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What to Feed a Pet Fox

By Janhvi Johorey, Psychologist specialized in animal therapy. January 8, 2017
What to Feed a Pet Fox

Pet foxes are a rarity, although many people want the novelty of caring for one. As we explained in our article on foxes as pets, the fact remains that the best home for foxes is the wild. Although they make for interesting pets, it is always necessary to check whether you can keep one based on the laws in your country or state. There have been very rare cases of foxes abandoning their young and farms taking care of these wild ones.

No matter your circumstances, you must always care for your pet fox with dedication and commitment. In order to help you, here at AnimalWised we'll teach you what to feed a pet fox. Foxes are omnivorous by nature; you should opt for a balanced diet that includes vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in addition to vegetables and meats.

You may also be interested in: The Fennec Fox as a Pet

Protein-rich meals work well

In the wild, foxes hunt for small animals, especially rodents. From the very start, foxes are trained in hunting techniques to move quickly and catch their prey. In captivity, a pet fox should be given protein-rich meals with taurine.

A natural diet for a pet fox would include mice, small rats, and rodents. Fennec foxes are typically associated with a diet of mice and smaller rodents, while red or Siberian foxes can even devour a small rabbit. Regardless of the source of protein, the fact remains that foxes need meat.

Insects can also prove to be a good source to feed a pet fox. These include grasshoppers, crickets, beetles and mealworms. Larger insects may also be available to pet owners for feeding their fox; ask your local pet shop.

The debate on raw meat

There is a debate about whether you should feed raw meat to a pet fox. If you do opt for this kind of diet, you must make sure that you are feeding them whole prey items. This includes entire chicks, rabbits, mice, and squirrels, in keeping with the protein content foxes get in the wild. Rather than just a breast or a thigh piece, foxes need the entire carcass to benefit from the unique protein nutrients.

What to Feed a Pet Fox - The debate on raw meat

Fruits and vegetables for pet foxes

As we said before, foxes are omnivorous animals; fruits and vegetables supplement their meals, both in the wild and when kept as pets. Foxes prefer their veggies bite-sized, and they shouldn't eat too many of them. If you have a small pet fox, give them only a few teaspoons' worth of fruits and vegetables; if your pet fox is big, five them a few tablespoons.

Foxes are fond of apples, berries, cherries, persimmons and plums. However, they should not be given grapes or raisins because they can cause kidney damage. All in all, you shouldn't give too many fruits to your pet fox; use them as treats instead.

Cereals are a no-no

Foxes do not eat any kind of grains. Avoid feeding your pet fox foods like wheat, rice, oats and other cereals. These rich, refined simple or complex carbs can damage the fox's health.

A pet fox needs to stick as close to their natural diet as can be. Your pet may have a taste for sweets and other human foods, but the fact remains that fresh proteins are the best choice for them.

Vitamins and supplements for a pet fox

Taurine is a critical part of the diet of foxes. This organic compound can be found in animal tissue, but it can also be found in grain-less dog food. While smaller foxes need around 500 mg of taurine per day, larger foxes will require more; ask your vet for the exact amount to ensure your pet fox stays healthy.

Bear in mind that dog kibble does not contain enough taurine to meet the needs of the fox. Meat is easier for foxes to digest than dry dog feed. It also has a healthier ratio of oil and fat content as opposed to the latter. Rodents, insects and small amounts of veggies will give all the nutrition your pet fox needs.

Forbidden foods for foxes

Generally, leaves, fruits, bark, and seeds are rich in the toxin persin, which can create problems in breathing and cause fluid accumulation in vital organs such as the heart. A 150 mg dose of caffeine per kilogram of body weight can be fatal; always keep caffeine away from your pet fox.

Another strict no-no is chocolate, which contains a substance called theobromine that can poison animals. It is a well-known fact that dogs cannot eat chocolate; the same applies to foxes, as dark chocolate can cause seizures, coma and even death. Discover why can't dogs eat chocolate to understand how it affects their organism.

Grapes and raisins can cause vomiting, kidney damage and hypercalcemia in foxes. Trace amounts of glycoalkaloids in tomatoes, pepper or eggplant can also damage the well-being of your fox.

Other foods to avoid

Green potatoes are rich in solanine, chaconine, and glycoalkaloids, which raise the toxin levels of the body. The flesh of the tuber has elevated toxins which can harm your pet fox. Another source of toxins are the leaves, stems, and berries of tomato plants. Macadamia nuts and walnuts can also cause weakness, vomiting, and tremors.

Onion, garlic, and chives should also be avoided, as they belong to the genus Allium which can create a toxic reaction for your pet fox. Why is this so? They include a sulfur compound called disulfide that if eaten in large quantities can damage red blood cells. Dehydrated foods and meats should be avoided.

What to feed a pet fox

All in all, the best diet for a pet fox is similar to that of a cat or a dog, although you must take into account that fennec foxes have a higher need for taurine as often found in cat food. High quality and a nutritionally complete commercially sold food is not a bad idea, but many people feel natural is the best way to go.

The best route for domesticated foxes is a complex issue, as keeping foxes as pets is not all that recommended. Diet is a complex issue and there needs to be variety to ensure your fox is a healthy, happy and strong pet.

What to Feed a Pet Fox - What to feed a pet fox

Do you have any tips on what to feed a pet fox? Have you ever had a fox as a pet? Tell us all in the comments section!

If you want to read similar articles to What to Feed a Pet Fox, we recommend you visit our Healthy diets category.

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5 comments
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michael
xd love it dude. /godmode
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Ashlee E
There is a wild fox that comes near where I work in the early mornings and evenings. Myself as well as most of my coworkers love to feed him. We’ve given him things such as crackers, almonds, pretzels, and some other snacks we’ve got on hand. I’ve tried giving him different fruit on multiple occasions but he refuses to try it.
Karen Berko
I'm feeding a wild fox since he was a kit because he had a leg injury. Now I'm finding dead mice by my garden fence. Up to 3 and rotting. Any idea why?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Karen,

If the fox is staying near you, they could be bringing them for reserves. It is also possible another animal such as a neighborhood cat is leaving them there. Also, it is possible you are developing a mouse problem. We couldn't possibly say, but if the fox is a change in the small ecosystem that is your garden, it is possible they are the cause.
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Binkie
I am visited by a fox every evening and she loves to eat chicken paste, the sort sold in small jars as a sandwich filling. She also likes cat food, but other foxes I have fed refused dog food, and would only eat cat food!
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Binkie,

Thanks for sharing this info. As with all animals it is down to the individual, so they will always show a certain preference.
Richard
Does anyone know if it is dangerous to feed a fox cooked chicken. As the bones are brittle could they break and the jagged part penetrate its stomach
Pat
I am 99% sure that cooked chicken bones would be very dangerous for a fox, the same as they are for dogs, for the very reason you stated. Raw bones are okay.
Administrador AnimalWised
We agree Pat, here's some more information if it is helpful:

https://www.animalwised.com/can-dogs-eat-cooked-bones-1477.html

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