Q: Can my ferrets eat potatoes as a treat, particularly mashed potatoes?
A: Ferrets should only eat meat. Potatoes can work as a fun roll-around toy, but keep a close eye out, because if ferret eats a chunk, it could block their intestines. Mine specially likes playing with medicine bottles and potatoes.
It can’t kill them if they have mashed potatoes on just one occasion, although it’s truly not good for them. Ferrets cannot digest sugars, or high carbohydrate food like loaves of bread, potatoes, or vegetables, and these can cause internal problems over time. So make it a point to check that your ferret can’t get these items in your home.
Insulemia in Ferrets
The sugar in potatoes can trigger insulemia in pet ferrets. If he just got some mashed potatoes one time, he is fine, although make it a point to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Insulemia acts like the disease diabetes in humans – with rapid blood sugar cycling and crashing, wreaking havoc on the health.
If you continue to give your ferret things his body can’t handle, like sugar, carbs, and simple starches in potatoes, he will eventually develop this common disease at 3-5 years old. Unfortunately, there’s no cure, and the sick ferret has to be put on lupron for the rest of his life.
Potatoes are a definite carbohydrate, which is actually converted to sugar in the body.
Q: Can Ferrets Eat Potato Chips?
A: No. No creature ought to be intentionally fed potato chips.
Q: Can Ferrets Eat Sweet Potatoes?
A: Absolutely not! Ferrets are meat-eating so they only eat meat, although they may like sweet potatoes its genuinely bad for them, and their bodies cant digest plant based food so they don’t get any protein or fats from those foods, it simply goes right through their body (if you’re lucky.)
Q: What Should Ferrets Eat?
A: Ferrets are true carnivores, much like cats, and can’t digest anything besides meat. Ferrets require high quality kibble, or a raw diet. They need meat, they can’t digest corn and other grains (all forms are bad) or peas. Together with “low quality high grain kibble” and eggs, potatoes and starches and such are pretty bad for them. Essentially, if a food is not fit for a cat to eat, it’s not fit for a ferret to eat, either.
Q: Exactly What Should I Feed My Ferret?
A: Avoid high-GI (glycemic index) foods, like starches, bread, potato, tapioca, and corn. Even some kibble suggested as “good” for ferrets has a high amount of these starches – like EVO, and Wilderness. So check the ingredients label, and switch out your ferret’s food for a higher protein version if you’re concerned.
Good ferret foods that I’ve found are golden ferret (though it’s a little high in fiber), and AD/Hills science diet cat food (which requires a prescription from the vet). It’s hard to get the exact right nutrition down, but once you do, you ferrets will be healthier, and live much longer lives.