Everything That You Need to Know About Bacon and Ferret Diet.
It was a Sunday afternoon when I was lazily feasting on my favorite bacon sandwich. Just as I was about to take another bite, I saw my pet ferret watching me intently. That’s when I thought that Can Ferrets Eat Bacon?
I wanted to treat my ferret with some bacon. However, I was unsure as I had made a terrible mistake of feeding my furry friend with peanut butter in the past. I couldn’t afford to make another mistake!
I am relieved I did not give the whole bacon piece to my ferret, as it is not advisable owing to the high content of sugar and nitrate salts in it.
Let’s discuss in detail if bacon fits in the ideal ferret’s diet.
Can Ferrets Eat Bacon?
The answer to Can Ferrets Eat Bacon is a YES. However, it is not at all recommended.
Taking into consideration bacon’s nutritional value, it consists of 10-15% fat and 15-20% protein. This might seem like a good fit in your ferret’s diet, which requires 15% fat and 30% meat-based protein, but it is not!
Before we discuss any further, let’s discuss in brief your furry friend’s delicate digestive system and the complex carbohydrates.
Your Ferret’s Digestive System
Ferrets have a very simple digestive system which mainly consists of the stomach, duodenum, jejuno-ileum, colon, and rectum. They do not possess caecum which is responsible for producing the bacteria that can digest complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are basically carbohydrates that contain long and complex chains of sugar and they are high in fiber. It takes longer to digest these types of carbohydrates.
Can Ferrets Digest Bacon?
Ferrets are obligate carnivores and their main source of nutrition is raw meat protein.
With the above explanation, you can definitely understand that your ferret does not have a natural ability to process carbohydrates, and hence, you should not feed him with food containing complex carbohydrates.
Bacon is processed meat packed with sugar, salt, and fats! None that is recommended for your furry friend! Moreover, bacon is a kind of complex carbohydrate, which the ferret cannot digest.
Also, since ferrets are unable to digest fibers, they cannot absorb any nutrition from fiber rich foods.
You should provide a protein rich diet to your ferret with little or no carbohydrates and sugar. A poor diet can have fatal effects on your ferret, making him suffer from many diseases. It is very important to keep a close watch on what your ferret eats.
Thus, even though ferrets can eat bacon, you should refrain from feeding bacon to ferrets.
Is Bacon Safe for Ferrets?
No matter how tasty and relishing bacon is, it is NOT AT ALL SAFE for your ferret. There are many health concerns if you provide bacon to your ferret.
The 4 major points of health concerns include:
1. Bacon Is Packed With Sugar
Bacon is processed meat and it is packed with sugar. This undoubtedly enhances the flavor of bacon, but it is extremely unhealthy for your ferret.
Your ferret’s small digestive system cannot process a lot of sugar. Higher content of sugar can also lead to a rise in the blood sugar level. This can cause insulinoma – cancer of the beta cells of the pancreas in your ferret.
High sugar levels can also cause tooth decay in your ferret.
2. Bacon Is Packed With Salt
Most of the bacon contains salt which is extremely harmful to your ferret’s delicate digestive system.
Your ferret will not be able to process the high salt content and it can lead to salt poisoning.
Salt poisoning usually occurs if you are feeding your ferret a diet that contains high salt levels. Some of the things you should avoid include bacon, fish, ham, cured meat, and human food like chips.
Salt poisoning is a serious condition. Your ferret will show signs such as getting lethargic and depressed if he is suffering from salt poisoning. You can also expect spasms to follow which can sometimes lead to the death of your ferret.
Apart from this, meat loaded with salt can also cause inflammation in your ferret, as they are prone to arthritis as they grow older.
3. Your Ferret Can Suffer From Ailments Due to Improper Diet
If you do not provide a well balanced diet to your furry friend, he can suffer from ailments like tumors and cancer.
Moreover, the presence of excess nitrates can also lead to bladder stones, skin issues and can affect the reproduction ability of a female ferret which in turn will adversely affect the baby ferret.
Your ferret might also suffer from hair fall, which can cause hairballs in the ferret if he is constantly licking his skin.
4. Issues With Industrially Produced Bacon
Most of the time, you will pick up bacon from a store that is industrially produced. Hence, the bacon is not in a raw and pure form. Below processes on the bacon can make it extremely unsuitable for your ferret’s diet:
- Addition of Preservatives
- Inclusion of nitrates
- Addition of salt
- Addition of Flavor enhancers
- Curing of bacon
- Smoking the bacon
Best 3 Ways To Serve Bacon To Your Ferret
If you wish to give bacon to your ferret, consider the below 3 points:
1. Purchase the Bacon Directly From a Local Farmer
You should always try to get the bacon directly from the local farmer market. Fresh meat is way better than the store bought bacon.
If you purchase the bacon directly from the farmer’s market, you will get bacon cuts that have not undergone the curing and salting process. These are much better and safer than deli meat.
2. Search For Uncured and Unseasoned Bacon Online
You can look out for options online and search for uncured and unseasoned bacon online. It may be a bit expensive, but at least it will be a bit more healthy for your ferret.
