Q: My ferret has been eating Fiesta Ferret food, and has some red parts in her poop. Once in a while she has red colored poop, but it’s solid and not bloody. It had red crunchy treats in it, could it be the dye? There’s also yellow. Her poop has gone from dark brown, to a copper color. Orange-brown, is that bad?
Answer: If food is going through a ferret’s system too quickly, poop can be reddish or greenish. If its seedy, then its going through too fast.
Raw foods can also give some very colorful poop – bloodier meats usually produce darker, almost black poop; egg yolk can cause yellowish poop; liver causes black poop; beef can cause dark brown poop, etc.
An odd colored poop here and there usually isn’t a major concern.
When To Worry?
You should worry if the stools suddenly turn pitch black (could be a sign of bleeding in the upper digestive tract, a sign of digested blood), or if the poop has actually visible blood in it or if it’s green or slimey (different ferret diseases can cause that).
A sudden switch of your ferret’s diet can also cause discolored stools all the way to upset stomachs even vomiting and refusal to eat. If you changed his diet, it’s not unusual that he has seedy poo and loose stools. It can take up to 2-3 weeks for his stomach to settle.
Red Colored Poop
Red and yellow in the poop is most likely food dye. Not to worry, would they put toxins in ferret food? Most likely not.
Depending on what is in the actual ingredients in the food and depending on the possible dyes used they can easily change a ferrets poop different colors. I would NOT freak out if he’s acting normal.
Rarely, if it is bleeding from her butt it will be red, she cold have a prolapsed rectum, if she does you will need to soak her food in water before letting her eat it.
Green Colored Poop
Green poop in ferrets is most likely ECE, also known as “green slime disease.” Signs of ECE: watery bright green diarrhea (but can be other shades of green or yellow), vomitting, lethargy, and sometimes refusal to eat or drink.
And it is a virus, so you might want to isolate him/her from the rest of your ferrets (if you have more than one), but they could already have it.
Green slime can also be nutritional diarrhea, and usually occurs when the ferret has an upset stomach. It just shows that something has irratatied his gut lining.
Nutritional diarrhea will go away after the food that caused it is eliminated from his diet. Dairy products does it. Some ferrets will eat cheese, and green poop happens to them.
Black Colored Poop
Black, tarry poop is actually digested blood and there’s some internal bleeding going on (usually a result of stomach ulcers). If you see black, sticky, or tarry poop that smells really bad, then a vet visit is a must.
Its normal for the poop to be black after a change in diet. If you just changed her food, wait a week for the poop color to return to normal. As long as it’s not tarry looking and just looks like regular poop, then the color is just from the food you’re feeding.
Yellow Colored Poop
Yellow, liquidy stool is just another sign that whatever he ate passed through his system quicker than normal. Ferrets can experience gastrointestinal upset just like people do.
For ECE: stool can be yellow and liquidy, but it is also usually ‘seedy’ or looks like it has birdseed in it. Is that the case? Is he vomitting? Lethargic? Then get your ferret to the vet.
Dark Brown Poop
When you feed a ferret kibble, the poop usually comes out about the same color as the kibble.
I had been feeding mine mainly EVO (a medium brown color) and their poop came out the same color as the EVO; I then switched to Nature’s Variety Instinct Rabbit formula, which is almost black and their poop starting coming out black.
On raw diets, it’s natural for ferrets to have a dark, dark brown stool (these always look closer to ‘older’ poos because there isn’t a waste of nutrients, the fert’s body absorbs almost everything in the food. Occasionally, smaller bits of bone will be visible in stool.
White Colored Poop
If his poop is white in color, it either means that his liver is not producing enough bile (indicating a liver problem) or that there is an obstruction in his bile ducts.
This connection is made because it is bile that gives poop its normal brownish color. In the absence of bile, poop is white. If you see white poop in the litter box, see a Vet.
🌱 “Seedy” Poop
Seedy poop in ferrets is a sign of undigested protein. It is also a sign of food passing too quickly through his digestive track (this could be from a temporary gastrointestinal upset, from a chronic condition like IBD, or even ECE).
Generally, seedy or “birdseed” looking poo isn’t a major concern. But, if it is continual then it can present a problem (because the ferret’s body is unable to absorb nutrients, so it basically starves itself).
🌾 “Grainy” poop
The “grains” are usually undigested fat and starch complexes. If your ferret has grainy poop, you might think about stopping the dry food and putting it on a diet which is bland and easily digestible.
💧 Liquid Poop
Lots of things can make the poop soft and runny, like a change in diet, excess water drinking, stress, etc.
If a ferret is constantly having soft runny poop it can lead to a prolapsed rectum so if the poop is runny for too long take a look at the ferrets anus just to make sure they are not having any discomfort (the rectum will stick out).
Bulking Up Runny Ferret Stools
What I’ve found is that 1 TBS of canned PURE pumpkin (either plan or mixed with duck soup) does wonders for ferrets with sensitive stomachs.
My oldest girl is prone to diarrhea and ulcers, and the pumpkin works wonders in stabilizing poo, along with increased bone consumption (it will firm them and also help with constipation [as well as get out small foreign bodies]).
You can give 2 doses a day, until he gets better, then give one dose a day for a bit. After that, you can move to a couple times a week. Since I feed them a raw diet, I don’t worry about the fiber, since their diet is devoid of it except for the pumpkin.
What Should I Feed My Ferret for Healthy Poops?
When choosing a food look for high protein content and your first four ingredients should contain some sort of meat.
My ferrets get three different types of food. soft chewy 8 in 1 (my girl loves the soft stuff) or the crunchy w/ 45% Zupreem and innova EVO.
I noticed that since I feed mostly Innova, my ferrets eat less often and smaller amounts AND they poop less. They’re poops are a little softer however, which can make them harder to clean off of carpets if your ferret isn’t completely litter box trained yet.
What Does a Healthy Ferret Poop Look Like?
A healthy ferret poop should pretty much resemble a warm tootsie roll. If you took a tootsie roll, rolled it back and forth in your hands and made little coils out of it you would have just made your own perfect ferret poop. A pencil thin poop could also indicate a blockage.