Raw Fed Ferret Poop Chart
In the ferret world we are often a little poop-obsessed. You can tell a lot about a ferret’s health and diet based on their poops, and “normal” consists of a wide spectrum depending on what your ferret has eaten. We frequently get questions about what is normal, and what is not. Below are some different categories of poop ranging from normal, to those from a sick ferret. This chart is meant to serve as a reference/guideline, and not an end-all-be-all. If you are concerned about your ferret’s health, please consult a veterinarian. If you are new to raw feeding and are unsure if a poop is normal or not, we are (clearly) no stranger to poop pictures and are happy to offer feedback on the Forum or Facebook.
Kibble Fed: Kibble comes out looking much like it did going in. Normal/healthy kibble stools look like mashed, reformed kibble. They should be even in consistency and color, and well-formed. Kibble stools are large/bulky due to the significant amount of indigestible plant material in kibble.
Freeze Dried Raw (FDR): FDR, while better than kibble, is still a dried and processed, homogeneous food. As such, it too comes out looking a bit like it did going in. However, FDR stools will be smaller than kibble stools, significantly less smelly. Additionally, the color and consistency will vary depending on the type of FDR fed (e.g. red meat FDR stools will be darker than poultry, FDR liver stools will be very dark, etc).
Transition (mid switching from kibble to raw): During the switch, stools can have all sorts of appearances. This is due to your ferret’s gut adjusting to their new diet. During this stage stools are often soft, sometimes slightly mucousy, and typically have a foul odor during the so-called “detox” period. (Of note this is not an actual detoxification, but rather a layman’s term that has become a common description for the adjustment period when switching to a new diet).
Raw Meat (Soup): Due to the higher water content of raw meat, raw poops are much more hydrated (read: moist) than kibble stools. This causes the stools to be much more moist/soft than a kibble stool. The increased digestibility of raw meat means that more of the food is digested and absorbed, and less passes through into the stool. Raw fed stools are therefore, much smaller than kibble stools. Ferrets eating raw soup are ingesting even more water, so expect stools to be somewhat soft. They should be semi-formed, but not watery diarrhea (see watery below). They will easily smash/become unformed looking when picked up with a paper towel.
Raw Meat (Boneless): Due to the higher water content of raw meat, raw poops are much more hydrated (moist and soft) than kibble stools. The increased digestibility of raw meat means that more of the food is digested and absorbed, and less passes through into the stool. Raw fed stools are therefore, much smaller than kibble stools. Boneless poops will be particularly soft and will easily smash/become unformed looking when picked up with a paper towel (think somewhere between pudding and peanut butter consistency). Color will vary based on what type of meat your ferret ate: red meat stools can be very dark due to the high iron content, whereas white-meat stools tend to be lighter colored.
Raw Meat (Bone-In): Bone-In meals result in more formed stools, that very commonly contain small pieces of partially digested bone. This is very normal! Bone-In stools can appear somewhat seedy due to these small bits of undigested bone. They can range from well formed to moderately-well formed, but should still feel soft and be easy to squish when picked up with a paper towel while fresh. If the stool is hard, dry, pale, chalky, or crumbles when picked up, your ferret may be getting too much bone/calcium. Color will vary based on what type of meat your ferret ate.
Raw Meat (Hearts/Organs): Heart/Organ stools will be dark and tarry. This is due to the high iron and blood content of these meats. They will typically be poorly formed and sticky, but should not be watery (watery stool = diarrhea and is not normal).
Raw Balanced Commercial Grinds/Mince: Balanced grinds area relatively consistent texture going in, and thus should be a relatively consistent texture coming out. They should be small and soft, but formed. You may notice some undigested bone pieces depending on how coarse the grind you feed is. As with other raw foods, color will vary by protein type.
Whole Prey: Whole prey stools are the Holy Grail of raw feeding. These stools are perfectly formed little packages of fur, nails, bones, and poop. They are very easy to pick up, and typically stick to a paper towel and lift up in one piece with minimal residue.
