Ferrets are lovely little creatures and make great pets. However, they take a lot of care, especially around their diet. Ferrets are foraging animals and love to hunt, whether that’s the kitchen or the wild. However, they can’t have everything available in the kitchen, so what can they have?
Ferrets should not eat oatmeal. Ferrets are naturally obligate carnivores, which means that they should only eat lean meats and proteins. In the wild, ferrets hunt for smaller animals and insects and never eat fruits, vegetables, or grains such as oatmeal.
Oatmeal is not safe for ferrets to eat. Carnivores have exceptionally short digestive tracts, made to process meat and bones. Grains (such as oatmeal) are harder to process and need a longer digestive system. If a ferret consumes oatmeal, it can’t digest it properly and can get very sick.
A pet ferret’s diet should reflect a wild ferret’s diet. Ferret food is vital for a pet ferret because it is a composite mix of all the proteins and nutrients that the pet needs. This is helpful for owners who don’t wish to feed their ferrets raw meat or live animals but need to keep the ferret healthy. A mix like Marshall Premium is exceptionally good for pet ferrets.
Oatmeal is bad for ferrets because it is a type of grain. Strict carnivores shouldn’t eat any kind of grain, as their digestive system was only made to process the shorter strands of protein present in meat and bones. Ferrets are no exception to this rule—they are supposed to eat lean meat and protein and avoid grains.
If ferrets eat grains like oatmeal regularly, they can be susceptible to a myriad of health issues. These include:
- Heart Disease
- Chronic Stomach Issues
- Early Fatality
An occasional snack of oatmeal won’t lead to these dire consequences, but the ferret will be acutely uncomfortable for a day or two.
While oatmeal can be healthy and delicious for humans, it is not the same for ferrets. Their bodies can only process the meat and bone of the birds and small mammals they hunt. If a ferret eats oatmeal regularly, it will be in great discomfort and risk multiple health issues.
Are All Types of Oatmeal Bad for Ferrets?
Unfortunately, all types of oatmeal are detrimental to the health of a ferret. No kind of oatmeal will digest easily. Whether it’s minute oatmeal, steel-cut oats, or an oatmeal mix, pet owners should avoid giving it to their ferrets. Keep a happy pet by giving them the kind of food they need to stay healthy.
While ferrets can get very sick if they eat oatmeal, they are usually not drawn to it. Owners don’t have to worry about hiding the oatmeal because ferrets will ignore plain oats or oatmeal for more exciting food (especially meat or sauces). However, sometimes ferrets forage for oatmeal if it has a sugary sauce on it.
If a ferret consumes oatmeal, the first step is to call a veterinarian. The local medical professional knows the individual animal’s dietary needs and medical history and can help decide what is best for the ferret’s health.
A small amount of oatmeal will usually pass through the animal’s system in a day or two, and the ferret will only have a few days of discomfort. However, if the ferret eats a large amount of oatmeal, it might be necessary to take it to the pet hospital for an emergency visit.
Oatmeal, while dangerous to ferrets, isn’t usually toxic. It won’t poison or kill the ferret. Instead, oatmeal is simply detrimental to the ferret’s overall health. A ferret’s digestive system isn’t used to the strain of any grain, so oatmeal will cause gastrointestinal distress.
Too much oatmeal might kill a ferret, but the chances of a ferret eating enough to kill itself are very low. An emergency stomach pump or vomiting pills from the vet will usually stop death by overeating. The biggest danger of oatmeal is that the ferret becomes dependent on it and dies early because of ill health.
Oatmeal is a grain, and ferrets should not eat any grain. Although they might pick up some oatmeal while foraging in the kitchen, it’s vital to keep pet ferrets out of the oatmeal bowl. To maintain a healthy pet with a long life, feed it the meat and protein it should digest.