What treats can I give my ferret?
As a new owner, the wide variety of treat options available is daunting, and confusing. Couple that with the plethora of misinformation out there about healthy treats, and the challenge becomes even greater.
"Grain free", "natural", "for skin and coat", the descriptions are tempting. But are they any good for ferrets?
The first and most important thing we need to remember is that ferrets are obligate carnivores. (for what that means, click here) TL:DR, ferrets need treats that are meat-based, preferably ones that are only meat.
So, toss out the raisins, peanut butter, and Cheerios (or save them for yourself), and let's get shopping!
Just like ferret kibble, we have to read the ingredient list. Skip the enthralling descriptions on the front of the package (no really, don't believe the label that says "Made with Chicken!")
Ideally, the first ingredient should be chicken, or other meat. It would be best if the only ingredient was chicken/meat as well. But, if it's a multi-ingredient treat, as long as the first 3-4 are high quality meats, then you're good to go.
What to avoid in treats: artificial colors, corn, wheat, soy, sweeteners, dairy products, and of course fruits & vegetables. Avoid treats that proudly display these items on the label (Banana treats anyone?)
Next, look around through the tiny fine print. We want to see where the treat was made. Is it made in the USA, or another country like China? It's best to stick to USA made treats, since there have been issues with China sourced treats (Heads up! I bought some FM Browns chicken jerky treats since they were just chicken, only to find out there were made in China.)
Lastly, they have to pass the ferret test. Don't despair if your ferret snubs their new treats on the first try. This is normal! They are probably thinking "Hey mom/dad, why are you shoving that weird thing in my face. It smells funny. Eh, well I'm gonna go poop over here"
They likely don't recognize it as food. Give it several tries, pop a bit in their mouth, even crumble it up over their kibble. If all else fails, douse it in Ferretone! (heehee) They'll learn to love it, I promise!
So, what are some healthy ferret-tested treats for ferrets? Popular treats include:
Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Boost Bites (chicken and duck)
Stewarts Freeze Dried Liver treats (ferret or dog)
Wysong Dream Treats (chicken, quail, and rabbit)
Orijen cat treats (tons of options!)
PureBites cat treats (also many flavors)
My guys really love the NV boost bites! I have to seal the package in a tupperware so they don't chew open the bag!
Of course, if you prefer to give a homemade treat, a bit of raw egg or raw meat can go a long way. Plus, it's inexpensive!
Katie and the weasels.