Can Ferrets Eat Cheese? [Benefits/Risks]

Can Ferrets Eat Cheese

Ferrets shouldn’t eat cheese at all. 

They are lactose intolerant, meaning they do not have the enzyme to break down the lactose of the cheese.

Ferrets are obligate carnivores, and they usually eat a meat-based diet, and their digestive system cannot process anything but meat.

So, eating cheese can make them sick.

Read to learn more.

What Do Ferrets Eat In The Wild?

Ferrets are obligate carnivores and must eat a meat-based diet like any other carnivore animal.

In the wild, ferrets eat almost anything they can catch.

For example, ferrets would eat raw meat, bones, organs, and other edible matters of various animals like rabbits, chickens, birds, rats, mice, and snakes.

Ferrets also eat whole prey in addition to their raw meat.

And for thousands of years, their digestive system has been used to digest meat-based food only, and anything else can make your ferret sick.

However, ferrets still eat a lot of plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables in small quantities occasionally.

Can Ferrets Eat Cheese?

Ferrets cannot eat cheese.

This is because ferrets are obligate carnivores and usually eat a meat-based diet, so their digestive system is designed to process meat only.

Ferrets do not have the enzyme required to break down the lactose, making it difficult for them to digest.

In short, ferrets are lactose intolerant.

So, whenever ferrets eat cheese or anything that has lactose, it messes with their digestive system.

As a result, your ferrets likely experience upset stomach, diarrhea, and other health problems depending on the quantity they have.

Therefore, it’s best not to feed your ferrets any cheese. However, a small bite won’t likely have a drastic effect on them still; feeding them cheese is not recommended.

Is Cheese Bad For Ferrets?

Unfortunately, yes!

Cheese can be really bad for ferrets if ingested in large quantities.

Firstly ferrets are meat eaters and cannot handle dairy like us.

Their digestive system is not capable of breaking down the lactose of the cheese, so it can cause gastrointestinal distress.

Since cheese is a milk-based product, they are high in fat, which is good, but sometimes excess fat can lead to unnecessary weight gain, leading to obesity and other health problems.

Therefore, you should avoid feeding cheese at all. It can be really harmful for your pet and if ingested in large quantity, it can make your ferret sick.

Do Ferrets Like To Eat Cheese?

Ferrets are choosy when it comes to their food.

However, it’s been seen that ferrets like to eat dairy products, whether its cheese, milk, curd or other related products.

This is because ferrets like the “fat” content of the dairy.

Not only that, they love to eat sugary treats as well.

But as you know, dairy products are not suitable for ferrets since they are lactose intolerant and cannot digest them properly, which can lead to indigestion issues.

So, do not feed cheese even if your ferrets beg you to do that. It can turn into the worst experience for both of you.

Instead, opt for healthy treat options like meat, eggs or whole prey.

Why Ferrets Shouldn’t Eat cheese?

Ferrets shouldn’t eat cheese for various reasons.

First of all, they are meat eaters, and cheese is not something they usually eat. 

They won’t be able to digest the cheese properly as they do not have the enzyme required to break down the lactose, which eventually makes your ferrets sick if they have enough of it.

For example, ferrets likely experience diarrhea, bloating or vomiting if they have a large amount of cheese.

This will lead to dehydration which could be serious.

Also, cheese can cause intestinal blockage; this is a very uncomfortable and painful experience for them.

So, if your pet had cheese by mistake, keep an eye on them and if you see any abnormal behavior, immediately contact a vet for advice.

What Should I Do If My Ferret Ate Cheese?

Basically, it depends on the quantity.

If your ferrets eat a tiny bite of cheese, it won’t likely have a drastic effect on them.

However, cheese in large amounts can be dangerous for ferrets.

If you suspect your ferrets have eaten a large amount of cheese, closely monitor them for the next few hours and see if there is any sign of digestive distress such as diarrhea, bloating or even seizures.

Try feeding them water or some other meat base food to reduce their distress, but if they refuse to drink or eat anything, you should take your ferrets to a vet immediately as this could be serious.

Alternatives To Cheese For Ferrets

So, if cheese is not good for ferrets, then what should you feed?

Ferrets, as strict carnivores, must eat a meat-based diet. They require a high protein, fat and low carbohydrate and fiber.

In the wild, ferrets eat a whole range of raw meat, including rabbits, mice, squirrels, birds, and even reptiles.

But now, most ferrets are domesticated.

So, it’s not possible to feed them the same animal, but the feeder should try to mimic their wilds habits by offering them foods they usually eat in the wild.

Ferrets can be fed the following:

  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Rabbits
  • Birds
  • Reptiles
  • Turkey
  • Eggs (boiled or scrambled)
  • Kitten Food
  • Commercial Foods (pellets or kibbles)

Raw meat diet of organs, meat and bones isn’t always balanced unless whole prey is included.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, cheese is not suitable for ferrets.

This is because ferrets are lactose intolerant which means they cannot produce the enzyme that helps to digest cheese.

As a result, the cheese will conflict with their digestive system causing indigestion, bloating, diarrhea or immense pain.

Therefore, it’s best not to experiment with your ferrets.

They are obligate carnivores and should be fed only high-quality animal meat, and if your ferrets by chance eat cheese, you should take them to a vet.

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