Having a fun and playful ferret is much different from owning a cat or a dog! They are a totally different animal, and they need their own foods to ensure they remain happy and healthy their entire lives!
However, comparison shopping for ferret foods is not an easy task, since there are wonderful brands on the market. In this article, we’ve compared ingredients, bag sizes, and proteins to bring you the best ferret food of 2018!
The ZuPreem brand is owned by Premium Nutritional Products, which is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas, and has been used since 1968. When it comes to pet foods, you really want an American company, so this is an excellent brand. They put out not just ferret food, but foods for birds and zoo animals as well. This ZuPreem Premium Ferret Diet has high Amazon ratings and rave reviews from ferret owners.
Many veterinarians expert in ferret nutrition recommend ZuPreem Premium Ferret Diet because its ingredient list has the proper nutrients your ferret needs for optimum health, energy, and longevity. You don’t need to add supplements, extra vitamins, or minerals; this food is a complete all-in-one meal in a bag. Simply fill up your ferret’s bowl each day with this fresh kibble, and they’ll be able to snack continuously and get all the nutrition they need.
Unlike dog or cat foods, ferret foods are highly concentrated in only a few simple poultry flavors. This ZuPreem is no exception. You get one flavor that is composed of several chicken proteins and chicken-based ingredients. Chicken meal, chicken fat, and chicken are each listed in the top ingredients. There’s also real egg in here for a smooth, shiny coat and nice high fat content. This bag contains 40% protein and the recommended 20% fat, so that is plenty for your little carnivore.
As with many premium pet foods, it’s more about what’s not listed on the label than what is. You won’t find any carbohydrate fillers present in this ferret food. There’s no corn, cornmeal, wheat, soy, or fishmeal. The shapes of the kibble are small and round, so they won’t get stuck in the roof of the ferret’s mouth, which can happen with different kibbles.
This ferret food comes in an 8-pound bag. Each pound equals 2 cups of food, so there are 16 cups of food here. If you gave your ferret one third a cup each day, that would last you 48 days.
After researching many premium ferret brands, plenty of owners would choose this ZuPreem Premium Ferret Food because it’s perfectly formulated. The percentages for both the protein and fat are ideal for ferrets. Also, you’ll notice plenty of other excellent ingredients on the label. There are lots of vitamins and minerals, including manganese, copper, zinc sulfate, potassium, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, and folic acid. You’ll also see rosemary extract, which helps with fresh breath!
All of these vitamins and minerals help your ferret’s different bodily systems function at their best. Their bones, teeth, eyesight, muscles, and their immune system will do excellent on this food. It will give them a better quality of health on a daily basis and help prevent sudden trips to the vet office, many of which come from poor nutrition.
As with any ferret food, there are some negatives with this brand. Sometimes a bag hasn’t been manufactured as well. Your ferret could have terrible digestive issues with it, such as loose or mushy or particularly odorous stools. Diarrhea, or even problems with bladder stones have all been reported by real owners. Some ferrets simply won’t eat it and turn up their little noses!
If you’re a ferret owner, you’ve probably heard of Wysong! This popular ferret food brand has definitely made a name for itself providing excellent and high-quality nutrition for your pet. This company is based out of Midland, Michigan, and being based in the USA is excellent for sourcing and using only the best ingredients. It was first formulated in the 1980s.
Wysong was one of the first brands to introduce what they call ‘archetypal feeding,’ according to their website. That means pet diets should be dominated by protein, varied meals instead of the same ones, and a portion should be raw foods, too. This Wysong Ferret Archetype perfectly reflects these core principles of ferret feeding.
You get your choice of three different flavors for this food – chicken formula, quail formula, or rabbit formula. None of them are heated to above 118 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes these foods a true Non-Thermal freeze dried and raw product. The formula is composed of the predominant protein combined with plant nutrients, nutraceuticals, vitamins, minerals, and plenty of micronutrients.
One unique aspect of Wysong Ferret Archetype is that this isn’t regular kibble, as you might know it. It’s composed of chunks, shreds, and powder, so it actually looks like a dehydrated food mixture. Each bag is filled with just 7.5 ounces net weight of this food. To serve it, you can feed the larger chunks right from the bag to your ferret. The rest of it, the shreds and powder, can be mixed with water to create a gravy. Soak it in water for about ten to fifteen minutes. Anything your ferret doesn’t eat can be refrigerated for the next day.
When you read Wysong Ferret Archetype ingredient lists for any of the flavors, you’ll instantly recognize high quality food. The first three ingredients of the chicken formula are chicken, chicken organs, and ground chicken bone. The first ingredient in the quail formula is quail. You’ll also see plenty of organic items like organic barley grass and organic blueberry, in addition to a complete vitamins and minerals list.
