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Ferrets will usually eat any type of meat, regardless of how it is obtained, processed, cooked, or stored, but this doesn’t mean that any meat they eat will have the same beneficial effects on their bodies. This article will give you a pretty good idea of whether ferrets can and should eat bacon and what other alternatives are there to bacon and processed meats.
So, can ferrets eat bacon?
Yes, a ferret can eat bacon and other processed meats. You can feed your ferret fresh bacon, although this is not the best for these types of pets. They love bacon and other types of unprocessed meat as well. It is always better for the ferret to eat unprocessed meat in a raw form. This has mostly to do with the fact that bacon contains salt and sugar, both ingredients that are hard to process for the body of a ferret.
You can feed your ferret with bacon. Ferrets are known to be carnivores; their diet is based mostly on meat. This is why bacon is a great meal for them. The downside of bacon is the fact that it is usually infused with high amounts of both sugar and salt.
These polecats will usually live in the wild, always hunting for food. They love to eat mice, but also other small animals and insects. This means that they are made to eat raw and fresh meat; not processed products. This is one of the main reasons why their bodies will have a really hard time digesting ingredients like preservatives and high sugar contents that are part of this product. High amounts of bacon will inevitably lead to high blood sugar, diarrhea, and other undesirable side effects.
This can be said about lamb chunks and spiced chicken or beef as well. The best thing you can do is simply give them mashed small raw bits of any of those meats.
You should try to offer bacon to your ferret only as treats for special days and when you do, you should try to either mash it or cut it into as small of pieces as possible so it doesn’t choke on them.
What Kind Of Meat Do Ferrets Eat?
Ferrets will consume mostly meat, with occasional bones and offal. This makes them devout carnivores. Their bodies will get almost all of the necessary nutrients for them to develop properly, from meat alone.
They have some meats that they prefer and that you should make an important part of their diets, and those are:
- Mice and Rats
Ferrets are a great way to get rid of the pests around your home, just like dogs and cats are. Ferrets will do a great job hunting rats and mice that roam around their homes. This is totally normal and you shouldn’t be surprised if you find your ferret with a mouse in its teeth. You can also add bought mice to their diets as a whole. They would be very nutritious for your pet.
- Offals and Bones
The internal organs of animals are called offals. Most ferrets really like to eat offals. Although most of their diet will be raw meat, occasional munching of bones and offals would come as great treats for most meat-eating animals. These, just like meat, should be served raw as well.
- Chicken, Pork, Beef, and Lamb
A decent amount of meat of any of these kinds should be a part of a regular diet for a healthy ferret or polecat. These come packed with huge amounts of nutrients, perfect for ferrets and other carnivorous pets that need to grow in a healthy way. You can feed a polecat with either mashed chicken or lamb or small cubes of these meats as daily treats.
The only meat that you should be careful with is pork. This meat is known to come with some parasites that can be transmitted to the pet when eaten raw. You can include pork into your pet’s diet only if you know where it came from and you are sure that it is safe and parasite-free. Meat in general should make up for the largest part of a daily diet of a known carnivorous pet like the ferret.
What Meat Ferrets Shouldn’t Eat?
Even though ferrets won’t have issues when eating small amounts of bacon, this isn’t the case for all meats. Some types of meat are either very harmful or too complex to be processed in the digestive systems of these pets.
- Ants or ant parts
Although ants can be considered harmless most of the time, this doesn’t mean that eating them won’t take its toll on an animal’s health. Some species, like the fire ants, are very poisonous. The sting of the fire ants has enough venom to cause ferrets a lot of harm and even death in some instances. This is why, not only should you avoid feeding these ants to your ferret, but you should keep the pet away from them as well.