Have a look at this bacon I found online.
3. Serve the Bacon in Form of Small Pieces to Your Ferret
You need to make sure that the bacon is cut into small equal pieces before serving it to your ferret.
Your ferret might simply try to swallow the big chunks or big pieces and might end up having long strands of bacon fat in their tiny throat.
Can Ferrets Eat Raw Bacon?
Since your ferret can eat raw egg, you may ponder if ferrets can eat raw bacon too. Yes, your ferret can eat raw bacon.
A ferret’s natural diet in the wild was to eat raw meat. Hence, providing raw meat to your ferret is a good option. You should try to get the uncured and unsalted ones directly from the farmer’s market.
If you can get the bacon in its natural form, without the addition of any preservatives or taste enhancers, you can serve it raw to your ferret.
One thing you should consider here is that there is a risk of parasites in raw meat, which can have an adverse effect on your healthy ferret.
Can Ferrets Eat Turkey Bacon?
Raw turkey meat is a good source of protein for your ferret and is also safe. However, do not assume that turkey bacon will be a safe option too.
Turkey bacon also contains a high amount of sodium and preservatives, making it a really bad choice for your ferret.
Hence, even if you giving your ferret turkey bacon, it is best to give only a small amount.
Can Ferrets Eat Bacon Bits?
You should avoid giving bacon bits to your ferret, as it possesses the same risks as bacon. Most of the store bought bacon bits are cured with salt and nitrate. These are typically used to enhance flavor and they also work as preservatives.
Thus, similar to regular bacon, bacon bits can also have hazardous effects on your ferret’s digestive system.
Can Ferrets Eat Bacon as Treats?
Yes, you can give bacon as treat to your ferret. If you want to lure your ferret into doing anything, like entering a water tub to try out swimming, or if he has been a good pet who abided by your instructions during the nail cutting sessions, you can use a piece of bacon.
However, it is very important to note that bacon causes more harm than good. You certainly would not want a treat to end up in a veterinarian visit.
Hence, you should take great care in giving bacon treats as sparingly as possible. Try out other ferret treats like cooked eggs!
What Happens If Your Ferret Eats a Lot of Bacon?
As a thumb rule, you should avoid giving lots of bacon to your ferret. Below, are few repercussions if your ferret eats too much bacon:
1. If Its a One-Time Thing and Your Ferret Has Eaten Bacon Just One Time
If your ferret happens to eat too much, you can expect that he will throw up. This is because his system is not designed to process complex carbohydrates.
In some extreme cases, your ferret might have a spasmodic reaction. You should immediately provide lots of water if this occurs.
2. If You Feed Your Ferret With Bacon and Bacon Bits Regularly
Eating bacon regularly can be life threatening for your ferret. Due to the high amount of salt nitrates and sugar in the bacon, there is a possibility that your ferret can suffer from a major illness like salt poisoning or insulinoma.
As a ferret owner, if you want your ferret to be healthy, let him STAY AWAY from bacon!
Can Ferrets Eat Pork? Is It Healthy?
Yes, pork is healthy and you can give it to your ferret. However, it is best to provide pork meat occasionally rather than a main source of protein.
Another thing to consider while serving pork is that it can be infected with Trichinella. Hence, you should take utmost care to purchase a pork that is 100% safe for your ferret.
If your pork product is not healthy or infected with trichinella, there are chances that your ferret simply might throw up and have a stomach infection.
FAQs on Can Ferrets Eat Bacon?
1. What Kind of Meat Do Ferrets Eat?
Ferrets are obligate carnivores and hence, they must eat meat. Your ferret can eat raw meat or whole preys. Ferrets can eat the following raw meat:
- Birds like pigeons
However, you should consider that ferrets can eat raw bones easily. However, they cannot eat cooked bones as cooked bones will cause discomfort to your ferret.
2. Can Ferrets Eat Raw Chicken?
Ferrets usually love chicken and YES, they can eat raw chicken. However, it is best that you introduce raw chicken to your ferret at an early stage when he is still a kit. Your ferret can experience discomfort in the stomach while eating raw chicken if he is not used to eating raw meat.
Raw chicken and raw chicken bones will be a good source of protein for your ferret.
3. Can Ferrets Eat Coconut Oil?
You can give coconut oil to your ferret but in small amounts. Keep a close watch on your ferret’s behavior when giving him coconut oil for the first time, as he may be allergic to it.
Coconut oil is a great laxative for ferret and helps during constipation. Moreover, it helps to make the ferret’s fur shinier. You can give a little less than half a teaspoon of oil to your pet.
In conclusion, the answer to Can Ferrets Eat Bacon is a YES. However, it is not at all recommended owing to the high level of sugar and nitrate that it consists of.
Moreover, bacon is a form of complex carbohydrate which is digested over a period of time. Hence, it is extremely unsuitable for your ferret’s sensitive digestive system.
You can occasionally give bacon as a ferret treat, but it’s best to stick to high quality kibble, ferret suitable kitten food and other suggested ferret foods if you want a healthy ferret.