Can ferrets eat grapes?

What did pretty hobs and gills use to eat back when they were first domesticated by Egyptians? Could it be that the Egyptians used to treat their pet ferrets with grapes? Should I also think about giving some grapes to my ferret? Would a bunch of grapes be as healthy for my pet as they would be for me? These questions used to allude me until I found the answer to them the hard way.

Are grapes a good option to treat your ferrets?

Certainly not!

Grapes are toxic for ferrets, meaning that should a ferret consume them, it will probably die.

Ferrets are carnivores that thrive on meat. Certain foods have zero nutritional value for a ferret’s body, even though they are highly nutritious for us humans. This is because ferrets do not have any system to digest these foods.

Foods Toxic for Ferrets

Following is a list of different types of food which can prove to be lethal for your pet. Be careful to avoid them so that you can be with your little friend for a good many years:

  • Grapes
  • Drinks containing caffeine
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Sugar
  • Dog food
  • Dairy-based food
  • Chocolate
  • Peas

Try to avoid feeding any of the above foods to your ferret. If your little furry friend accidentally swallows any of them, consult your veterinarian right away!

Why Shouldn’t Ferrets Be Eating Grapes?

Grapes are a fruit with an elevated sugar level and lots of fiber, both of which make them unsuitable for a ferret. This is because of the following two main reasons:

Ferrets Can’t Digest Complex Sugars

These furry creatures are true carnivores that need meat to survive. They cannot digest complex carbohydrates because they have neither the enzyme nor the digestive system which can digest sugar. Since grapes have high sugar content, your ferret’s body will not be able to process it.

Ferrets Don’t Have a Cecum to Digest Fiber

As ferrets do not have a cecum, they cannot digest fiber. This means that much of the portion of grapes you will feed to your ferret will only stay in its small intestine. Therefore, grapes will not provide any nutrients to them since they can’t digest them. Feeding your ferret grapes will neither give them nourishment nor be beneficial to them.

Diseases Caused by Grapes

Peels of grapes can cause an obstruction in the small intestines of ferrets, making them sick. Furthermore, the prolonged presence of undigested matter may upset your ferret’s stomach.

Fruits contain fiber, which ferrets cannot digest. This accumulated and undigested food can clog up the intestines, causing intestinal blockage.

Such blockages can be fatal for your ferret’s health if left untreated. Conditions such as this may develop into great discomfort for your little friend.

The digestive system of ferrets cannot process anything other than meat, including complex sugars. Since grapes have high sugar content, their sugars remain undigested, leading to a condition known as insulinoma. This disease is a form of cancer where tumors start to form in the pancreas, which jeopardizes your pet’s chances of survival. Therefore, it’s best to cross out grapes from the list of foods you can give to your ferret.

Sugar is also bad for your ferret’s oral hygiene. Too much sugar can start to accumulate over the teeth and if left, it can cause severe dental problems. The accumulated sugar can form a plaque, which can weaken the teeth by infecting the gums, making them swollen and painful.

Besides, bacteria usually feast on sugar and release acids as byproducts. These acids then cause cavities, which can even lead to tooth decay.

Symptoms to Look Out For

If your ferret eats something which it shouldn’t have, look out for the following symptoms and reach out to a vet immediately:

  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Comatose

What to Actually Feed Your Ferret?

When it comes to feeding ferrets, you can always turn to meat. It is a ferret’s best friend. Meat-based treats are not only healthy but also palatable for your ferret.

There are many ways to turn a seemingly boring meal into a delightful treat. 

First off, try feeding your ferret from your hand. That will be one of the most special things for it and it will enjoy its meal even more. Remember that ferrets are intelligent beings and like cats and dogs, they too enjoy the company of their lovely owners.

Thus, don’t forget to build stronger bonds of affection and friendship with your hobs and gills and do feed them from your own hands next time.

You may also cook beef, chicken, lamb or turkey based on what kind of meat your pet finds tasty.

Besides doing it yourself, there are several packaged meat products in the market to choose from. Makes sure that the meat is not stale and the kind of product you put your trust in doesn’t contain ingredients which might be harmful for your pet’s health in the long run.

Out in the wild, ferrets catch their own prey.

There is nothing more satisfying for a ferret than to have a whole prey animal. If your ferret is one of those that enjoy whole prey, go for them.

They come in a variety of forms such as pre-killed and frozen whole prey. However, not all ferrets enjoy whole prey. In this case, you can try giving out chunks or parts of the prey to your pet. Such prey includes rabbits, mice, rats, and chicks.

When there are so many other options to choose from, why insist on feeding fruits which are harmful to your ferret’s health?

What works for you might definitely not work for your ferret. It is always recommended to feed a food that is healthy and safe for your pet.

Grapes are tasty, yes, but not healthy for ferrets. To ensure that your ferret lives a fulfilling life, stick to food which it is wired to eat and avoid those which it cannot process.

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