Thursday, September 4, 2008
The Great Pet Food Debate - Ferret vs Kitten Kibble
Should you decide to feed your ferret kibble, the first thing that you should think about is what type of kibble you will feed them. Some experts advocate for feeding ferrets high quality kitten food, others suggest that special ferret kibble is best. Experts which advocate feeding ferrets specific kibble for ferrets will often point to the fact that this food, designed specially FOR ferrets is tailored to the needs of ferrets, whereas kitten food is tailored to the needs of kittens, not ferrets. Proponents of high quality kitten food quickly point out that though, in theory, ferret kibble is designed for ferrets, in reality it is often poorly formulated and designed more to take money from unsuspecting pet owners rather than to nutritional requirements of ferrets. While both sides do have some excellent points, the best approach is simply to go to the pet store and read the ingredients of the foods yourself. Generally, a good kibble for a ferret - that is to say, one which meets many of its nutritional needs, has a minimum of 30% protein from animal sources, and at least 20% or more fat. A good ferret diet should not only be high in fats and protein, but should contain taurine as well. Ideally, the first two ingredients on the bag of kibble should be meat, and not grain. A food whose first ingredient is corn meal, for example, would not be suitable for a ferret. One whose first ingredient is chicken meal, on the other hand, is more suitable. Cat food should not be fed to ferrets as it is tends not to be as high in protein as kitten foods, and fish flavours should be avoided for two reasons - ferrets are generally not overly impressed by fishy-tasting food, and such food has a tendency to make the ferret's poop really stink. Personally, I opted for high quality kitten food for a few reasons: It was higher in protein and fats than much of the ferret food on the market at the time, it was less expensive and more readily available, and if I ran out of food in the middle of a trip, it was not a big deal - I would simply head to the nearest pet store and pick up my trusted brand. Both my ferrets had beautiful, healthy coats, clean eyes, and relatively long lives.