Yes, ferrets can eat bacon. Although it is not recommended, your ferrets can eat fresh bacon. They love meat, and bacon is not an exception. It would be better to give your ferrets raw or unprocessed meat instead of bacon. This is because their bodies cannot process the sugar and salt contained in processed bacon.
Further Reading: “Can Ferrets Eat Cheese?“
Can I Give My Ferret Bacon?
Yes, you can give your ferrets bacon. Bacon is made from processed meat which has been infused with salt and sugar. Ferrets on the other hand are carnivores. They thrive on meat-based diets. So ordinarily, bacon is a great meal for them.
The problem lies with the sugar and salt present in bacon. Polecats are animals who hunt and fend for themselves when out in the wild. They eat insects and other smaller animals like mice. So, their bodies are built to eat and digest raw meat and not the processed ones. They also cannot handle the high sugar content and preservatives that bacon contains. It could lead to diarrhea and high blood sugar.
The same goes for spiced beef or chicken or lamb chunks; give them raw bits, which are mashed at best. It follows then that if you were to feed your ferrets with bacon, you should cut little pieces. You can offer these as treats on special occasions.
Further Reading: “Can Ferrets Eat Peanut Butter?“
What Kind Of Meat Do Ferrets Eat?
Ferrets are carnivores— this means that their diet consists mainly of meat, some offal, and bones. Meat contains a satisfactory amount of nutrients their bodies need to function well.
There are some meats that ferrets find particularly tasty and nutritious. Some are:
- Beef, Pork, Chicken, and Lamb
A healthy polecat or ferret diet should include pieces of any of these meats daily. They contain high protein nutrients that your pet needs to grow and stay healthy. Some polecats enjoy little cubes of mashed chicken or lamb as fun time treats.
However, be careful of the kind of pork you give them. Pork is known to contain parasites that can be harmful when eaten raw. If you are certain that your pork is safe enough for your pets, you may include it in their diets. If not, it’s okay to exclude it. These meats should make up the larger part of their daily diet. Remember that it is best to serve them raw and fresh.
- Offals and Bones
Offals are the internal organs of animals. Yes, your cute little body loves offals. They are meat-eating animals, and they thrive on the occasional crunch of a bone or two. Again, you should serve these raw.
- Mice and Rats
Like cats and dogs, ferrets are great for pest control. They like to hunt live mice or rats and eat them. Don’t be surprised if you find them doing this, it is natural. You could also assist by providing mice as whole meals for them. They provide tremendous nutrients.
Further Reading: “Can Ferrets Eat Canned Tuna?“
What Meat Ferrets Shouldn’t Eat?
Even though ferrets can eat bacon, this doesn’t mean all sorts of meats are recommended for them. Such meats are either too complex for their digestion or harmful to their bodies.
- Cooked Meat or Seasoned Meat
Be it pork, beef, or lamb, never give your ferret cooked meat. Unlike humans, their bodies can process and digest raw meat. In fact, it is cooked meat that is dangerous to them. The chances of feeding your pet cooked meat are high if you let them eat with you. As a loving pet parent, you should not serve cooked meat to your pet.
You should also resist the urge to spice up your meals by adding flavors, sweeteners, or meat spices. Raw meat is tasty to ferrets and should be served fresh.
Some ants are usually harmless, but this does not mean that they are safe for your ferrets to consume. Some of them, especially fire ants, are poisonous. Fire ants have venom in their sting, and this is deadly to your ferret’s health. You should keep them away from your ferret’s cage and food dish.
Further Reading: “Can Ferrets Eat Bananas?“
What Food Can Kill Or Hurt A Ferret?
Sadly, there are many foods that are considered toxic to ferrets, so we have to be very careful in what we give them.
Avocados, raisins, caffeine, and chocolate are all considered toxic to a ferret, all with the potential to be fatal to your mustelid friend.
The American Ferret Association, Inc. suggested a link between diets that are high in carbohydrates and islet cell cancer (Insulinomas) in ferrets. So, maintaining a high protein/low carb diet for your ferret is key to keeping it healthy. Other foodstuffs to avoid sharing with your ferret include sugar-free foods containing Xylitol. This extends to toothpaste and vitamins too.
Do not give cooked bones to your ferret. The cooked bones are hard and can splinter, possibly rupturing or piercing the digestive system.
As ferrets are curious creatures, who do like to chew things, keep an eye on your houseplants. Some houseplants can be toxic to ferrets.
Onion and garlic can be fatal to ferrets. Onions cause a type of anemia and garlic can cause the kidneys to shut down. If you’re feeding your ferret cat food, check the label for the ingredients. Remember, good quality branded cat food is better for ferrets. Even better is kitten food as it is so high in protein.
Bread and grains are also not good for ferrets. They cannot process the fiber contained within bread and grains which can also lead to intestinal blockages
Grapes! Yes, excessive consumption of grapes can also lead to kidney failure.
We’ve not mentioned it yet but tap water isn’t always good for ferrets if it contains fluoride and chlorine. I will write a detailed post about it later on. Sticking to a high-protein meat-based diet for your ferret is really the best way to care for your ferret. Frequent small meals throughout the day are the best way to feed your ferret due to their short digestive tracts.
If you can’t always provide the regular small meals, think about hiding treats for your ferret. This will stimulate their natural foraging behavior and is good for their psychological health.
Needless to say, a constant supply of freshwater is essential for ferrets as they can dehydrate quickly due to their sweat glands. But make sure the bowl isn’t too deep to avoid any drowning incidents!
The American Ferret Association, Inc. suggested a link between diets that are high in carbohydrates and islet cell cancer (Insulinomas) in ferrets. So, maintaining a high protein/low carb diet for your ferret is key to keeping it healthy.
Further Reading: “How To Tell How Old A Ferret Is?“
Each time your pets consume sugar, they run the risk of high blood sugar and obesity. The key to a long and healthy polecat life is; little or no sugar and lots of meat. You must refrain from giving them chocolates or concentrated fruit juice. It will keep them healthy and strong.
Corn, wheat, bread, or even oats is not safe for your pets. Their bodies are accustomed to eating meat or meat-based food. If you make radical changes to this, you can cause bowel obstruction or worse, choking.
Polecats are lactose intolerant. Unlike cats, you should not give them milk or any other dairy. It will do a lot of harm and no good at all. If you decide to give your ferret homemade snacks, do not include dairy products. They will have nasty poops and can become obese.
Dog food does not contain the same things as ferret food. If you happen to run out, it is better to serve them kitten food. If not, a healthy dose of raw meat or offals will do the trick.
Further Reading: “Do Ferrets Make Noise?“
One of the major responsibilities of every pet parent is ensuring that their babies are healthy and sound. It can be hard to find a balance between what your ferrets enjoy and what is good for them. Still, you must find that balance and stick to it. It is for their good.
One of the ways to do so is by studying them. You should observe your little polecats and take note of what meals they like best. The most important thing is that they get a healthy diet whether they stick to beef or chicken. You should also train them to eat healthily. Do not spoil your ferrets with bacon or sweet treats. That will help them get accustomed to eating right. Finally, monitor their bowel movements each time you introduce a new meal. It will help you determine what works best for each ferret.