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Malnourished Ferrets, Spotting It and Fixing It


A malnourished ferret is an unhappy ferret. So whether your ferret is sick, or you’ve rescued an abused ferret, malnourishment is a big deal that needs to be identified and corrected asap.

Note: This article does not replace a vet visit. If you have a ferret suffering from malnourishment, it’s vital you take them to see the vet for a full check-up and diagnosis.

With that said, This article will tell you how it happens, Why it happens, How to identify it as an issue, and what to do about it in order to correct and fatten up your ferret.

What are the symptoms of a malnourished ferret?

The first step to correcting malnourishment is to know it’s happening. This is especially important for rescues, as they are often taken in by people who have no idea they were abused or neglected.

Symptoms of malnutrition can vary depending on the severity of the deficiency, but some common signs to look out for include weight loss, lethargy, a dull coat, and lack of visible eating.

But just because the ferret is eating doesn’t mean it’s not malnourished. If a ferret is not getting enough nutrients, they may begin to lose weight, even if they are eating the same amount as usual.

This is because the body is not able to properly absorb and use the food that is being consumed under some conditions. In addition, malnourished ferrets often appear sluggish and may have a hard time moving around.

Some other common signs of malnourishment and low blood sugars include:

  • Shaking
  • Nausea
  • Loss of coordination
  • Seizures

Finally, their fur may become thin and patchy, with an uneven texture. If you notice any of these symptoms in your ferret, it is important to take them to the vet for a check-up.

How to tell if a ferret is underweight

Judging a ferret’s body weight is very easy and doesn’t even require a scale, which is good because many scales we own in our homes aren’t sensitive enough to weigh a ferret accurately.

To determine whether a ferret is underweight, Simply grab under his front legs and lift him up. Let him hang down, and if he looks like a pear he’s ok. If he has a shape much like an hourglass, being small in the middle, and large at the bottom, he’s underweight.

Note: Consider buying a scale so you can track your ferret’s progress and health weekly. We recommend the one below as it’s sturdy and accurate enough for small and medium-sized rodents and ferrets.

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What do you do if your ferret doesn’t eat?

If your ferret isn’t eating, it’s important to take action quickly. A ferret’s nutritional needs vary considerably, depending on its age and overall health. Some will require a more complete diet with adequate protein.

Fluid and electrolyte therapy may be required for those who have not been eating regularly and are dehydrated.

Depending on the reason for the lack of eating, you may need medications for your ferret. The most important thing is to work with your veterinarian to find the cause of the problem and create a treatment plan that will get your ferret back on track.

If a ferret isn’t eating there’s a reason, and that reason needs to be solved.

In some cases, a ferret may need to be force-fed. This is the last resort and should only be done if you have been instructed and taught how to do so by a veterinarian.

A ferret who doesn’t eat is at risk for malnutrition, so it’s important to take action quickly.

How long can a ferret survive without food?

How long can a ferret go without food? A ferret’s metabolism is one of the fastest of any mammal, meaning they need to eat multiple times a day to stay healthy.

If a ferret goes without food for more than three days, its health will start to deteriorate rapidly and could die.

They may become weak and lethargic, and their fur may start to fall out. In extreme cases, a ferret can even starve to death.

However, it is important to note that a ferret should never be intentionally left without food for any length of time.

If you are unable to feed your ferret on a regular basis, it is best to find someone who can take care of them until you are able to resume their care.

So to recap, how long can a ferret go without eating? Max 3 days with a great deal of suffering. Feed your ferret every single day.

Another common question we hear asked is Can a ferret go a day without eating? The answer is yes, the ferret will survive but it will be extremely hungry and unpleasant for the ferret.

How long can ferrets go without drinking?

The average ferret will drink water up to 20 times a day. To go even 2 days without water will put a ferret into severe danger of a deadly case of dehydration.

A ferret’s body needs a lot of water and requires a constant intake to maintain its fast metabolism and high energy levels.

Without water, a ferret will become dehydrated quickly, which can lead to organ failure and death. Just one day without access to water can have a severe impact on your ferret’s health.

Will ferrets starve themselves

When it comes to eating, ferrets can be quite picky. They may turn their noses up at certain foods or refuse to eat altogether if they’re not in the mood.

While this behavior may not seem like a big deal, it can actually lead to serious health problems. Without a proper diet, ferrets can become malnourished and even sick. In extreme cases, they may even starve themselves.

Fortunately, there are some things that owners can do to encourage their ferrets to eat!

How to get my ferret to eat

If you’re having trouble getting your ferret to eat, there are a few things you can try. First, add some variety to their diet.

Ferrets are adventurous eaters, so offering a variety of foods is a good way to tempt them. You can also try switching things up and serving their food in different ways.

For example, if they typically eat dry food, try wetting it down or adding some broth. Serve their favorite foods in small amounts and pair them with new foods to encourage exploration.

With a little patience and creativity, you’ll be sure to get your ferret eating in no time if all they are is being picky eaters!

Do ferrets know when to stop eating?

Ferrets will stop eating when they are full, But just like humans, they can push it further and further. Obesity is a big problem among ferrets since they will never say no to good food.

You have to make sure to keep an eye on how much your ferret is eating and cut them off when they’ve had enough.

An easy way to do this is by portioning out their meals into small servings throughout the day instead of leaving a bowl of food out for them to graze on.

This will help you control how much they eat and ensure that they don’t overeat.

How much should a healthy ferret weigh?

In a normal healthy neutered mature female ferret, the weight should be around 1 pound 6 ounces. Similarly, a neutered male weighs around twice as much, between 2 and 4lbs.

A hob (non-neutered male) can bulk up to 6lbs in weight, while a jill (non-neutered female) can reach a respectable 6lbs as well, but is more likely to be around the 2-3lbs mark.

What can I feed my ferret to gain weight?

If you find yourself asking why is my ferret so thing even though he’s eating, It could be what he’s eating that’s the problem.

Ferrets need a high protein diet and the best way to get it is from raw meat and or high protein cat food. You can also buy specially made ferret foods that are packed with protein, fat, vitamins, and nutrients.

Check out these in particular:

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Just remember not to overfeed them because that will lead to obesity which can cause a lot of health problems for your ferret.