I am a new ferret mom, and my anxiety knew no bounds when I discovered that my ferret is not hydrated, as he didn’t drink water. That’s when I thought, can ferrets eat watermelon? The reason for this thought was that watermelon is extremely good for hydration.
The more I read, the more I understood that even though my furry friend can eat watermelon, he is not going to benefit much from this fruit. As his body is not capable of digesting fruits.
So, read on to know more about ferrets, and how watermelons affect their overall health if you are planning to feed your ferret with a watermelon.
Can Ferrets Eat Watermelon?
Your pet ferret can eat watermelon, but only in limited quantities. Always keep in mind that you should never use watermelon as a substitute for ferret food.
Watermelons are known to be watery fruits and are excellent for hydration. As the name suggests, it consists of 95% of water. So, you can give a small piece or two occasionally to your four-legged friend, and it wouldn’t cause much harm.
However, this doesn’t mean that watermelons are completely safe for your ferrets. Check out how this innocent fruit can prove to be harmful to your furry friend.
Why Is Watermelon Harmful For Ferrets? Top 5 Reasons
Below are a few of the reasons why watermelon can possess health risks for your ferret.
1. Watermelon Can Cause Malnutrition in Your Ferret
Ferrets are obligate carnivores. This means that your domesticated ferret will need animal-based meat protein to get its supply of proteins and fats. And, your ferret’s digestive tract is also designed in a manner that it can digest proteins and fats, but not sugar, carbohydrates, and fibers.
If we talk about the nutrients available in watermelon, even though the amount of sugar is less, still, watermelon does not contain sufficient amounts of proteins and fats, to fulfill your ferret’s dietary needs.
Check out the nutritional information per 100 grams of watermelon below:
- Protein: 0.6 grams
- Carbs: 7.6 grams
- Sugar: 6.2 grams
- Fiber: 0.4 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
It is evident from the above information that important nutrients like fats and proteins are negligible in watermelon. Instead, it contains carbs in a high amount which is not needed by your ferret.
Hence, feeding your ferret with watermelon instead of high-quality ferret food or meat-based protein can lead to malnutrition.
Malnutrition can cause adverse effects on your ferret’s skin and coat. There might be excessive shedding leading to the formation of hairballs. Your ferret’s skin might also appear dry and flaky.
Apart from this, a prolonged intake of watermelon can sometimes also lead to diabetes in your ferret.
2. Your Ferret Might Choke Up On the Watermelon Seeds
It is no secret that watermelons are loaded with seeds, not one or two, but literally uncountable. A small negligence of seeds in watermelon can lead to your ferret choking.
Since ferrets are quite meddlesome, to be honest, you can expect your ferret to even try out the seed in the watermelon piece if he sees one.
If a choking episode occurs, though we hope it doesn’t, you should encourage your furry friend to drink water, and gently massage his throat and neck.
You can check out this guide if your ferret makes a fuss in drinking water.
3. Watermelon Can Lead To Diarrhea in Your Ferret
Feeding excess watermelon frequently can lead to diarrhea in your ferret. The reason for this is your ferret’s digestive tract will not be able to process a lot of carbohydrates and fiber, due to the lack of caecum.
The caecum is a digestive organ responsible for secreting bacteria and microorganisms that can digest carbs.
Due to this, your ferret’s body might adversely react and he can suffer from diarrhea.
4. Watermelon Rinds Are Not Suitable For Your Ferret’s Digestive Tract
If you ever feed watermelon to your ferret, make sure that you always avoid the rind. Even though it is no-toxic, and has several health benefits for humans, watermelon rinds can cause extreme choking in your ferret.
The texture of watermelon rind is a bit hard, and it is extremely difficult for your ferret’s delicate digestive tract to break it down.
So, eating watermelon rind can lead to intestinal blockage in your ferret, or can cause gastrointestinal and digestive problems.
If you see the below signs after your ferret has mistakenly or knowingly consumed rind, then it might be a sign of intestinal blockage. You should immediately consult a vet.
- Abdominal pain
5. Watermelon Can Cause An Adverse Effect on The Reproductive Capabilities of Your Ferret
As per various studies and scientific findings, an intake of nitrate can have an untoward effect on an animal’s reproductive capability. Check out this research.
Watermelon is amongst the top fruits and vegetables with high nitrate content. This has been found in the studies.
So, if you feed a ferret with high quantities of watermelon, this can harm its reproductive capabilities. And in the long run, these effects can also be passed on to the baby ferret from female ferrets.
Hence, it is best to follow a balanced diet for your ferret. Feel free to check out the best ferret foods here.
Can Ferrets Eat Watermelon In Moderation?
You can give your ferret watermelon in moderation. In doing so, your ferret will remain hydrated, and the levels of Vitamin C and Vitamin A will also be maintained in his body.
Vitamin A is essential in maintaining your ferret’s healthy coat and skin. Vitamin C is important to prevent your ferret from Scurvy disease.
How Can I Serve Watermelon To My Ferret?
You must serve watermelon in a proper way to your ferret, to avoid any undesirable accidents. Follow the three main points below:
1. Always Remove The Seeds and The Rind
As we have already discussed that rinds are harmful to ferrets, you should take utmost care that you do not feed watermelon rinds to your furry friend.
These can lead to several unpleasant diseases like intestinal blockage and gastrointestinal issues.
