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and even as an aide to ferret introductions. There are a few propietory ferret oil mixes available in the UK but our favourite is Fink Oil (details comming soon). This is because they do not contain any added sugars, all the ingredients are natural and there is no cod liver oil added which is too high in vitamin A.
Don't over do it with these oils as it can make poos loose and there have been questions raised in the US over links to cancer with some oils.
The safest treats for ferrets are raw meats and various kibbles as there are no hidden sugars or plant extracts in these that can lead to health problems. However some treats are safe and can be fun. Below are a few tips.
Healthy ferrets being fed a mix of good quality kibbles and a raw meats don't generally need supplements. That said many ferret owners do use oil mixes as a treat or as a means to keep their ferrets still during claw cutting, microchipping or weighing etc
Pastes such as Bephar Malt Paste, Ferretvite, VitaFerret, can provide extra vitamins and minerals for a poorly ferret and can also be used for their laxative effect to help pass digested fur as ferrets don't regurgitate furballs like cats and fur can build up and block a ferrets gut. These pastes certainly have their use especially round moulting time. There is also Ferret Lax available as a furball remedy.
Treats such as dried meat (jerk) strips can be good as long as there are no added sugars or salt.
Some cat treats can also be used such as Natures Menu (made from 95% real meat), Pet Munchies (no added preservatives, colours or flavours), Good Girl Kool Katz Deli-licious Chicken Bites Cat Treats (89% chicken - dry chicken strips available in most supermarkets).
Eggs can be given, but like any treat it must be given sparingly. It really depends on how much of their diet is made up of egg as egg is also present in some ferret food. Most people give egg as a treat rather than as daily food.
Dairy products - Ferrets are lactose intolerant, so dairy products such as milk, cheese, cream, icecream shouldn’t be given at all as these can cause diarrhea and also bladder stones. We recomend lactose-free milk like cat/kitten milk or soya milk instead.
DON’T give dried fruit such as raisins, or chocolate as these are poisonous to ferrets.
We recomend to take care with sugary treats.
Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine which can cause chocolate toxicosis in ferrets, cats and dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhorea, hyperactivity, polyuria, polydipsia, lethargy, tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, seizures and death. For the same reasons, coffee and any other caffeine containing foods/drinks could prove lethal to a ferret.
Raisins or Sultanas if given over a period of time on a regular basis can lead to the ferret developing kidney disease or kidney failure. Ferrets like raisins because, like other dried fruit, they are sweet and contain sugar.
Ferrets don't need sugar, there are hidden ailments that may not present in your ferret until middle age (3-4 years) such as Insulinoma, that are made worse by sugar. So sugary snacks and treats are best avoided. Check the ingredients on any ferret treats and you will be suprised how much sugar they can contain because it help palitability.
Fresh Water is essential, as ferrets can dehydrate quickly. A large heavy caramic bowl works well as they can attempt to move / tip bowles. Water bottles are good to use, but it is always best to have one or more bowls in the enclosure or home. Make sure you change their water daily and check that they have not turned over their bowls. During hot weather make sure that they have extra water as they will also splash water from their bowls onto their bellies to cool down.
During warm weather some ferrets will enjoy and appreciate a misting of water to help cool them down.
Please see our page on feeding sick ferrets, but this can also be a very nice treat for healthy ferrets.