Much like the European Polecats, only cuter, Ferrets are just the perfect household pets. They are small, highly active, and will keep you entertained for hours. You don’t even have to worry about providing them with an appropriate diet, you can easily find a variety of pet ferret foods in any pet store nowadays. But is it possible to share with your adorable little pet food from your kitchen? What about peanut butter?
Can pet Ferrets eat peanut butter? No, pet ferrets should not be fed peanut butter. Peanut butter is not outright lethal to them but can have a bad impact on their health in the long run. Ferrets are obligate carnivores and can only digest nutrients from animals, whereas peanut butter is vegan food. Moreover, it is also a highly-processed food that can lead to several health problems in your pet.
Are you wondering how peanut butter can harm the health of your pet Ferret? Or do you want to know whether or not you should feed them peanut butter-flavored treats? Read on to find the answer to every question you have regarding feeding peanut butter to your pet Ferret.
What do Ferrets eat in the wild?
In order to understand what or what not can pet Ferrets eat, you must have an idea of what kind of food are Ferrets accustomed to eating in the wild.
These animals have been around for a long time, and are habituated to eat animals and birds like snakes, pigeons, rabbits, rats, etc. Being obligate carnivores, they can only absorb nutrients from meat. Their digestive systems are, thus, used to such food.
Do pet Ferrets like eating peanut butter?
As far as food is concerned, Ferrets are quite flexible and eat almost everything that you feed them. They have little reservations about their diet and do not seem to understand what is or is not healthy for them.
Moreover, peanut butter is sweet, and Ferrets rarely say no to a sweet treat. So, if you feed your pet Ferret peanut butter, they will most likely eat it.
Why should pet Ferrets not eat peanut butter?
Let us take a look at the nutritional value of peanut butter:
Although peanut butter is a high-calorie food, it has several essential nutrients like fats, protein, and fibers, all of which are good for the health of any animal. Then why should you keep your little furry pets away from eating it? Let’s find out in the next section.
Ferrets cannot digest nutrients from plants
As we mentioned in the earlier section, Ferrets are obligate carnivores who can only absorb nutrients from meat. All the nutrients in peanut butter, on the other hand, are plant-based, and thus have no use to your pet Ferrets.
If they eat peanut butter, instead of benefitting them, it will only interrupt with their digestive process and cause problems.
The risk of Cancer
Since Ferrets cannot process peanut butter in their stomach, it remains unprocessed inside their body. And the unprocessed food building up in their body can increase their chances of suffering from Cancer.
Should Ferrets have sugar?
While a little amount of sugar is not toxic to Ferrets, consistently feeding them sugar can lead to several health issues. The natural diet of an obligate carnivore such as Ferrets does not contain any trace of sugar, which indicates that feeding them sugar will do them no good.
Beware of Xylitol
While sugar is not good for the health of your pet ferret, xylitol is even worse. Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol that is used as the replacement of sugar in a number of processed foods, baked goods, chewing gums, etc.
Many peanut butter manufacturers have also switched to using xylitol to make peanut butter that people suffering from Diabetes can also eat.
While it is safe for humans, in animals like ferrets, it leads to xylitol poisoning. Because of the reasons given above, it is best not to feed peanut butter to your pet ferret.
What happens if your pet ferret eats peanut butter accidentally?
If your pet Ferret has consumed peanut butter accidentally, the first thing you need to figure out is the quantity they have consumed.
If they have eaten only a little amount of it, there shouldn’t be a problem. Feed them their normal diet and keep an eye for any unusual sign.
However, if they have taken anything more than a single bite, you should contact your veterinarian right away and get them checked.
In case you are not sure of how much they might have eaten, getting in touch with the veterinarian is a good idea.
What about peanut butter-flavored treats?
Although peanut butter is not safe for them, most Ferrets seem to love its taste. It is why you can easily spot a number of peanut butter-flavored treats for Ferrets in any pet store. Although not totally safe, these treats can be fed to them occasionally without worrying. You can also use these treats with baby Ferrets to train them.
Other treats that you can feed your pet Ferrets
We have figured out that peanut butter is not a safe food to treat your furry pets with, but there are many other alternatives you can go for. Following are some of the treats you can feed your pet that is both tasty and healthy for them:
- Food pellets, particularly of lamb or chicken
- Raw or cooked chicken meat
- Eggs, both boiled or cooked with gravy
- Kitten food supplemented with fatty acids
Remember, if you want your pet to get used to these healthy treats, it is best to start feeding these to them when they are younger. The older Ferrets get, the pickier they are about trying new things.
Frequently asked questions
Can I feed my pet Ferret milk?
No, you shouldn’t be feeding your pet Ferret milk or any other dairy product for that matter. Even if you have to, you should do so very rarely. It is because Ferrets are obligate carnivores and, therefore, lactose intolerant. Milk and other dairy products can make their stomach upset very quickly.
Why are Ferrets picky about their food?
In the first year of their life, Ferrets imprint on their food. That is why it is best to feed them all the essential nutrients when they are young. Once they mature, it is difficult for them to get used to new additions in their diet.
Is it okay if I feed my Ferret some chocolate?
No, you should never try to feed your pet ferret any chocolate. Unlike humans, chocolate is toxic for most of the animals, including Ferrets.
If your Ferret has eaten chocolate, they can get sick very quickly and show symptoms like seizures, vomiting, tremors, frequent urination, excessive thirst, depression, etc. If you witness any of these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian right away.
Which fruits can I use to feed my Ferret as occasional treats?
You can feed your Ferret melon, apple, and banana. But remember to feed them these in moderation.
Bottom line: Can Pet Ferrets Eat Peanut Butter?
Returning to our initial question: Can pet Ferrets eat peanut butter? Yes, they can, but they shouldn’t be. Although peanut butter is not toxic to them, it has many health risks if consumed on a regular basis or in a large amount.
Peanut butter is processed vegan food which can build up into their digestive system and hamper its functions, leading to the risk of chronic diseases like Cancer.
If your pet Ferret loves the taste of peanut butter, you should go for peanut butter-flavored treats instead of peanut butter itself. If you want to be more careful, you can try feeding them other, healthier alternatives for treats such as kitten food or chicken meat.