Saturday, March 27, 2010

Feeding the Ferret: The Ugly

     Humans are able to eat almost all foods without giving it much though but we must be aware of what we can give our pets without dire consequences.

 begloopan     We know better than to give our pets even a tiny taste of some foods but we may not know the dangers of other foods until it is too late.

     Pet owners should know that chocolate is toxic to animals. The compound responsible for the toxicity is Theobromine. According to Vet Medicine, the toxic dosage for a dog is between 100-200 mg. It would take less to kill a ferret.

     Everyday in America new sugarless products emerge. These products contain the ingredient Xylitol. The most used item containing Xylitol is chewing gum. Chewing gum is a problem for ferrets in that they don’t know not to eat it. It can cause obstructions that can be fatal to a ferret. The Xylitol in sugarless gum has been linked to hypoglycemia better known as low blood sugar in animals. Ferrets with insulinoma are at higher risk.

     While not a lot is known about ferrets and how they do react to certain foods there have been incidents where a ferret has had a food allergy and like humans, it can be fatal.

     Peanuts may seem harmless but in reality, the hardness and small size can cause a host of problems including but not limited to intestinal blockage, choking, and seizures from allergic reaction.

     Popcorn may not seem like it could cause a problem but kernels that haven’t popped can choke a ferret. The soft part of the kernel once ingested can swell and cause blockages. Most popcorn is salted and buttered and this can lead to unhealthy weight gain.

     Seeds aren’t digestible and could cause blockages along with the possibility of choking.

     Avocados are poisonous to cats and with ferrets being even smaller; I would personally avoid giving any to a ferret.

     Onions contain disulphide that could lead to anemia.

     Corn is a plant material that isn’t digestible and passes though the intestinal system whole and can cause the soft lining to protrude though the anus. Known as a prolapsed rectum.

     Vegan pet food is on this list because of the controversy about how beneficial it is to animals such as cats, dogs, and ferrets. Which are carnivores and need meat in their diet to have proper nutrition.

     Sugar laden things such as candy, soda pop, energy drinks, and alcohol can cause blood sugar related problems along with tooth decay.

     Black licorice interferes with blood sugar levels. Which could be problematic to a ferret with insulinoma.

     Candy is known as lick and sticks in our house because my fur children don’t eat it. They will lick a pilfered piece until it is sticky and then leave it where I will usually step on it in my bare feet.

      Energy drinks have been linked to impaired adrenal responses in humans. Along with the adrenal interference, the sugar content would cause problems with a ferret that also has insulinoma.

     Alcoholic drinks convert into sugars and should never be given to animals.

     Dog food should never be given to a ferret as source of food because it lacks an amino acid called Taurine. An absence of taurine can result in eye problems that could eventually lead to blindness, hair loss, and tooth decay. It could also cause an enlargement of the heart in cats and possibly in ferrets.

     The ASPCA now has an Animal Poison Control Center that is open 24/7 year round. You can find some information on their site at or if it is an emergency you can call (888) 426-4435. There could be a charge of $65 to your credit card for the use of the service. I didn’t find any information about ferrets so I am doubtful of how much knowledge they have about them.

     I hope you have found this series informational and given you some new information about giving our furry friends foods.

     Any remarks, thoughts, ideas, links to other blogs or websites are welcomed and appreciated.


     Please visit these places as they are great sources of information.

Veterinary Medicine


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