Relishing the delicious beef steaks for lunch, I couldn’t help but wonder if my pet ferret can also eat beef. That’s when I started looking out for the answer to Can Ferrets Eat Beef?
Being a ferret mom for just a few weeks, I had already made a mistake for feeding bacon bites to my furry friend. Poor ferret had a disastrous day after munching on those. So, I did not want to feed beef to my ferret without proper research.
After all my hard work of checking out various sources and getting in touch with some long-term ferret parents, I was relieved to know that the answer to Can Ferrets Eat Beef is a YES! However, there are a few things that you should consider.
Read on to know more.
Can Ferrets Eat Beef?
The simple answer to Can Ferrets Eat Beef is a YES. Ferrets are obligate carnivores. So, their main source of nutrition should be meat, loaded with meat proteins and fat. This type of food is best suited for your ferret, rather than fruits and vegetables.
Ideally, a ferret’s diet should consist of 32 to 38% protein and 15 to 20% fat.
So, you can be assured that your fluffy friend will definitely like beef, as it is meat! And ferrets are supposed to relish meat.
Ferret’s Basic Dietary Requirements
It is essential that you first understand what is your ferret’s basic dietary requirement so that it will become easier for you to understand why beef is suitable for your ferret.
Since ferrets are strict carnivores, their bodies are designed in a way to eat meat products only. A ferret’s diet should mainly consist of food that has below nutrients:
1. High Amount of Protein
Red and dark meat, with 75 to 80% muscle meat is best for your ferret. And beef indeed is red meat.
2. Animal Based Protein
Animal protein of high quality can be easily digested by the ferret’s digestive tract, and hence makes animal meat an ideal choice for the ferret diet.
3. High Amount of Fat
Your ferret will need a minimum 20% of fat in its diet. After all, he needs to keep up his energy! Beef, duck, pork, lamb serve as a great source of fat. Rabbit meat, on the other hand, is a lean protein with a low amount of fat.
4. Raw Bones
Your ferret will require bones in his diet as a form of calcium. It is important to provide raw meaty bones, as they also help in jaw exercise and stimulation.
5. Organ Meat Like Liver, Heart, Kidney, Spleen
It is essential to feed various organs to your ferret, as they serve as a source of Taurine for your ferret.
Taurine is an amino acid nutrient. It is extremely important as it works as a neurotransmitter. This means that taurine helps in maintaining the communication between the brain and the ferret’s muscles.
Your ferret’s body is designed in a way that it cannot store taurine. Hence, it is important to provide a daily supplement of taurine to your furry friend.
Is Beef Nutritious For Ferrets?
Let’s take a look at the nutritional value of beef in order to determine if beef is nutritious for your furry friend or not.
1. Beef Contains High Amount of Protein and Fat
Below is the nutritional information considering 100 grams of beef:
- Protein: 26.1 grams
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Fat: 11.8 grams
Looking at the above information, it is quite evident that beef is packed with proteins and fats, which are essential for your ferret. And another good thing is that they are devoid of sugar, carbs, and fibers, that possess harm to your furry friend.
2. Beef Bones Are Beneficial to Your Ferret
Beef bones are also a great source of calcium and phosphorus for your ferret. You should always add raw bones to add to your ferret’s diet. The gnawing and chewing is a great exercise for your ferret’s oral hygiene. It helps remove the tartar from their teeth, keeping them healthy.
You can provide the bone marrow of beef, as it is soft and contains essential minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc, and iron.
3. Beef Organs Like Liver and Heart are Great Sources of Taurine
Beef liver (raw): 68.8mg/100g
Beef heart (raw): 63.2mg/100g
Beef (raw): 43.1mg/100g
Thus, giving raw beef will maintain the taurine level in your ferret. Serving liver and heart will be beneficial r as far as the taurine level is concerned.
If you are having trouble serving heart or liver to your ferret, or beef, and still you want to maintain the taurine levels in your ferret, you should check out this great ferret supplement available.
Hence, by comparing the nutritional needs of your furry friend, and the nutritional value of beef, we can say without a doubt, that beef provides all the necessary nutrients to your ferret that he needs.
So, go ahead and feed your ferret some beef!
How Much and How Often Should I Feed My Ferret Beef?
There is no definite answer to how much beef you can feed your ferret. This depends upon your ferret’s weight and its life stage.
If we talk about the average numbers, usually, a ferret will eat 5 to 7% of its total body weight daily. So, if your ferret weighs 1 kg, it will require 50 to 75 grams of the food.
Apart from this, your ferret will need more protein, and hence you can serve more beef during their gestation and reproduction phases. On the other hand, if your ferret is aging, and is 6 years or older, he will require less food as compared to an adult ferret.
You should always make it a point to serve small portions of meat to your ferret, over 6 to 7 times a day. This is because it has a short digestive tract and a high metabolic rate.
How Should I Serve Beef to My Ferret?
When it comes to serving beef to your ferret, it is always best to provide your ferret with Raw Beef, or Grounded Beef, or Minced Beef, without any seasonings like salt or sugar.
Check out this video of a cute little fuzzy ball devouring pieces of raw beef.