- Seasoned Meat or Cooked Meat
Cooked meat should be avoided in the diet of these pets, regardless of its type. Ferrets can perfectly digest raw and uncooked meat, unlike humans, so why would you cook the meat for them? It turns out that cooked meat is actually dangerous for most wild pets. You might find them begging for a piece of whatever you’re eating and you might give in and actually give them cooked meat as treats. Keep in mind that this would be very harmful to their digestive system and can lead to some really nasty side effects.
You should also try to avoid adding any spices to the meat you want to feed to your ferret. Any meat spices or sweeteners will be detrimental to the healthy diet of the pet. Raw meat should be served as fresh and raw as possible because that’s exactly how your wild pet will like it.
What Food Can Hurt A Ferret?
There are quite a few foods that are very harmful to these types of pets, even to the point where their lives are in danger.
Among them, chocolate, caffeine, raisins, and avocados are considered very toxic for ferrets, even to a point of becoming fatal.
Studies have shown an interesting link between too many carbohydrates and islet cell cancer (insulinomas) in ferrets. You can read more about this on The American Ferret Association, Inc. this means that in order to keep this wild animal healthy, you have to figure out a low-carb/high protein diet.
Foods that contain Xylitol in order to be kept sugar-free should also be avoided from the pet’s diet. This also means some vitamin supplements and toothpaste.
Cooked bones, just like cooked meat, should not be a part of this pet’s diet. The issue with cooked bones is that they are hard and can break, their splinters piercing the digestive system.
Some houseplants are toxic to ferrets and although I`m sure you’re not planning to feed your pet with a houseplant, you should know that they are very curious creatures and will chew on everything they see around them, including plants.
Garlic and onion will also be very bad for ferrets, even fatal in some instances. Garlic will usually cause kidney failure, while onions can lead to anemia. Whenever you’ll want to add some cat food to your ferret’s diet, make sure you read the ingredient list. Always go for the quality brands of cat food when feeding a ferret.
Grains and bread should also be on the no-no list for ferrets. These can cause intestinal blockages because the body of a ferret isn’t designed to process the fiber content from grains and bread.
Excessive consumption of grapes can also lead to kidney failure for your ferret.
Some tab water will contain higher amounts of chlorine or fluoride, which would make it particularly bad for your ferret. The best way of feeding your ferret with a healthy diet is by sticking to raw meat, high in protein. Frequent small meats all across the day are the best way to feed a ferret, due to its digestive tract.
A great game to play with your ferrets would be to hide treats around the house. Them looking for treats will stimulate their natural instincts for foraging and will be great for their happiness levels.
Of course, you should never forget the constant need for freshwater for a ferret, because these creatures will dehydrate easily, due to their complex sweat glands. You should go for a shallow bowl that wouldn’t put the pet at risk of drowning.
So to wrap everything up:
- Dog Food – Food made specifically for dogs won’t be made the same as food made specifically for ferrets, which means that it won’t come with all the needed nutrients either. If you can’t find ferret food, you should better go for cat food instead of dog food. If you don’t want to buy cat food, just go for raw meat and offals.
- Dairy – Polecats don’t tolerate lactose. This means that you shouldn’t give them any type of dairy, including milk. It will do a lot more harm than good. It is very important to exclude any dairy products from any homemade food that you want to give to your ferret. This can make them obese and their poops will become very smelly.
- Grains – On the unsafe side are also oats, breast, wheat, and corn as well. Their bodies are made to only understand and digest meat-based products. Any other food types might become problematic for them.
- Sugary Food – Sugar ingested in any amounts by the ferret will put it at risk of obesity and high blood sugar. This means that, although some other pets can have sugary treats from time to time, your ferret shouldn’t. Never feed it fruit juice or chocolate.
One of the most important parts of owning a ferret would be to keep it healthy, and this is done especially by figuring out a balanced and nutritious diet. It will be hard to feed them what is better for their health as opposed to what they would want to eat. Even so, it will be vital for their growth and general health, to stick to whatever food brings the most benefits with the least side effects.
Remember that the best diet for these kinds of pets will be a high-protein diet centered around raw and unprocessed meat.