Walking across the fruit aisle in the supermarket, and looking at the fresh orange produce displayed there, I pondered on the thought: can ferrets eat oranges?
After all, I was wanting to introduce some new food items to my pet ferret’s diet, and the fresh oranges looked very appealing and extremely healthy.
But, as I researched, I was aghast! These nutritional oranges would have been very harmful to my furry friend. So, a clear answer to Can Ferrets Eat Oranges was a NO. Check out my research below, and you too will be surprised at the ill effects of these citrus fruits on ferrets.
Can Ferrets Eat Oranges?
Ferrets are obligate carnivores. This essentially means that their bodies are not designed in a way that they can digest the fruits. So, even though ferrets can eat oranges, it is not suggested.
Since your baby ferret is a strict carnivore, its digestive system is designed to only process meat-based protein. Ferrets do not possess caecum which secretes the bacteria and microorganisms required to digest the plant-based protein and complex carbohydrates. Hence, they are unable to digest oranges.
Moreover, since orange is a citrus fruit, the acidic contents can also possess a greater risk of ulcers in your ferret.
Why Are Oranges Harmful For Ferrets?
Now that you are aware of why oranges are unsuitable for your furry friend, let’s discuss the harmful effects they can have on your ferret if served frequently.
1. Oranges Are High in Sugar
Oranges have a sugar content level that is not appropriate for a ferret’s body. For every 100 grams of oranges, it contains 9 grams of sugar. Apart from this, oranges have low protein and fat content.
Since your ferret’s body does not require high sugar content, if you feed him with oranges, it will increase the blood sugar level in his blood.
To regulate these high sugar levels, your ferret’s body will produce more Insulin. This will then drastically drop the sugar level. Increased secretion of insulin is responsible for Insulinoma.
Insulinoma is the cancer of beta cells in the ferret’s pancreas.
2. Oranges Can Lead to Several Severe Diseases in Your Ferret
A food item can be considered as improper for your ferret if:
- It contains low protein
- The fat content is low in oranges
- It has a high sugar content
- The fiber content is high in oranges
Such a diet can be a cause of several diseases in your ferret. Some major diseases include skin tumors and cancers like adrenal cancer and insulinoma.
Oranges are a perfect example of an unsuitable diet for your ferret, and hence it increases the risk of several diseases listed above.
3. Occurrence of Hairballs Can Increase in Your Ferret
If you feed oranges to your ferret, it will provide all the incorrect nutrients to your ferret. All the essential nutrients will be missing from your ferret’s body.
This can lead to excessive hair fall in your furry friend. While trying to groom itself, your ferret might ingest this hair, and this can lead to hairballs in your ferret.
Now, ferrets are incapable of coughing out the hairballs. Hence, it can also lead to choking in your ferret.
You can help out your ferret by providing these very useful soft chews. They are great for hairball support.
4. Oranges Can Harm Your Ferret’s Teeth
Sugar is not good for anyone’s teeth, and your ferret is no different! Your furry friend’s teeth will get adversely affected if you feed oranges frequently. This is due to the high sugar content in orange.
Apart from this, ferret’s do not possess grinding molars and have extremely small teeth. Due to this, your ferret’s oral mucosa can also get damaged.
5. Oranges Can Lead to Bladder Stones and Urinary Tract Infections
Orange is a fleshy fruit that is high in plant-based proteins. Now, plant-based proteins are responsible for the formation of a compound called calcium oxalate in ferrets.
Accumulation of calcium oxalate can lead to stones and urinary tract infections in your ferret. If stones are formed in your ferret’s body, this will lead to inflammation in your ferret’s urinary tract.
You should look out for the below signs in your ferret to know at an early stage if he is suffering from any infections or stones:
- Unwillingness to eat and a loss of appetite
- Lazy and lethargic behavior in contrast to the playful behavior that your ferret usually shows
- Your ferret might have difficulty and show uneasiness and pain while passing urine
- Your ferret will not pass urine in moderation. It will either be too much or too little
- Unclear urine, almost translucent
It is evident from the above symptoms that your ferret will be in extreme pain and discomfort. Hence, if you see any of the above-mentioned signs, without delaying any further, you should consult a vet.
And, stop serving oranges to your furry friend immediately.
6. Intestinal Problems
The high fiber content in oranges is not at all good for your ferret’s delicate and small digestive system. For every 100 grams of orange, there are 2.5 grams of fiber.
This can lead to several intestinal problems like indigestion, diarrhea, weight loss, and gastroenteritis. Serving oranges frequently and for prolonged durations can also lead to intestinal cancer in your ferret.
Many times, feeding big chunks of oranges without peeling them properly can also lead to your ferret choking up, leading to intestinal blockage.
It is important to look out for signs like constipation, vomiting, and loss of appetite in your ferret.
Can Ferrets Eat Oranges in Moderation?
If possible, you should completely avoid giving oranges to your furry friend. The reason for this is that orange is a citrus fruit, with high acidic content. This can increase the chances of ulcers and diarrhea in your ferret.
