can ferrets eat fish

Can Ferrets Eat Fish?

Written by: Akeem Eletu
Last updated on:

Having a pet is an added responsibility. The joy and company enjoyed compensates for the challenges of maintaining it. A part of this challenge is looking for the best diet plan that gives your little carnivore the adequate nutrient requirement to stay healthy.

So, some pet owners often ask the question, “Can ferrets eat fish?”. 

This is important in order to meet the ferret’s diet’s 30% protein requirement. 

If you want to know if fish is good for your carnivore friend, this article should be helpful.

Can Ferrets Eat Fish?

Ferrets can eat fish but in small quantities. However, they may refuse the meal whenever you feed them fish or other types of seafood. This might be because of the unpleasant smell that fishes have. You might notice that your ferret and their waste smell like fish whenever they eat the meal.

To minimize this odor, you might want to avoid feeding your ferrets raw fish and choose cooked ones instead. 

However, cooking reduces some of the nutrients in fish. Also, ferrets might fall sick if they eat canned fish with preservatives or others that are cooked with some seasoning and spice. 

The ideal type of fish for your little carnivores is raw white fish.

Is Fish Okay For Ferrets?

Your ferret will not get sick from eating fish. However, ferrets in the wild do not eat fish. Their body system is unable to digest it. Domesticated ferrets share this digestive trait. As a result, they find it difficult to digest fish properly whenever they are fed it.

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Health Benefits Of Fish To Ferrets

Fish is classified as protein. It contains nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin B2, vitamin D, and potassium. The majority of these nutrients are great for ferrets. Fish is consumed for its great taste and nutritional value.

Vitamin D in fish helps the bone density of ferrets. At the same time, the omega-3 fatty acids help supplement the total amount of fat needed in the ferrets’ diet. However, ferrets cannot digest fish properly to be able to extract all of these nutrients.

Are there Risks Involved In Feeding Fish To Ferrets?

Too much of any food can cause harm to the body. This is true for humans and animals. Ferrets can suffer indigestion when they consume fish in large and small amounts. 

Aside from digestion issues, ferrets can fall sick from fish consumption because of the high amount of mercury. They could also suffer pancreatitis if they eat fish that contains high amounts of fat. Your little carnivores might lose their appetite after eating fish. This might be the result of the fish odor.

Therefore, if you must add fish to your ferret’s food, it should be in a very small amount. This should also be done once in a while as a treat and not served as an everyday meal.

How Often Should Ferrets Eat Fish?

It is advisable to reduce your ferret’s fish intake to a bare minimum to keep its health in check. Feeding fish as a treat will help them enjoy the nutritional benefits of fish and avoid its health risks.

If you are concerned about your pet rejecting the fish, try introducing it to them in small portions for the first time. These portions can be increased gradually. That way, their taste buds, and the digestive system gradually get accustomed to it.

Can Baby Ferrets Eat Fish?

Yes, baby ferrets can eat fish. Fish diets are given to baby ferrets, among other kinds of food that do not require chewing. This is because your little carnivore is born without teeth. 

However, there are specific types of fish that baby ferrets should eat. Fish that contain a high amount of fat like eel or water like tuna are not great for baby ferrets. Both types of fish can cause your baby-pet health issues.

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Which Fish Can Ferrets Eat?

Ferrets can eat a variety of fish, including the following.


Ferrets can eat mackerel fish. Some species of mackerel like King are high in mercury, which can make your ferret sick. Atlantic mackerel, on the other hand, contains less mercury, which makes it great for ferrets. You should take note that not all species of mackerel are healthy for your pet.


Salmon fish is the most common type of fish that is fed to ferrets. It contains nutrients such as EPA/DHA, vitamins D, B3, and B6. Salmon fish is also low in mercury.


Sardines are low in mercury but contain a small amount of vitamin D. They are considered great for ferrets.


Whitefish is another amazing variety of fish that you can feed your carnivore friend. They are low in mercury and packed with EPA/DHA, vitamin BE, and 12.

Which Is The Best Way To Serve Fish To Ferrets?

The best way to serve fish to ferrets is to feed it to them as a treat. Feeding ferrets fish regularly can make them sick. Frozen fish should be avoided. Frozen fish can contain bacteria that could affect your little pet and make it sick.

Can You Serve Fish Bones To Ferrets?

No, you should not serve fish bones to ferrets. They could cause choking or injuries to the digestive tract. It is recommended that fish bones be carefully removed when feeding fish to ferrets.

Final Thoughts

When planning the diet of your carnivore friend, make sure to avoid fish. You can give fish only as a treat, and never as a meal.

Also, learn about the sustainability and mercury content of the special fish you intend to feed your ferret.

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