Can Ferrets Eat Dog Food – Is Dog Food Good For My Ferret?

If you own a Ferret, this is a question you might have wondered about quite frequently. Maybe not in exact words, Can Ferrets eat Dog Food Safely?

Can Ferrets Eat Dog Food – Is Dog food good for my Ferret?Can Ferrets eat Dog food

Dogs are omnivores. They can eat many different types of food. They do not rely on only meat for nutrition. Ferrets on the other hand, only benefit from food with meat. They are unable to extract any nutrition from food that does not have meat in it. They lack the enzymes that are necessary to properly process carbohydrates. Even though ferrets enjoy eating dog snacks, they cannot digest it well.

Dog food won’t cause any harm to your ferret. It is okay if your ferret manages to eat a kibble every once in a while. It cannot, however, be a part of your ferret’s diet. Ferrets do not benefit from dog food in any way. Dog food won’t be able to meet the nutritional needs of your ferret. It may even make your ferret sick. Death is also a possibility if a ferret eats dog food regularly.

Proper Nutrients

Ferrets are intelligent animals that will recognize that they are not getting enough nutrition from the dog food. To counter this, they will try to eat more every sitting and end up causing harm to themselves.

Ferrets need an adequate amount of ‘taurine’ to survive. Taurine is an amino acid that is necessary for ferrets and cats too. It is essential for the eyes and heart of a ferret to function properly. Taurine is found in ferret food as well as cat food. Because of the lack of taurine in dog food, your ferret may develop a condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy. This leads to congestive heart failure. Eventually, this will prove to be life-threatening.

Other amino acids that ferrets need are methionine and cysteine. Food made from plants does not have these amino acids in abundance. Deficiency of these amino acids will lead to stones in the urinary tract.


Ferrets do not have a complex digestive system. Because of the size difference between a ferret and a dog, the digestive systems of the two animals are completely different. Ferrets have a digestive tract that is fairly short and small. They have a high metabolism too. They process the food and rid themselves of excess waste in less than four hours. Their digestive system only processes meat properly. They aren’t fully equipped to extract protein from dog food. They need food with high concentrated nutrition to meet their needs. Dog food only increases the carbohydrate amount in a ferret, which they just aren’t able to digest. They also waste a lot of energy trying to digest dog food. This makes them lethargic.

Feed Time

Ferrets need to be fed twice a day. If a ferret is given dog food twice a day, the excess carbohydrates will make them sick. They will also become weak due to lack of protein. Dog food is also very low in fat. Ferrets need fat content to be 20% of their diet.

Size Of The Food

Size of dog food is also a factor. Food designed for dogs is bigger in size and is harder for ferrets to chew and swallow as well. Dog food can be harsh on the mouth of your ferret. They have very small teeth when compared to dogs. Dog food is likely to harm the teeth of a ferret.

Dog food should not be given to a ferret because of all the reasons mentioned above. Consumption of dog food will lead to health problems. Therefore, dog food must be avoided and kept safely away from your ferret.

Ferrets find it fun to steal food from your dog. Even though one or two kibbles won’t do much or any harm, it’s better to keep the dog food away from the reach of your ferret. Dog food can cause harm to a ferret’s teeth even in small amounts. Eating dog food regularly will lead to an imbalance in your ferret’s diet. Before you let your ferret enter the room where your dog is fed, make sure to remove any food from the bowl.

Is There Any Brand Of Dog Food That Is Good For My Ferret?

No brand of dog food is necessarily good for your Ferret. Dog food, in general, isn’t suitable for a Ferret. Insufficient nutrition is always a possibility of feeding dog food to your Ferret. Even though the dog food will not cause any damage to your Ferret on its own, the lack of nutritional value for your Ferret will lead to weakness and lethargy. If you have pet dogs at your home and your Ferret somehow sneaks a kibble from your dog occasionally, there is no real need to worry. Just don’t make dog food a part of your Ferret’s diet.

Even the highest quality brand of dog food available on the market may not be good enough for a Ferret’s consumption. Very few dog food brands have a high percentage of meat and a low percentage of plant fiber in them. Only those brands are good enough for a Ferret and even they should not be the primary food of your Ferret.
Evo Canine is probably the best dog food brand available. It is much better for your Ferret than all the other dog food brands as it contains Taurine. Taurine is essential for a Ferret and should be a part of any food product given to your Ferret. Evo Canine does not mention Taurine as an ingredient because its inclusion wasn’t for supplementary reasons. However, it is present in the product.

Canned Dog Food Or Dry?

Canned food is much better for your Ferret compared to dry food. Canned food does not hurt your Ferret’s mouth as they have smaller teeth compared to dogs. Dry food designed for dogs is harder to chew for Ferrets and will most likely cause harm to their mouths.

Dry food may seem like a good choice for Ferrets because it helps clean the teeth. However, dry dog food is not like dry Ferret food. Dog food is bigger in size and is also harder than Ferret food. Instead of cleaning your Ferret’s teeth, dry dog food will make them hurt. Dog food can also have sharp edges which may cause harm to the inside of your Ferret’s mouth. Therefore, it is better to choose canned dog food in place of dry dog food.


I think it is safe to say dog food isn’t the most beneficial food type for your Ferret. It has very low nutritional value and will most likely make your Ferret weak if fed regularly as the primary food of your Ferret. However, there are still brands of dog food like Evo Canine, which come close to the nutritional needs of a Ferret. Even still, Ferrets will find it hard to digest dog food and therefore, it cannot be a major part of your Ferret’s diet. It is nothing to panic over if your Ferret eats a little amount of dog food discretely, though.

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