Ferrets are cute and lovable pets and their inquisitive nature makes them more adorable. Out of the love I have for my fuzzy pals, I am always extra keen on what I feed them. But, there is always one question that always comes up: can ferrets eat tuna/canned tuna?
You see, tuna is a highly regarded fish for humans. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are healthy for your heart. It also contains other essential nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamin A, among others.
But is tuna fish as beneficial to our ferrets as it is to humans?
A Ferret's Diet
Ferrets are a unique kind of pet. Their diet is different from that of cats. Ferrets are obligate carnivores that need meat to survive.
The most ideal food for ferrets comprises mainly raw meat that is packed with high amounts of protein and fat but little amounts of fiber and carbohydrates.
There are a few types of food that you should avoid giving your ferrets. Some of these foods are toxic while others offer no nutritional value to your ferrets.
To begin with, avoid feeding fruits, vegetables, and grains to your fuzzy pets. Their digestive system is not effective in digesting these foods. Ferrets that are fed mainly on these diets poop regularly but add no weight.
Also, note that ferrets should not be fed on dairy products. They lack the enzymes needed for the digestion of lactose found in dairy products.
Additionally, do not feed chocolates (and other sugary foods) to ferrets. Just like in dogs, chocolate is poisonous to our little friends.
When I brought my first ferret home, I was a little concerned after I noticed he ate very little food. I also noticed that my little cutie ate so many meals in a day.
I later come to learn that ferrets have very short intestinal tracks. And because the rate of their metabolism is also high, the food they take is digested and ingested quickly. That's why ferrets feel hungry often.
As a general rule of thumb, ensure the food you feed our ferrets is rich in protein and fats. And since ferrets are initially wild animals, it is best to feed them on raw chunks of meats and bones instead of cooked meats.
Can Ferrets Eat Fresh Tuna?
As ferret owners, we often ask the question of whether we can give fresh tuna to our ferrets. But, generally, a wild ferret would not go out hunting for tunas. Thus, tunas are a meal that ferrets can go without.
However, there is no harm in giving fresh tuna to your ferrets as a treat once in a while. Feel free to give your fuzzy pal one or two pieces of tuna once or twice per month.
Also, do not be tempted to give too much tuna to your ferrets. This is because as we have stated earlier, tuna offers almost insignificant nutritional benefits to your ferret.
What's more, including tuna in your ferret's diet causes your little cutie to have extremely smelly poop. Their fur too becomes stinky. Thus, the question should be: are you ready to live with a stinking ferret?
If you do not mind, well, you've already seen that giving tuna to your ferret as a treat is fine. But, do not substitute your ferret's main source of protein with tuna. Instead, we should include richer sources of beneficial protein in their food.
The best protein options are chicken, turkey, and lamb. They provide nutritional benefits to the ferrets. Also, I have come to learn that my ferret's poop smell is not as worse as with tuna and other fish products. And, their fur doesn't stink at all.
What About Canned Tunas?
When shopping for the best ferret food it is tempting to include some canned tuna as treats for our ferrets.
But, before you put the can to your shopping cart, there a few things you need to remember. As seen above, tuna has little to no nutritional benefits to your ferret. Additionally, it is likely to cause your ferret to have smelly poop and stinky fur.
That's not all. In most cases, a large amount of salt and seasoning is added to canned tuna for preservation purposes. These salts are not healthy for our ferrets.
If you want to give tuna to your ferret, a good idea is to use fresh raw tuna. An even better substitute is unseasoned pieces of fresh homemade raw turkey or chicken.
Any processed food including precooked meats should be avoided since they often cause more harm than good to our fuzzy animals. Also, avoid flavored options.
If you decide to give tuna to your ferret, then you must watch them closely. Some ferrets are sensitive to diets with tuna. Thus, be on the lookout for the signs discussed above.
In case you notice any of those signs after introducing tuna to your ferret, it is recommended that you withdraw the tuna. Then feed your ferrets with other foods that are rich in protein.
It is also advisable that we develop a habit of double-checking the ingredients labels on all the foods you purchase for your ferret. Ensure that it is rich in protein and fat but low in carbohydrates and fiber.
To wrap up the question of whether ferrets can eat tuna or canned tuna, we will briefly weigh the pros and cons of feeding tuna to your ferret.
To begin with, ferrets are very inquisitive. They enjoy exploring and discovering new things. And, they would happily accept to try out a new type of food. Also, tuna is a healthy food that doesn't cause any toxic reaction.
But on the other hand, a ferret that consumes tuna is likely to have poop with bad odor and their body and fur will be stinky too.
To add to that, tuna doesn't have much nutritional value for your pet. It is the best substitute for the tuna with more beneficial proteins such as chicken. Avoid canned tuna as it contains a large amount of salt and seasoning.I hope this article has answered all questions and concerns about feeding tuna to ferrets.