Can ferrets eat deli meat? Can I feed my ferret deli meat, like ham or roast beef?

A: You can feed deli meat to your ferret, but be prepared for diarrhea.

Deli meat is actually heavily processed, and has sodium flavorings, and high concentrations of nitrate salt. It’s not really good for him at all.

If they accidentally got a hold of a piece, they should be ok, but it is far from something I’d willingly feed them.

Lunch/deli meats are full of salt and  additives, which ferrets don’t need. If you would like to give them meat, stick  with *real* meats (like turkey and chicken).

Good foods to offer your ferret are any MEATS he she will consume. The Meat should have:

  • NO spices, salts, additives or preservatives. This means absolutely no processed meats (absolutely no DELI MEATS or prepackaged/precooked meats)
  • Chicken,
  • Beef,
  • Lamb,
  • Venison,
  • Turkey,
  • Quail,
  • Fish…. (this will give the fuzzy stinky poop) If you want to risk it, you may cook it (boil, grill, fry in coconut oil or a fatty oil, bake,…)if it makes you feel safer.
  • Live or prekilled FEED items like mice, pinkys/fuzzies, baby chicks, small lizards, or other small animals.

Live prey is messy and is not for the faint of heart. This sounds cruel but this IS their normal Diet, ferrets are Predators/Obligate Carnivores, it is precisely what they would eat in the wild.

Can Ferrets Eat Bacon?

Cut out the bacon, and stick with the deli meat for an occasional treat. Bacon is actually highly fatty, and it’s loaded with salt, which is harmful to a ferrets diet.

Can Ferrets Eat Bologna or Hot Dogs?

Again, deli/lunch meat is okay in small quantities, but never give too much. Both bologna and hot dogs are full of salt, nitrates, and flour fillers. These cause stomach upset, blockages, and runny stools in ferrets when given as part of their diet.  Meats high in salt cause inflammation, as ferrets are already prone to joint inflammation and arthritis in old age, so don’t give lunch meats like hot dogs more than once per week.

Canned Food

You can try a canned cat food diet – one that has no corn or grains.  You need high protein for ferrets, 35% or  higher in dry, at minimum 11% in canned.  The kitten foods usually work pretty well. Ferrets actually have a high metabolism and should have food offered periodically throughout the day.

Uncooked Diet

If you refuse to try uncooked meat, don’t bother trying cooked, as it’s not as balanced. Ferrets on uncooked meat diets need brawn meat, organs, and also bones- bones can splinter and are MASSIVELY harmful when cooked.

Salmonella Poisoning

The ideal diet for any ferret is a RAW MEAT diet. uncooked meat isn’t as good for them, since it removes some of the nutrients. (You don’t see wild ferrets using lil BBQ grills to cook their food – they eat it RAW, bones, skin, and all!)

Their digestive system is incredibly fast, so even if a little bit of meat is contaminated with salmonella, it will probably not really affect them. It takes the salmonella virus 6-8 hours to culture and spread, and a ferrets digestive tract runs on a 3-4 hour phase, so the food will actually have been digested and eliminated before any viral culture can breed and cultivate.

Help My Ferret Won’t Eat!

If he isn’t eating, he might have a health problem, and needs to see a veterinarian. Not wanting to eat for one meal can be normal, however, three days in a row is too much. Soak his food in warm water for 60 minutes, then blend it to help make soup. If he doesn’t eat very much, get a syringe and pressure feed him till you can get him to a vet.

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