Ferrets don’t need treats: it’s us human who think they need treats.
Every pet owner wants a way to reward their pet, and most want to give the pet a “treat.”
Ferrets are obligate carnivores: they require a diet that is very high in meat-based protein and fat. Because ferrets lack a cecum (part of the lower GI tract), they cannot digest plant protein. So fruits and veggies are a “no-no” -- no matter how much they beg. Sugary snacks, such as dried fruit (raisins), not only cause obesity and tooth decay, they can also raise the blood sugar, which signals the pancreas to put out more insulin. Stimulating insulin product promotes pancreatic beta cell tumors (“insulinomas”), a very common cancer in ferrets. Anecdotal evidence even points to kidney failure due to ingestion of raisins and similar dried fruits. [See READING]
“BAD” TREATS: Fruits, including dried fruits, such as raisins; cereal products, bananas, or vegetables.
Here are some GOOD choices ferret treats:
“GOOD” TREATS: Cooked or raw meat: poultry (chicken, turkey), beef; “ferret” treats where at least the first two ingredients are meat-based; eggs; small quantities of cheese; a drop or two of a coat liniment.
Ferrets often develop life-time food preferences during the first six months of life. To prevent raising a “picky” eater, introduce your ferret to various high-quality foods at a young age.
Add a new food to your ferret’s diet gradually. Check to be sure that your ferret doesn’t have diarrhea or other signs of food intolerance. A ferret that is used to a variety of foods comes in handy, especially when your regular ferret brand of food is either out stock or discontinued.
The “best” Ferret Treat is your love and attention: It’s FREE!!
Raisin and Grape Toxicity
Recent reports of toxicity due to ingestion of raisins and grapes (what a raisin is before it is dried) has been documented in dogs and exotic pets. The toxicity is shown as kidney damage. Although the exact cause is unknown, a mycotoxin is suspected either alone or in combination with a yet unknown factor.
For further reading:
Elwood S, Whatling C. Grape toxicity in dogs. Vet Rec. 2006 Apr 8;158(14):492.
Stanley SW, Langston CE. Hemodialysis in a dog with acute renal failure from currant toxicity.
Can Vet J. 2008 Jan;49(1):63-6.