Egg Poops: Egg stools, like organ stools, are a bit messy. Egg-only stools are typically soft and somewhat gelatinous and poorly formed. They will tend to be tan to yellow in color. If you feed egg with other meats, you may notice that the stool is softer/less formed than usual, and/or it may have a yellow tinge.
POOPS TO WATCH
Mucousy: Mucous is one of the body’s natural lines of defense. Mucousy stools can result for any number of reasons, including as a stress-reaction, a change in diet, or inflammation in the digestive tract. A few mucousy stools are not overly concerning, but if your ferret has persistently mucousy stools there may be an underlying health issue at play (such as IBD) and you should have your ferret evaluated by a veterinarian.
Watery: Watery stools are just what they sound like – liquidy. This typically occurs when food passes through the digestive tract so fast that the colon is unable to reabsorb the water content of the food. Stress and illness can cause watery stools. A single watery stool should be monitored. Multiple watery stools a day is considered diarrhea. If your ferret continues to have watery stools they should be seen by a vet immediately, as ferrets with diarrhea can dehydrate quickly.
Seedy: Seedy stools are typically the result of incompletely digested fats passing through. Of note, sometimes bone-in stools with multiple small pieces of bone can appear seedy. Seedy stools can be normal if your ferret at a high-fat meal, or abnormal if your ferret is under stress or has an illness (e.g. IBD) that is affecting their digestion.
Jelly-Like: “Entirely mucous blobs” that need to be monitored closely for blockage, illness, and dehydration.
Foamy/Bubbly: Foam or bubbles can occur in stools for a number of reasons, but are often the result of gas-forming bacteria in the colon (especially when they have a foul odor). Sometimes this is a sign of a bacterial overgrowth, and your ferret may require medical attention. New foods, stress, and medications can also sometimes cause foamy stools.
Green (Not ECE): Green poops can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes this occurs due to improper digestion, stress, or the food itself (e.g. bile-containing foods, foods with green ingredients). A few green stools, especially if they are formed, are not particularly concerning. However, if the stool is green and slimy or watery, and the green slimy stools persist, your ferret may have ECE (see below) and needs to be evaluated by a vet.
Chalky: If the stool is hard, dry, pale, chalky, or crumbles when picked up, your ferret is most likely getting too much bone/calcium. Some illnesses can also cause chalky/dry stools, so if they do not improve after adjusting the balance in your diet, you should consult a veterinarian.
Parasites: Parasites such as coccidia and giardia can be seen in pets and humans. These often cause loose, mucous to watery, and sometimes seedy stools. While bacteria occur normally in stools, parasites are never normal and require medications prescribed by a veterinarian. Of note, worms in stool are never normal. However, if your ferret space has flies or other insects these bugs may lay eggs in your ferrets’ stools causing you to later notice the larvae/maggots. When in doubt, collect a stool sample and bring it to be evaluated by your vet.
IBD: IBD can cause a wide array of strange stools, including: watery diarrhea, mucousy stools (most common), stools coated in yellow-mucous, seedy, bloody, and strange colors. If you think your ferret has a food sensitivity, or IBD, read our page on IBD and schedule an appointment to talk to your vet.
ECE (“The Green Slime”): ECE (Epizootic catarrhal enteritis) is a viral infection in ferrets that causes the infamous “Green Slime” stools. If your ferret has stools that are green and slimy/liquidy, they should be evaluated by a vet. As a virus ECE does not respond to antibiotics, but ferrets with ECE can become easily dehydrated and may require supplemental fluids, they may need medications to help protect their stomach or manage the symptoms of their illness, and they may develop secondary bacterial infections.
Other: As you may be starting to notice from the chart above, many things can affect your ferret’s stools including diet, medications, illness, stress, hydration, and more. Below are some more examples of ferret stools that you may encounter.