As a ferret owner, you might already know that your ferrets consume 5 – 7% of their body weight in food daily. But if you start wondering about the nutrients they’re taking in and nutrients they could be lacking, it might get you thinking—do ferrets need a salt lick?
Grab your ferret, move it away from your bag of chips and settle in for this read.
No, ferrets don’t need a salt lick. Giving your ferret a salt lick could endanger their health since salt licks have too high salt concentration.
Salt licks vary in their concentration depending on what other ingredients they may contain (some only have sodium and iodine). For example, many red or brown salt licks contain:
Although salt and these trace minerals are a requirement for ferrets, ferrets gather enough salt from the meat they consume in the wild.
So, if you don’t feed your ferret raw meat or high-quality ferret food, they might lack salt. However, that doesn’t mean that you should give your ferret a salt lick.
Instead, you should supplement their diet with ferret kibble. Alternatively, you can ask your butcher for a particularly salty piece of fresh meat when you sense your ferret needs a sodium boost.
In fact, fresh meat is the best way to increase the salt in your ferret’s diet since that’s what they consume in the wild.
Yes, ferrets can eat salt. Sodium is a healthy part of a ferret’s diet.
However, like humans, ferrets must consume salt in moderation. Unlike humans, though, they need much less salt in their systems to function.
For this reason, you should ensure the food you feed your ferret contains salt instead of giving them a salt block. Should you offer your ferrets a salt block and they consume too much of it, they could end up dying from complications of a sodium overdose.
You should never give your ferret salty human snacks. Salt in all forms is potentially deadly to ferrets unless it comes from meat (e. g. beef products) or ferret kibbles.
Therefore, when your ferret runs around your home, you mustn’t leave anything salty lying around. Even some salt spilled on the kitchen floor when you were making soup can harm them if they consume it.
You don’t need us to tell you that ferrets are curious creatures. So, use precautions to avoid an emergency trip to the vet.
How to Tell if Your Ferret Needs Salt
The best way to tell if your ferret needs salt in its diet is if they start licking your skin. They’ll especially target you when you sweat. That’s because the human body excretes 40 to 60 mmol/L of sodium when sweating from exercise or heat.
If that’s the case, then it’s time to reevaluate your ferret’s diet. If the thought of giving your ferret red meat makes you squirm, ferret kibbles are a perfectly acceptable form of sodium for them.
The Best Ferret Kibbles With Sodium
If you’re looking to boost your ferret’s sodium intake, Wysong’s Digestive Support kibbles is an excellent option. When you read the ingredient list, you’ll see “sodium” on the bag.
However, you won’t see sodium on the guaranteed analysis under the list of macronutrients. That’s entirely normal for ferret kibble since sodium is low on the totem pole of essential micronutrients. Nevertheless, your ferrets need small levels of salt as part of a healthy diet.
If you really want to treat your ferret, Marshall Premium Ferret Diet will do a number to your wallet but will ensure your ferret consumes all the nutrients they need to stay healthy, including sodium.
In fact, Marshall says that they most likely made your bag of ferret food within 30 days of your purchase. That’s comforting, given that they use three pounds of fresh chicken for every four-pound bag.
You should never give your ferret a salt lick. Instead, ensuring they have access to high-quality fresh meat or ferret kibbles will offer them all the sodium they need to maintain a healthy diet.