All ferrets are obligate carnivores – this means they need animal protein to survive. They also require high amounts of fats, higher than other common pets such as cats and dogs. Many ferret owner choose to provide this nutrition via pelleted ferret food, which should contain a meat source such as chicken or lamb as the main ingredient (not fish). If you have a choice, smooth, small chunks are easier for your ferret to eat than more angular pellets and ideally a pelleted food will contain 32-38% animal protein – don’t be afraid to check the back of the bag and make sure you are getting what your ferret needs.
Another option for providing the protein your ferret needs is with kitten food. This has high protein, and is a suitable base diet for ferrets, although they will need extra fatty acid supplements as kitten food does not provide enough of these for ferrets. Cat food has less protein content than kitten food, so kitten food is much more suitable. Dog food has far too many carbohydrates in and is just not suitable for the ferret digestive system.
You can top up your ferret’s protein, and provide a bit of fun, using supplementary cooked meat sources such as pieces of chicken, cat treats and cooked egg as treats. This is great for them, and offering a variety of food from a young age will make your ferret much more open to a range of foods – starting an older ferret on a new food can be difficult, if not impossible.