You’ll also see another added supplement that the best pet foods have: probiotics. This food has the ‘good’ bacteria, including lactobacillus and bacillus subtilis. Probiotics ease digestion and ensure lifelong stomach and colon health. That also translates into healthy stools.
While this is the ‘luxury car’ of ferret foods, it does have a couple of negatives. For one, there are added ingredients including carbohydrates and fruits besides the proteins and fats. Ferrets are true carnivores and technically shouldn’t be eating anything that isn’t meat or fats. However, the percentages are very minimal.
Also, this food is one of the most expensive for ferrets. It’s the best and has the best ingredients, but that does drive the overall cost up. Many ferret owners use this as a ‘treat’ to supplement a more cost-effective diet and to not have to pay premium prices. You can do that as well, but we do highly recommend this food. While it’s expensive in the short-term, it helps prevent pricier vet bills down the line.
Based out of Brentwood, Missouri, the Mazuri brand prides itself on offering quality nutrition to plenty of exotic animals. While you might not think of your household pet ferret as an exotic animal, it will love eating this delicious food! Since many of the ferret’s wild cousins like stoats, weasels, and minks live in zoos, it was also easy for Mazuri to manufacture this Complete Nutrition Ferret Diet. It has a complete and balanced diet for your little fuzzy!
This Mazuri Complete Nutrition Ferret Diet always makes the ‘best of’ lists, and for a good reason: its ingredient label. There is only one flavor formula, but it contains all of the recommended proteins and fats that make up the best ferret food. When comparison shopping, you really want to find the foods that most closely resemble or replicate a natural European polecat’s diet, since that’s the ferret’s earlier ancestor. Just like replicating a wild cat diet for a domestic cat, you’ll have the most success with the best proteins and fats for the carnivorous ferret diet.
The first ingredients listed on this Mazuri Complete Nutrition Ferret Diet are poultry by-product meal and ground brown rice. Both porcine (pig) animal fat and poultry fat are listed within the first six ingredients, too.
The percentages of crude protein and crude fat are listed under “Guaranteed Analysis,” right on the back of the bag. This food contains 38% protein and 20.50% fat, which is an excellent balance of both.
The bag comes in one size – a 5-pound weight. There are no serving suggestions of how many cups or ounces; only that it says, “For young or adult ferrets, feed free choice.” Most ferret owners start by keeping about 1/3 of a cup of food out per day. If your ferret needs more, then add more. This comes in a dry kibble that won’t harm or get stuck in your ferret’s mouth.
While this is pricy, ferret owners say it’s totally worth it. Their ferrets love the flavor. These little household pets can be picky, so it’s quite a relief to come across a food that’s specifically formulated for flavor. They’ll eat up every bite of it. It also has some fiber from the brown rice, which will not only aid in digestion, but will help the ferrets’ stools stay firm and not become loose. That’s an unfortunate side effect found in other ferret foods.
Another amazing benefit can be found hidden within the ingredients label, but if you can get these in your ferret foods, it makes all the difference: probiotics. This Mazuri Complete Nutrition Ferret Diet has both Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Lactobacillus Casei, which are two powerful ‘good bacteria’ probiotics for smooth, easy digestion. Probiotics work within the colon to extract nutrition from foods and ease them along towards the rectum. Foods without probiotics are more likely to cause constipation or not be absorbed as easily into the body, resulting in a nutrient deficiency. Probiotics are really one of the best things you can feed any household pet.
While a lot of ferrets love this food and will eat it right up, it’s not the perfect food for every pet owner. And that is because the second ingredient is ground brown rice. Ferrets are pure carnivores, and carnivores don’t need carbohydrates of any kind. Not only that, but dehulled soybean meal, soy protein concentrate, soybean oil, and Brewer’s yeast are all listed as active ingredients. Your little ferret should not be eating any soy or wheat at all. This is a very popular food, and many ferrets do well on it. But, we would suggest proceeding with caution, especially if your ferret has had digestive issues, due to the carbohydrates present in this food.
While poultry by-product meal is a standard source of protein, it’s not great or even good. You really want a true protein, preferably poultry like chicken, duck, turkey, or goose listed as the first ingredient. Poultry meal is made from grinding poultry carcasses and can contain all the parts of the bird. Not the healthiest for your ferret!