Apart from the rind, seeds can also cause choking in your ferret. Even though it is a tad bit difficult, you should aim to remove as many black seeds as possible from the classic watermelon.
And don’t get mistaken that you can feed seedless watermelons without any effort. You also need to remove the white seeds in these seedless watermelons, as they too possess risk.
2. Cut The Watermelon in Small Bites
There is a simple rule to feed a watermelon piece to your furry friend. Check if you can eat that chunk or not. If the chunk is hard, or not juicy, probably you shouldn’t feed it to your ferret too.
You can avoid the hazard of intestinal blockage by feeding only the juicy pink flesh to your ferret. Make use of a melon baller or cut the watermelon into very small bite-sized pieces.
Never should you feed a whole slice of watermelon to your ferret. This huge quantity of watery fruit will definitely lead to an upset tummy of your four-legged friend.
A pro tip: If you are introducing watermelon to your ferret for the first time, feed only one to two pieces. You should consider supporting its digestive system with a ferret probiotic.
Check out this amazing product, it might just turn out a ferret health helper for you, as it did for my fuzzball!
3. Do Not Serve Store-Bought Watermelon Juice or Dried Fruit
Never, and I repeat never feed your ferret store-bought watermelon juice or dried watermelon. While watermelon is not harmful to your furry friend, store-bought juice can be toxic for him.
Store-bought watermelon juices and dried fruits are high in sugar content and are concentrated. To make matters worse, there are several additives and preservatives added to it, which are not at all safe for your ferret.
This high quantity of sugar and sweeteners can cause tooth decay and Insulinoma in your furry friend. So, it is best to serve fresh fruit to your ferret.
Can Ferrets Die From Eating Watermelon?
Watermelons are one of the few safe fruits that your ferret can eat, in limited quantities. Hence, it would be incorrect to say that ferrets die from eating watermelon.
However, sometimes, if fed carelessly, watermelons can cause choking and blockage in ferrets, which can suddenly turn fatal.
Warning Signs to Look Out for After Feeding Watermelon to Ferrets
You should always keep a close watch on your furry friend while he enjoys watermelons. Always lookout for the below warning signs, and stop feeding watermelon if you spot even one of them.
Watery, seedy, or sticky poop indicates your ferret is unable to process the fruit. It is best not to serve watermelons in this case.
Immediately take away the watermelon from your ferret, if he starts choking. Serve him more water, and going forward, be careful to remove all the seeds and serve small chunks without rind to your ferret.
When Is It Okay to Feed a Small Amount of Fruits to Ferrets?
Fruits are full of nutritional value and contain loads of vitamins and minerals. Sadly, ferrets can’t devour these juicy fruits.
However, some fruits do help ferrets in various circumstances. Take a look at the table below to understand which fruit can be served to your ferret in small portions and how it will benefit your furry friend.
|Fruit||Beneficial Nutrients||Health Benefits to Ferrets|
|Banana||PotassiumVitamin CVitamin B6ManganeseMagnesium||– Helps to absorb other nutrients in the body|
-Facilitates healthy bone growth and development
|Cantaloupes||Vitamin ABeta CaroteneVitamin B6Potassium||-Beta carotene reduces the risk of cancer|
-Helps to prevent cell damage
|Cucumber||Vitamin K||-This is a good treat for overweight ferrets|
|Watermelon||Vitamin AVitamin C||-Keeps body hydrated|
-Maintain healthy coat and skin
-Prevent Scurvy disease
|Pumpkin||Vitamin KVitamin CFibers||-Pumpkins act as a great laxative and help with abnormal stool|
|Pear||Vitamin AVitamin C||-Has anti-cancer properties|
Table: Fruits and Its Benefits to Ferrets
It is important to consider that all the above-mentioned fruits should not be given as a replacement for high-quality kibble or meat. These should be provided sparingly or only as ferret treats.
Also, de-skin the fruit, remove the seeds and give small chunks to your ferret, to avoid any incidents of choking. Acidic fruits like oranges and lemons should always be avoided.
FAQs on Can Ferrets Eat Watermelon?
1. Do Ferrets Need Vitamin C?
Ferrets need Vitamin C in their diet to avoid suffering from Scurvy disease. While a ferret’s body is capable of producing adequate levels of Vitamin C, sometimes, external additional doses can also be provided.
Check out this Vitamin C supplement that you can add to your ferret’s diet, as per the recommended dosage.
2. Do Ferrets Need Fibre In Their Diet?
Since ferrets are obligate carnivores, their digestive tract cannot process and digest fibers. This essentially means that dietary fibers have no nutritional value for ferrets.
Hence, it is best to avoid fiber-rich food like green leafy veggies in your ferret’s diet.
3. How Can I Tell If My Ferret Is Dehydrated?
You can check if your ferret is dehydrated or not, by gently pinching the skin at the back of his neck, similar to scruffing action. If the skin goes down slowly, it is an indication that your ferret is dehydrated.
Your ferret’s face might also appear pale and sick.
So, the answer to Can Ferrets Eat Watermelon is a YES. Watermelon has a low sugar content, which makes it a good fruit option for your ferret.
However, you should never overfeed watermelon to your ferret, as it might lead to diabetes and diarrhea. Keep a close eye on any visible seeds, and try to remove as many as you can.
Watermelon should be served only as treats or occasionally to your ferrets. On regular basis, it is best to follow a strict ferret diet.