A Pet Parent's Guide To Finding The Best Ferret Food

Here's how to find the ideal diet for your ferret.

If you’re a new ferret parent, you’ll be happy to know that it’s actually super easy to feed them. There are so many ferret foods available that the hardest part is choosing the best one for your ferret.

So how can you find the best ferret food?

We reached out to Dr. Robert Fillman, a veterinarian at Geo Zoo, to find out more about the ideal diet for your new friend.

What foods can ferrets eat?

Ferrets are pretty simple when it comes to what they can eat.

“Meat protein that is easily digested is best for ferrets,” Dr. Fillman told The Dodo. “Vegetable protein is not advised for ferrets [due] to poor digestion. Grain should also be avoided in their diet because these pets are not able to digest fiber.”

According to Dr. Fillman, high-level fats are the top source of calories in a ferret diet, so always make sure your ferret’s food has plenty of healthy fats.

Ferrets, just like cats, must have meat in their diet, which makes them obligate carnivores (and raw meat is actually best for ferrets, although not all pet parents want to go through the hassle of sourcing raw meats).

In general, your ferret should be consuming a diet of 32–38 percent protein and 15–20 percent fat.

Raw animal proteins that your ferret can eat include:

  • Chicken (including necks, wings and carcasses)
  • Turkey necks
  • Rabbit
  • Pidgeon

“Mice and rats are ideal foods for a ferret,” Dr. Fillman said. “However, because finding these whole foods may be unrealistic for many owners, choosing specialized ferret food is a better option.”

Can ferrets eat cat food?

In general, ferrets can eat most cat foods since they have similar nutrient and caloric needs, but a ferret-specific food will be more appropriate for their diet.

Cat food is a good option if you run out of your usual commercial ferret food and are struggling to get more right away.

“Cat food that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates is your best option,” Dr. Fillman said. “In most cases, choose kitten food to feed your ferret to ensure that the components are gentle enough.”

Can ferrets eat human food?

Although ferrets enjoy eating human food like dairy products, fruits and vegetables, these aren’t ideal snacks for them.

“Nicely prepared soft meat or meat that can be fed to a baby is best for a ferret,” Dr. Fillman said.

So, when in doubt: Give your ferret some meat as this is the only human food that you can safely feed your pet.

Vet-recommended ferret food you can buy

Commercial ferret food is the most convenient and safest option for feeding your pet ferret.

Dr. Fillman recommended two brands that he uses to feed his own ferret.

Marshall Premium Ferret Diet

Marshall ferret food was created by a team of ferret-loving veterinarians, nutritionists and experts who have been working with and raising ferrets for more than 70 years. This food has 39 percent protein and 18 percent fat, making it ideal for maintaining a healthy, happy pet.

Kaytee Fortified Diet with Real Chicken Ferret Food

This protein-packed food has 42 percent protein and 20 percent fat. It’s made with real chicken, eggs and fish so your little carnivore will be able to happily enjoy a variety of flavors in one. Also, these pellets are the shape and texture that ferrets love.

Finding food for your ferret doesn’t have to be hard. With these vet-approved brands (and maybe some occasional raw meat as a fun treat!), your ferret will be happy and healthy for years to come.

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