Ferrets and hedgehogs differ greatly in several important ways, and as a result, they have quite different nutritional needs and requirements. As omnivores, hedgehogs can consume both plants and animals. They like meat over plant material. They also have a harder time digesting meat than other mammals. On the other hand, ferrets eat meat. Their diets are primarily composed of meat. They also eat worms and insects. Because of this, their digestive system differs from a hedgehog's.
CAN HEDGEHOGS EAT FERRET FOOD?
No, hedgehogs cannot eat ferret food. The nutritional needs of hedgehogs and ferrets are significantly different, which is why this kind of diet was developed for ferrets. It is advisable to feed your hedgehog specially-made hedgehog food instead. You can use meaty dog or cat food in a pinch.
NUTRIENTS IN FERRETS’ FOOD
Being an obligate carnivore, a ferret needs to eat properly to stay healthy. Ferrets should consume 32–38% protein and 15–30% fat daily; their optimal diet should be low in fiber and high in protein and fat. The ratio of calcium to phosphorus in the diet of ferrets should be at least 1:1.
Since ferrets don't require large amounts of minerals and vitamins, commercial ferret diets provide sufficient amounts of these components to prevent over-nutrition. Don't provide fruits and vegetables in large quantities because they don't provide the nutrition that ferrets require. Ferrets can even consume their entire prey, such as rodents and chicks, in various regions of the world, but this is not particularly typical. Ferrets should be fed meat in place of grains to meet protein needs.
WHY SHOULD HEDGEHOGS NOT EAT FERRET FOOD?
Ferrets are carnivores. High levels of protein and fat must be present in their diet. They would pursue rabbits and other tiny creatures in the wild. They don't require any vitamins or minerals to remain healthy. Because of this, commercial ferret food is created specifically to meet the needs of ferrets. The high protein and fat content of ferret food makes it an excellent choice for a ferret's diet. Minerals and vitamins are scarce or nonexistent in them. Additionally, it has a low fiber and carbohydrate content.
On the other hand, hedgehogs require a balanced diet of proteins, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. They cannot be healthy and contented pets if they do not have that through their diet. Hedgehogs cannot eat ferret food, because there is the likelihood that they'll become sick frequently and keep you up at night. Simply said, hedgehogs and ferrets require different types of diets.
Hedgehogs shouldn't consume ferret food, and vice versa. Hedgehogs require vitamins and minerals that ferrets do not, hence ferret food does not nourish them. Ferret food is particularly fatty (rich in protein and fat) and not ideal for hedgehogs. If your hedgehog eats ferret food, it would probably become obese, which would open the door to numerous illnesses associated with obesity.
WHAT CAN I DO IF A HEDGEHOG EATS FERRET FOOD?
Because hedgehogs typically do not eat ferret food, a sudden change in diet may disturb the digestive system in some breeds, resulting in issues including vomiting, diarrhea, and refusal to eat. Withhold feeding your hedgehog for 12 to 24 hours if any of these symptoms emerge. Give a little bit of water or plain Pedialyte.
Then, begin introducing a bland diet, such as cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts with plain white rice, but make sure to do so in moderation. Continue giving the bland diet until the stool is normal, which is a good sign if the vomiting has ceased by this point. Then, gradually introduce the usual hedgehog food. Consulting your veterinarian is the recommended course of action if the vomiting or diarrhea does not cease despite being given a bland diet.
CAN HEDGEHOGS EAT OTHER PET FOOD?
Other kinds of pet food are acceptable to hedgehogs. They can consume both cat and dog food, but they like the meatier canned or wet food options. Additionally, they will cheerfully eat cat and dog biscuits! The majority of hedgehog owners favor cat food over other kinds of pet food.
This is so that hedgehogs can get the nourishment that is close to what they require, which cat food provides! So, cat food works well if you find it difficult to purchase hedgehog food. Just make an effort to choose meat-based items over fish-based ones. This more closely resembles the diet of a hedgehog. Hedgehogs, though, will prefer insects.
WHAT OTHER FOODS ARE HARMFUL TO HEDGEHOGS?
Even if there are occasions when you can share your food with your hedgehog, there are some restrictions and some items that you should not feed your pet. To ensure that hedgehogs have healthy lives, some of these foods should not be offered to them:
It is advisable to keep your hedgehog away from ferret food to prevent it from making the error of eating it.
Although hedgehogs enjoy the smell of chocolate, it should be kept away from them at all times.
Onions and garlic
Onions are extremely harmful and dangerous for hedgehogs since they rupture red blood cells due to oxidative damage, which results in anemia.
Fruits including oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes contain citric acid, which can produce diarrhea, vomiting, and even central nervous system depression.
Meals high in fat
You should keep sweet and fatty foods out of your hedgehog's reach because obesity is hazardous for hedgehogs.
Making sure your hedgehog consumes a wholesome, well-balanced diet, which excludes harmful foods like ferret food, is essential to maintaining their health. With a little research, you can enjoy a hedgehog's company for many years by keeping it healthy and happy. You can be certain that giving your hedgehog ferret food will result in unneeded infections. Although it could taste delicious to your hedgehog's taste buds, keep in mind that hedgehogs cannot understand what is good for their health and you are responsible for looking after them. Feed your hedgehog only food that is healthy for it to eat and has the right nutritional balance.