Due to these adverse effects that oranges can have on ferrets, you shouldn’t give oranges to ferrets, even in moderation.
However, if your ferret relishes oranges, you can give him on rare occasions. Make sure you peel the orange properly and give small pieces only.
In case you want to give your ferret treat, even in that case, you should avoid giving oranges, as it will do more harm than good. Always search for healthier options to treat your ferret, like eggs or these ferret treats that are available in the pet store.
Can Ferrets Die From Eating Oranges?
Even though oranges are extremely hazardous for your furry friend, it doesn’t mean that your ferret will die from eating oranges. But, you also cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that oranges can cause long-term health issues in your ferret, which can then prove to be fatal for your four-legged friend.
So, in a way, oranges act as a catalyst for all diseases.
The high sugar content possesses a great risk to your ferret’s health and can lead to diseases like cancer, tumor, intestinal blockage, and stones.
So, in a nutshell, oranges can cause unimaginable health issues to your ferret, and if you want proper ferret care, these should be kept at bay.
Warning Signs to Look Out for After Feeding Oranges to Ferrets
There have been instances where ferrets have loved the tangy orange taste. If your ferret is one of those, then we understand you can’t help but serve some pieces of oranges to your ferret.
Older ferrets are more prone to show these signs as their metabolism rate declines with age.
However, you should always lookout for the warning signs. Stop feeding oranges immediately if you spot any signs of danger.
1. If Your Ferret Appears Choking
Sometimes, due to the absence of chewing molars, your ferret might try to swallow the orange, which can lead to choking.
Choking can be extremely fatal to your ferret and requires swift and quick action from your side. Take a look at the video below, to understand how you can help your ferret at home if he chokes.
2. Abnormal Pooping Behavior
Your ferret might not be able to digest the fiber content in the orange. Due to this, it can suffer from watery stool, or have diarrhea.
You might also see tarry poop or seedy poop. All of these are signs of abnormal poop and it simply indicates that your ferret’s body is unable to process orange. Hence, you should stop serving oranges to your furry friend.
You can take a look at the extensive ferret poop guide that we have described here.
3. Your Ferret Behaves Weirdly and Shows Some Signs of Illness
Since oranges are a big no for your ferret, the ferret’s body might behave differently in reaction to the orange intake. Hence, you should always lookout for the below signs of danger in your ferret.
Many times, a quick action these initial signs can prevent major diseases like organ failure and insulinoma.
- Tremors and seizure
Can Ferrets Eat Fruits?
Fruits are not considered an ideal diet for ferrets. Due to their high sugar content, and plant-based vegetable proteins, they will have adverse effects on your ferret.
Some fruits are less harmful to your ferret, and if needed, can be served in extremely small quantities occasionally.
You should ensure that the fruits are served to your ferret only once in a while and that too in small quantities.
Fruits, if served frequently, can prove to be toxic for your four-legged friend.
Ideal Ferret Diet
A balanced diet for ferrets should consist of meat protein and raw meat, as much as possible. After all, your ferret is an obligate carnivore and meat is its primary form of protein intake.
The below animal raw meats are best suited for your ferret’s dietary requirements.
- Raw bones
Apart from this, you can also serve ferret safe cat food, chicken baby food, kitten food, and high quality kibble to your ferret. You can have a look at the best pet foods for ferrets here.
To maintain a healthy life for your ferret, refrain from feeding the below food items:
FAQs on Can Ferrets Eat Oranges?
1. Can Ferrets Eat Pineapple?
Pineapple has high sugar content. Not only that, but it is high in fiber also. Both of these are not needed by the ferret’s body and the ferret’s digestive system is incapable of digesting sugar and fibers.
Also, since pineapples are hard, ferret’s will not be able to chew them properly due to the absence of grinding molars. This can also lead to choking on the pineapple pieces.
2. Can Ferrets Eat Lemon?
Lemon is a BIG NO for your ferret. Lemons have a high citrus content, which is extremely harmful to your furry friend. Lemons can cause ulcers in the stomach and mouth of your ferret.
Also, lemon skin can get stuck in the ferret’s digestive tract, leading to blockage and choking.
3. Can Ferrets Eat Pumpkin?
Ferrets can eat pumpkin in small amounts. This is the only vegetable that helps the ferret with digestion and aids in hairballs. You should provide pumpkin in small amounts.
If used as a laxative to treat hairballs, ferret owners can give 1 to 2 tablespoon of pumpkin every 4 to 5 hours. Stop once the ferret’s tummy is clean.
Keep in mind that too much pumpkin can cause adrenal disease in ferrets. So, avoid feeding pumpkin unnecessarily to your ferret.
In conclusion, the answer to Can Ferrets Eat Oranges is a NO. Since oranges are citrus fruits, they are amongst the most harmful fruits for ferrets.
Providing oranges frequently to your ferret will increase the risk of several severe diseases, and can also cause malnutrition in your ferret. You should avoid oranges even as a form of a treat for your ferrets.
Thus, oranges or any other citrusy foods are highly discouraged for your ferret. Fresh meat and only protein-rich food are all that your ferret needs.