Innova EVO, made by Natura Pet Products, is an excellent food choice for ferrets.
Even the dog version is such high quality it can be fed to ferrets. This is the only dog food I would ever recommend. When EVO first came out, the dog version was all that was available, but with 42% protein, 22% fat and an ingredient list starting with turkey, chicken, turkey meal, chicken meal and potato, it was an exciting new food.
The main selling point for this food is that it contains no grain. It’s low-carb and high-protein, exactly what a carnivore needs.
Later, they developed cat and ferret versions. The ferret EVO has 50% protein and 21% fat, and the ingredient list starts with turkey, chicken meal, chicken, herring meal, chicken fat, and peas. The cat version has 50% protein, 22% fat and those ingredients start the same as the ferret version.
In the shelter, I have been using Innova EVO Dog small bites. It comes in large bags which brings the cost down to a typical good ferret food, and the ferrets at the shelter thrive on it. In fact, when I switched to all EVO (after that last tainted wheat from China episode), the shelter ferrets suddenly became softer and more fluffy. At the time I was angry that the US purchased ingredients from China, not to mention tired of all the recalls (moldy corn is a common problem). Ferrets evolved to eat animals, not graze! I discovered that EVO had no grains (plus a great ingredient list) and switched to it. I’ve been using EVO in the shelter for at least four years with great success.
The only issue I’ve heard of is that the super-high protein might give some ferrets “pudding poop” — a little runny and somewhat stinky poo. People who switched from ferret to dog EVO said the poops were better. It’s possible that some ferrets couldn’t use all that protein.
Another issue is that it might not be a good idea to switch an elderly ferret to a food with super-high protein. If they have silent kidney issues, the extra protein might push them all the way into kidney failure. I have not had that problem in the shelter, but I have heard of other people who did. I would not hesitate to feed EVO to any ferret up to age 4. If you are considering switching a ferret older than that, I’d have the kidney functions checked first. What they used to eat can have an impact on the condition of their kidneys. If they were previously fed inferior, low-protein, low-fat food, the kidneys may already be damaged. If that’s the case and they are doing well on another food, I’d leave them on that food.
The Three Rivers Ferret Council has a franchise to sell Innova products. We typically stock all three EVO varieties: dog, cat and ferret, and we can special order any other Innova food you might like. This food (as well as other merchandise) can be purchased in person at TRFC meetings (typically the third Sunday of the month at a local church), or at the shelter (call first before stopping by).
The only possible issue using the dog version of EVO might be taurine, but there are no established levels of taurine for ferrets. EVO does add some taurine to the dog food, but since we don’t know how much ferrets should have, we don’t know if it’s adequate. Low taurine can cause heart problems and cataracts, but I have not had ferrets (either personal or shelter) develop those problems, so I’m thinking the levels must be okay. If you are worried about it, you can give your ferret a little Ferretvite once a day, since that does have taurine in it.
Since Innova EVO came out, other companies have developed similar products. We will post about those in another article.