Are you curious to learn: can ferrets eat peanut butter? Is peanut butter regarded as an acceptable treat to our furry friend?
Ferrets are the only domesticated species from the Mustelidae family of animals that include badgers, weasels, and wolverines.
Ferrets are perfect house pets and are like friendlier versions of cats. Although, they are about the same size (twenty inches in length, including a five-inch tail) and weight (about four pounds) as a small cat. This is one of the reasons why ferrets make great pets.
Ferrets are obligate carnivores, which means they eat meat only, and a healthy diet for them depends on getting the necessary nutrients from the meat they consume.
They cannot digest other types of human foods that are not animal products or derivatives of animals. Those that are too high in sugar or fiber can negatively affect their digestion. These other types of human processed food are unfit for their digestive systems and intestinal pathways.
But does this include the creamy goodness of peanut butter?
Can ferrets eat peanut butter and still be okay?
What’s in peanut butter, by the way?
Peanut butter comes from processed and ground peanuts, and its chief purpose is to be spread on slices of bread, crackers, and toasts and also as food pastes. Other desserts and dishes that have peanut butter in them include smoothies, cookies, granolas, croissants, and many more.
Some other ingredients are added – like emulsifiers, sugar, and salt – to make the flavor more delicious. But peanuts comprise the majority.
The USA loves peanut butter so much because it is high in protein while also being a healthy treat for anyone. This is why the USA is regarded as the biggest peanut butter consumer in the entire world and also the largest exporter.
Essential nutrients in peanut butter
- Protein- 25 grams
- Fats- 50 grams
- Sugar – 6 grams
- Complex carbohydrates- 25 grams
- Calories- 638 kilocalorie
Is it a good idea and safe for ferrets to eat peanut butter?
Having a pet ferret around is fun. It has a small and solid build, is hyper-energetic, and is like a small ball of fun that will keep you entertained for a long time.
You tend to worry about this little bundle of joy because it needs ideal and healthy food to satisfy its high energy. And you have come across peanut butter and think about possibly giving it to your pet ferret as some type of high-energy and high-sugar treat.
But the question is, can ferrets eat peanut butter in the first place?
Experts have said no, you should not feed your ferret peanut butter.
As mentioned earlier, ferrets are obligate carnivores, and the last time anybody checked, there is no meat included in a bottle of even the chunkiest peanut butter. That alone should disallow ferret pet owners like you to even think about giving it to your ferret.
Yet, you might think that peanut butter is similar to meat because it also has lots of protein, and you may be right. However, due to a ferret’s digestive system, they cannot process plant-based foods and can only process foods and treats products derived from animals.
Eating peanut butter too much will make your ferret have health problems like a stomach ache, tooth decay, diarrhea, intestinal blockage in its digestive tract, which lead to cancer and death. Its fat content is not safe for ferrets, as well.
Even though peanut butter has some of the nutrients that your ferret needs for its health – like protein – it will not benefit your ferret and may even put its life in danger.
Keep even a tiny teaspoonful of peanut butter away for your ferret’s furry reach.
What will you do if you already made your ferret eat peanut butter?
Do not worry if you have only given your pet ferret a tiny smidge of peanut butter. The most it will feel is a slight upset stomach, but that rarely leads to long-term health problems.
But if your ferret has eaten a couple of teaspoons of peanut butter for a few days, then you have to bring it to a vet immediately.
Stomach-related symptoms will not appear yet, but in a few days, they will, so you have to mitigate them before they show up in full force and turn into a more serious problem like cancer.
Can you give your ferret peanut butter as a treat?
Do not even feed a smidgen of butter, peanut butter, or some similar product to your pet ferret as a treat that you give on occasion. It is not only unfit for ferrets to eat but giving unscheduled treats also interrupts their everyday eating schedule.
Treats should be fed a few times a week only and have the essential nutrients that ferrets need. Even though it might be tasty for them, too much of a good thing is still bad. Also, make sure it comes from meat products and not plant-based products.
What should you feed your pet ferret?
There are many other delicious meat-based treats or cooked meals you can feed your ferret aside from peanut butter or any peanut butter-flavored snacks:
- Cooked or raw eggs
- Fish-flavored treats
- Cat food
- Lean meats, bones, and other animal body parts
All of these have the necessary amount of protein and fat that ferrets need. However, these are meant to be occasional treats that are fed only a few times a week, especially if they have high sugar or salt content.
What to include in a healthy ferret’s diet
Like with most pets and animals, you need to learn the right way to feed your ferret.
The daily diet of a typical ferret should comprise 32 to 38 percent protein and 15 to 20 percent fat.
Here are some other foods to add to a ferret’s diet:
- Raw meat from lamb, beef, rabbit, chicken, chicken, turkey, and other game birds
- Animal bones, preferably raw
- Commercial ferret food mix, dried and high in protein
- Ferrets are predators and eat their pray like chicks, mice, and rats
What NOT to include in a healthy ferret’s diet
Your pet ferret would not be able to digest these foods, so never give these to them:
- Grains and other high-fiber foods
- Dairy products
- Chocolate and other treats with high sugar content
What do wild ferrets eat?
Ferrets have become domesticated, but they still have their cousins that live in the wild that hunt for food. Also, knowing what ferrets eat in the wilderness will make you understand why you should not feed them peanut butter in the first place.
From the time ferrets have been scurrying around in the wilderness floor more than one thousand years ago, they were predators hunting their prey like rabbits and rats.
The ferret’s digestive system evolved to gain the necessary sustenance from only the meat it eats since it is an obligate carnivore.
Ferrets can eat plants but could not digest them in their bodily system, and doing so induces stomach distress.
Aside from rabbits and rats, ferrets also hunt birds and even snakes. They will eat anything that they hunt and catch that has animal proteins.
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FAQ or frequently asked questions about ferrets
Can I feed my pet ferret live food?
Since ferrets are predators by nature, you might want to feed them food that is alive like mice.
From the standpoint of your ferret, it will like to eat a juicy mouse or a small garter snake. You only have to be sure that the prey will not harm your pet.
However, they are disadvantages. For one, it is not humane and may be horrifying to see.
Also, live animals have the risk of carrying diseases or parasites. If you want your ferret to remain safe, feed it the usual stuff without the bloodshed.
Why is my ferret picky about food?
Once your ferret arrives in your home at a young age, it will imprint on the first kinds of food it is fed to.
Experts recommend feeding all the necessary nutrients it needs before reaching adulthood. And once it reaches that stage, you will have a difficult time feeding it new foods.
Can I feed milk or chocolate to my ferret?
Any dairy foods and caffeinated products are bad for your ferret. Ferrets are lactose intolerant and cannot process any milk products.
While chocolate is toxic to ferrets, they can get immediately ill after eating it, along with symptoms like vomiting, depression, frequent thirst, and urination.
Thus, do not ever think about feeding peanut butter to your ferret. You might think it looks cute, lapping it up on your hand, but remember its supposed ill effects. This way, your ferret will live a long and happy life, away from harm.