hopes that garbage food would encourage them to eat. It did not. I had lost all hope but gave this a shot. They are finally gaining weight and acting normal again. So, like other reviews. If you have picky ferrets. Give this a shot!”

About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs, 14-year-old dog, or her cat Spirit, Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

The Best Ferret Food for Happy, Healthy Pets FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is it OK to feed ferrets cat food?

Ferrets may now consume cat food, but it must be a kitten meal with a high protein level and low carbohydrate content. If you can discover food made expressly for ferrets, it will always be the greatest choice for your fluffy ferret pal.

Can ferrets drink milk?

Ferrets are also poisoned by milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products. Choose something different to be safe.

Do ferrets need salt licks?

Please don’t give ferrets any salt licks. Ferrets do not need them, and having them is neither healthy nor encouraged.

Can I give my ferret scrambled eggs?

Eggs provide a very healthy quantity of protein and fat, both of which your ferret needs, as well as critical vitamins when thoroughly cooked. One to two cooked eggs every week is a terrific supplement to your ferret’s diet, and they’ll almost certainly enjoy it!

Should I wet my ferrets food?

Avoid giving your ferret moist food since it is bad for their teeth. Ferret food that is dry and pelleted is an excellent choice.

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