Can Ferrets Eat Ham? What You Need to Know!

Last Updated: October 15, 2020

There is a long list of foods that ferrets should never eat, including dairy, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Ferrets are carnivorous animals that love to eat their protein in the form of meat. But not all meat protein is created equal, and ferrets shouldn’t enjoy a free-for-all buffet when it comes to highly processed options like deli meat. Your veterinarian can help you design a high-quality diet that your ferret will thrive on.

But if you’re like most ferret owners, you become tempted to share your own snacks with your ferret when you’re hanging out at home. So, you may be wondering whether your pet can eat ham occasionally. The truth is that the answer to this question isn’t necessarily black and white. Certain things should be considered when deciding to feed ham to your ferret. Here’s everything you need to know to make an educated feeding decision.

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Is Ham Healthy for Ferrets?

Ferret Pork
Image Credit By: CC0 Public Domain, pikist

The answer to whether ham is healthy for ferrets depends on the kind of ham that you want to feed them. High-quality ham that hasn’t been overly processed is a suitable occasional snack for ferrets. It provides many of the nutrients, fats, and proteins that a ferret needs for optimal health. But processed ham, like that which is found in packages of deli meat in the refrigerator aisle and even some of those you find behind the counter at your grocery store’s deli, shouldn’t be offered to ferrets for several reasons.

First, processed ham is full of salt and sodium, which can dehydrate your ferret and result in serious health problems and even death. Therefore, ferrets should never be fed chips, pretzels, processed ham, or other salty items. However, you can occasionally give your ferret a nibble or two of unprocessed ham that you have cooked yourself as a snack without having to worry about their health.

What Are Better Alternatives to Ham?

Nowadays, there are tons of commercial ferret foods on the market that are designed to meet all their nutritional needs. But it feels good to feed our pet ferrets “real” food that we prepare ourselves, at least occasionally. We’re betting that you feel the same way! Ferrets can and should eat all kinds of things, such as turkey necks, chicken wings, game birds, and even rabbits. Your ferret pet can even eat high-quality cat food on a regular basis, if necessary! Here are fun feeding ideas to consider:

  • Chop Suey. Grind a few different kinds of meat up, and slightly sauté it before serving it with some of your ferret’s dry food.
  • A Gamey Treat. Put a game bird or two in a slow cooker along with water and maybe a little chicken broth. Once the meat starts falling off the bone, shred all the meat up and put it in the fridge until it cools down. Use the shreds as training treats or to supplement a homemade meal.
  • A Whole Prey Meal. Go ahead and give your ferret a whole prey for mealtime. There are many reported benefits of doing so.

If you want to feed your ferret an entirely homemade diet, work with your veterinarian to figure out what and how much you should be offering at mealtime.

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In Conclusion

Ferrets are fun and friendly companion animals that will happily share an apartment or house with you. They enjoy spending time outdoors and are always up for a game of some kid. They’ll get along with other animals too, like dogs and cats. They also love to eat! While feeding your pet ferret a whole food diet is optimal and feeding them a cat food diet is acceptable but not ideal, there are many feeding options in between to consider feeding your ferret.

Try a few different kinds of feeding options at snack and mealtime to figure out what your ferret likes best. If you’re in doubt, make a call to your veterinarian. Do you have any snack or meal ideas and tips for other ferret owners? Share your thoughts, ideas, and opinions in the comments sections below. We can’t wait to read them!


Featured Image Credit By: CC0 Public Domain, pxhere