If you are serving grounded or minced beef to your ferret, always look out for the salt contents on the packaging as salt is extremely harmful to your ferret.
High levels of salt can cause salt poisoning in your ferret. Your ferret might show symptoms like getting lethargic and depressed. Sometimes, your furry friend can also suffer from spams which can prove to be fatal.
Beef meat loaded with salt can also cause inflammation in your ferret, since they are susceptible to arthritis in old age.
You should also refrain from serving cooked beef to your ferret, as cooked meat will destroy lots of nutrients that your ferret needs, and hence can cause malnutrition in your ferret.
The only time when cooked beef is advisable is when your ferret is suffering from some tummy issues. These issues might worsen if the beef that he is consuming has parasites. Cooking will ensure that there are no parasites in the beef.
What Happens if My Ferret Eats a Lot of Beef?
Ferrets usually do not overeat, as they have a small stomach. However, these furry creatures have a habit of hiding their food at all the weird places, like under the furniture or any other place they like.
Your ferret may do the same, and without your knowledge, eat the hidden raw meat pieces. Raw meat can go stale and if your ferret eats that, he is likely to get an upset stomach.
Under any condition, whether your ferret has overeaten beef or has eaten a stale piece of beef, he will have abnormal poop, and can also suffer from diarrhea and vomiting.
Can Ferrets Eat Raw Beef?
Ferrets can definitely eat raw beef. Raw beef serves all the nutritional requirements of the ferret and is a great source of protein and fats.
If you are planning to introduce your furry friend to raw beef, you can expect abnormal poop for the first time. However, once your ferret gets accustomed to raw beef, he will relish it.
Also, you should ensure that you purchase the beef from reliable retailers.
Low-quality fresh meat can contain parasites that can harm your ferret. This is the only downside of raw feeding.
Even though a ferret’s digestive tract is designed to handle the bacteria found in raw meat, in some cases, domesticated ferrets can have trouble if they feed on raw meat infected with bacteria and parasites. However, this is a rare case.
Can Ferrets Eat Beef Jerky?
Even though beef is safe and nutritious for ferrets, beef jerky is a BIG NO for your furry friend.
Beef jerky is prepared by adding lots of salt, sodium compounds, and sugar to the beef strips, and then curing them. So, in a nutshell, even though beef is devoid of sugar and salt, beef jerky is packed with sugar and salt.
Your ferret’s body cannot process the high sugar level. The high sugar content can lead to an increase in the blood sugar level, causing Insulinoma – cancer of beta cells of the pancreas in your ferret.
Similarly, a high level of salts can lead to salt poisoning in your ferret
Thus, you should avoid serving beef jerky to your ferret. These shouldn’t be served even as ferret treats. You should always opt for healthier treat options like raw eggs or cooked eggs like scrambled eggs or boiled eggs.
Can Ferrets Eat Minced Beef?
Your ferret can undoubtedly relish minced beef. Just make sure that the beef is not packed with salt or sugar.
Trying to imagine how your furry friend will look while relishing minced beef? Check out this adorable video:
Can Ferrets Eat Beef Organs?
Beef organs like the liver, kidney, and heart are great sources of taurine and muscle meat. Hence, they enhance the nutritional value of beef and you should definitely feed these to your ferrets.
However, before serving your ferret beef organs, it is better that you introduce him to raw beef or minced beef. Once your ferret’s body has adapted to beef, you can start introducing beef organs.
You should first introduce your ferret to the Liver. Make sure that the liver should consist of only 5% of your ferret’s total daily diet and not more than that. The reason for this is that liver is rich in vitamin A and feeding excess liver can cause an overdose of vitamin A in your ferret.
Once your ferret’s body starts accepting the liver, you can then introduce a kidney to it.
You should serve heart not more than once a week, as it is super rich in protein and fats, and can lead to severe diarrhea if your ferret eats too much of the heart.
Can Baby Ferrets Eat Beef?
Baby ferrets can eat beef as they are a great source of protein. While feeding beef to your baby ferret, you should keep in mind a few simple things like:
- Beef should be devoid of any seasoning, salt, or sugar.
- You should slowly introduce raw beef to your baby ferret. Overfeeding beef can lead to diarrhea.
- You should always feed raw bones to your kit. Cooked bones will harden up and your baby ferret will have difficulty eating it.
What Meat Can Ferrets Eat?
Ferrets can eat a variety of animal meat like:
- Raw Chicken
- Game birds like pigeon
- Raw bones
Apart from meat, ferrets can also eat ferret-safe cat food, kitten food, chicken baby food, and high-quality ferret food. Avoid giving the following items to your ferret:
- Canned food
- Cooked bones
- Dairy products
- Dried fruits
- Human food like Peanut butter and Bacon
- Dog food
In conclusion, the answer to Can Ferrets Eat Beef is a BIG YES. With its nutritional value, beef makes a perfect food item if you want a healthy ferret.
However, you should always make sure that you serve unseasoned beef to your pet ferret, without any seasoning. Also, if introducing new food to your ferret, introduce it in small portions.
Thus, ensure that the beef is of high quality to avoid any tummy issues in your ferret when you serve your furry friend with beef.