Marshall Pet Products are located in Wolcott, NY, and, like the other brands listed here, are made in the USA. Many pet manufacturers, even those for ferrets, have caught on to the harmful effects of outsourcing ingredients – so we’re definitely happy to see that with this brand. This excellent Chicken Formula Ferret Diet is popular, economical, and ideal for many ferret owners.
Each packed bag of this delicious ferret kibble will give your pet all the energy he or she needs to run, jump, play, and live a long and healthy life. Each bag weighs 4 pounds, so if you’re feeding just one ferret, that would be about one month’s worth of food. Ferrets like to 'nosh’ throughout the day, picking intermittently at their food. You should always provide fresh water, too.
No matter what age your ferret is, from a youngster of just two months old up to a senior who is eight or nine years, you can use this premium Marshall Select Chicken Formula. One helpful detail about this bag is that it includes feeding instructions for ferrets between 6 and 11 weeks old. No other bag adjusts feeding requirements for the ferret’s age, so you know this company is run by ferret owners and lovers!
The company uses a proprietary slow cooking process that helps to protect the food’s nutritional integrity. That means no essential nutrients, vitamins, or minerals are lost during the heating and cooking process. Under the “Guaranteed Analysis” portion with the percentages, you’ll find 36% crude protein and only 18% crude fat.
The best benefit and the one that makes us the most excited when comparing the best ferret foods, is that the number one ingredient is actual chicken. That’s followed shortly after by chicken by-products (organs only), and chicken by-product meal. It’s essential that protein is truly the focus of a carnivore’s diet, and that’s apparent here. In addition, you’ll also see all kinds of vitamins, supplements, and minerals. All of these ingredients keep your ferret’s bodily systems functioning smoothly.
This is definitely the most popular food for ferrets, with hundreds of positive feedback. It’s relatively inexpensive compared to some of the other brands, too. Many ferret owners also remark that their ferrets really love this food. It’s apparent in their ease of digestion, firm and relatively odorless stools, soft coat, and happy, active dispositions. Ferrets just feel better when eating a food custom tailored towards their unique dietary needs!
While we are thrilled to see actual chicken as the first three ingredients, we were not happy that corn meal was listed right afterwards. Corn is used as a ‘filler’ ingredient in less expensive pet foods like cat food or dog food. It holds the kibble together, but it does nothing for your ferret’s good digestion. Before putting your ferret on this food, please consult with a vet about the corn meal. It is not the best ingredient for your pet.
Resembling brightly colored dog kibble, this Kaytee Forti Diet ProHealth Ferret Food is definitely one of the top rated for your pet. Kaytee is a company based in Chilton, Wisconsin, that internationally supplies birdseeds and other foods. It definitely wins the prize for the oldest company on our list, having been around since 1866.
You’ll really love feeding this Kaytee Forti Diet ProHealth Ferret Food to your pet, since it’s made of fun, different colored shapes like hearts, X’s, and O’s. These larger and crunchier pieces support not only digestive health, but dental health as well. They encourage your ferret to clean his teeth through chewing.
While this bag is on the smaller size, weighing just 3 pounds, it does have a handy Click ‘n Lock sensory zipper at the top to reseal the food after serving. There are also helpful feeding instructions on the back, which not all ferret bagged foods have because of varying serving amounts. It’s suggested you feed ½ cup to 1 cup per day. There are 2 cups per pound of food, so this bag contains about 12 ½ cup servings. There is only one flavor for this food.
The ingredients list also looks very good for this Kaytee Ferret Food. Poultry meal, poultry by-product meal, and poultry fat are amongst the first four listed. Your little carnivorous ferret does need to eat plenty of protein!
We are very happy to note that this Kaytee Forti Diet ProHealth Ferret Food has no corn present in its ingredients list. Corn is an inexpensive filler ingredient that’s used in lesser brands of pet foods. A ferret’s digestive system can’t handle it. This food is also rich in antioxidants that provide both general health and immune support. You’ll find the probiotics and prebiotics listed as ingredients, aiding digestion and improving colon health.
While this isn’t a terrible food and it does have great reviews, it does have some questionable ingredients. Brewers rice, dehulled soybean meal, ground wheat, and soybean oil are all listed within the top ingredients. When comparison shopping for ferret foods, you don’t want any corn, wheat, soy, or carbohydrates. Your ferret might have digestive issues, so take caution when choosing this food. Every ferret is different and has different digestion issues!
Walking into a pet store to choose a bag of dry ferret food offers you dozens of options. There’s plenty of flavors, ingredients, bag sizes, brands, and price points. Not to mention ferret food manufacturers try to entice you with cute ferret pictures on their bags! Yes, we know the struggle. So, we’ve put together this buyer’s guide to narrow down the top three features to look for when dry ferret food shopping. Hint: it’s not always about the front of the bag!
