Ferret Nutrition for Complete Newbies
where to start
ingredient quality
don't panic
Ferret Food FAQ
why feed a mix of foods?
Intermediate Topics
ferretone, oil treats, and vitamin A & D toxicity
why some cat foods are ferret-suitable
the wild polecat's diet
links to other ferret charts

Ferret Nutrition for Newbies: Where to Start

Just got your first ferret and need to figure out what to feed it? Or are you starting to plan for when you might get a ferret in the future?

I realized that when you first get into the topic, there's a lot of difficult detail, long explanations, and conflicting advice, so I've set up some step-by-step instructions for anyone that is a newbie to ferret nutrition and looking for some much easier starter help.

If you're not new to ferret nutrition, you might still find something new to learn in our intermediate topics, or you might find our food chart and food search to be useful tools.

Step 1:
Decide if you can feed natural (raw meat or prey).

The healthiest, most natural diet for a ferret is raw meat & bones or whole prey (ie. frozen mice). If you think you can handle doing this, you should leave this site and start learning from the
> Holistic Ferret Forum

If you don't think you can handle doing this and want to feed a dry kibble diet, continue on to step 2.

Step 2:
Learn the basics of what ferrets should/shouldn't have in their food.

Understand what ferrets are designed to eat, and how to find dry pet foods that suit their needs. Read
> Ferret Nutrition Basics for Newbies

Step 3:
Understand what makes some ingredients used in pet food better or worse than others.

Not all meats used in pet foods are equal. Learn to read the ingredients list a bit closer by understanding the difference between meats, meals, by-products, digests, and more. Read
> Ingredient Quality for Newbies

Step 4:
Start looking at actual foods. Check out what your options are.

Now that you know what makes a food good, start looking into picking one out. Use our
> Ferret Food Chart

and see what's available in your local stores. Our recommendation is to pick two or more ferret or cat foods from the green or blue tiers and mix them.

Step 5:
Take a step back and make sure you don't overthink things.

Realized that no food is perfect? Read our
> Don't Panic
section to see if your concern is something important or something minor.

Step 6:
Keep doing research!

Never stop learning. These are really only the very basics, and there are plenty of other places to learn from. These are just a few:
> Proper ferret nutrition (Small Animal Channel)
> Is a natural diet right for your ferret?
> Dr. Foster & Smith Ferret Nutrition Articles
> Ferret.com forum
> Everything Ferret forum