Your little pet ferret may seem sweet and cute (and they are!), but they are also the domesticated version of the European polecat – which makes them a true carnivore just like a wild weasel or stoat. When you take a look inside your ferret’s mouth, you’ll see those little sharp teeth. Those were designed to eat all kinds of protein, and lots of it. While shopping for ferret food, read the ingredient list carefully and make sure the first one is real protein.
Sometimes food manufacturers will put in meat by-product, meat meal, or some other type of meat derivative. That’s not the same as real meat – so go for that! You can make sure there’s plenty of protein in your ferret food by reading the percentage. It should be at least 30%, if not more.
Unlike humans, who need to watch our fat content, ferrets need a high fat percentage in their diets. That’s because they’re so active! True carnivores like weasels and ferrets need plenty of fat in their diets. It also helps create a soft coat, clear eyesight, and enough energy during the day. In the wild, weasels get plenty of fat from eating whole birds or small mammals. But in your ferret food, you need to make sure there’s plenty of fat.
Read the ingredient list to look for words like “chicken fat,” or “bird fat.” You can also check the percentage of fat as listed relative to the other ingredients. It should be at least 20%, if not more.
Humans are omnivores, so we can definitely digest many ingredients that ferrets can’t, including carbohydrates (wheat, corn, or rice), dairy products (milk or cheese), and sugars, like high-fructose corn syrup and anything ending in “ose” like glucose or fructose. These ingredients should be either in minimal and miniscule amounts, or completely vacant from your ferret food. Your little pet will end up with bladder stones, urinary tract problems, colon problems, and other digestive issues costing expensive vet bills. Feed your carnivore the meats and fats that they love – and read those ingredient lists carefully.
The answer varies per manufacturer, so check the serving sizes on the bags. Ferrets prefer to eat several smaller meals throughout the day, so start out with just a quarter cup of food and see how your ferret does. As they grow older and get larger, they’ll also eat more. Many ferret owners also keep a bowl of kibble out during the day, so that the ferret can continuously come back and nibble when they see fit.
Making the switch to a better brand of ferret food is a great decision, but it does take patience and some time to do it properly. Unfortunately, you can’t just switch out one bag for another. Humans can switch that fast, but ferrets can’t!
A gradual transition works best, because your ferret’s digestive system has already acclimated to one food and now takes time to acclimate to the new brand. Start by adding just a few kibbles at a time of the new food, as a ratio of 10% new food to 90% old food. Feed that for a day or two. Then add another 10% new food, to make a 20/80 ratio of new to old. Keep adding another 10% until you have completely made the switch. Doing this very slowly will help prevent your ferret from having very soft stools or diarrhea.
Many ferret owners switch from an inferior brand to a better one because of ferret digestive issues like bladder stones or diarrhea. The first step is to follow the gradual transitioning tips mentioned in the previous question. Then, you’ll start to see an improvement in your ferret’s health pretty quickly, within two weeks. They pass food through their digestive system in just a few hours, so it doesn’t take long for their bodies to adapt to the change. It’s much faster than changing foods for a cat or a dog. If the issues haven’t cleared up after a couple of weeks but your ferret is eating healthy with no vomiting, then you would want to take both the food and your ferret in for a vet check-up to make sure nothing else is going on.
Yes, and many ferret owners do mix two or even three different brands together. It’s a popular option to mix an inferior brand that’s more cost effective with a superior brand that has a better ingredient list. If your ferret is happy and healthy with no digestive issues, then go ahead and mix what you want. Although it is slightly controversial, some ferret owners even mix in a high-quality cat food. Check with your vet first before doing that.
Yes, raw proteins like chicken necks, giblets, organ meats, and regular pieces of chicken, duck, or turkey can be fed to ferrets. Some ferret owners supplement a kibble diet of bagged food with either raw or cooked proteins on the side. You can also find bagged and frozen proteins, many of them meant for cats, in specialty pet stores. They are not as good digesting any cow or pig products, so stick with poultry: chicken, geese, ducks, and turkeys.
You’ve learned quite a bit about what goes into your ferret’s food and the top-quality ingredients you should look for when food shopping!
For that reason, we’ve chosen the Wysong Ferret Archetype raw ferret food as the best. The ingredients list reads like a ‘dream team’ of the best for your little fuzzy friend. What you spend in such a top-quality food, you’ll definitely save at the vet’s office. You’ll also enjoy many happy, healthy years with your cute little ferret. They bring such joy to your life, so give a bit back by feeding them right!