banner ad

Small Pets - Ferret

Ferrets are a very common small pet that like to explore and roam. Many people believe that ferrets are rodents, but they actually belong to a family of animals that includes weasels and minks. Ferrets have become far more popular in recent years, but check your local states laws for possible restrictions on ferret ownership. Ferrets are very different than owning a domesticated dog or cat. They require a lot of responsibility and are a big commitment. It is also important to carefully consider what you are looking for in a pet and if a ferret would be right for your schedule and living situation. Keep in mind that they can be somewhat temperamental towards visitors, making them prone to bite or attack if they feel threatened. Keep reading to find out if a ferret is right for you. Many people will purchase their ferrets from a breeder or pet shop, but there are much more humane and inexpensive alternatives that should be considered. The Humane Society and other adoption agencies are great places to look to adopt your new pet. Keep in mind that ferrets will require some specific training because they are not that easy to care for. They require a very high level of commitment so that they can lead a full and happy life.

Food

Ferrets eat a diet of mainly protein and fat. They are carnivores and their diet must contain at least 34 percent animal meat protein and 22 percent fat. Chicken and turkey are great ways to add protein to your ferret’s diet. Fruit and vegetables should also be avoided because they are difficult for ferrets to digest and are a choking hazard. The sugar that is found in fruit can exacerbate insulinoma conditions. Food containing Xylitol should also be avoided. Cat and dog food are not a good idea because they are not designed for a ferrets digestive tract.

Food should be served in a ceramic bowl because they are more sturdy and chew resistant. Place the food bowl away from your ferret’s bathroom quarters. Make sure to remove any perishable foods as ferrets like to bury and hide food. Make sure that your ferret always has access to clean drinking water and food because they have a high metabolism.

Care and Handling for Your Pet

When you first adopt your ferret, take it to the vet to get a full checkup. They require a vaccination against rabies and should be spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted litters and their odor. Ferrets are also known to bite and seriously attack children when they feel threatened, so it is important to supervise visits and make sure that your ferret is not carrying any diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Many people believe that ferrets are easy-to-care for small pets. This is a large myth because ferrets require a lot of attention and space. Ferrets sleep from 15 to 20 hours a day, but are wide awake and alert for four hours. They have a very good sense of smell, but very poor vision so make sure that you let your ferret know when you are approaching with a gentle voice so that they are not started. Ferrets also must be handled very carefully because they have very fragile skeletons. Let the ferret come to you and pick it up with both hands. Ferrets secrete oil with a musky odor just like a skunk. To help minimize odors you should spay or neuter you ferret. You should also bathe your ferret with special shampoo to limit the smell. Frequently changing the bedding where your ferret sleeps will also help to reduce the odor. Ferrets are prone to ear mites so make sure that you clean their ears with a cotton swab and mite cleanser.

Ferrets require a large caged in area with a lid. It must be fairly large (at least 18 inches tall, 18 inches deep and 30 inches wide) and should have a solid bottom so they will not chew on things like carpet or plastic. Ferrets can be taught how to use a litter box which will help keep your home clean. Clumping litter is not recommended for ferrets because it can cause respiratory problems. You should use one inch of paper or plant fibers to line the cage. Ferrets are not as clean as cats so their litter boxes will need to be cleaned more often. Ferrets are very good at escaping so the cage should have a secure latch. It should be in a cool shaded area where temperatures are between 60 and 70 degrees. Your ferret’s home should be cleaned at least once every five days which includes disinfecting the cage with soap and water and washing the ferret’s bedding.

Accessories

Since Ferrets are not caged animals they require a bit more money than other small animals. Ferrets require a den to live in rather than a simple wire cage.  Ferrets also require a body harness, leash, food, water, litter box, litter, toys and crawl spaces. Ferrets require room to roam and explore so if you normally keep your ferret in a cage or den let them have time to exercise each day around the house. Ferrets like to tunnel so make sure that they have places to climb and burrow. They should have soft bedding that can be easily washed. Ferrets like to chew and there are a wide variety of toys to choose from that can help keep them entertained. Many people like to take their ferrets for walks, but make sure that they have a secure body harness on to prevent them from escaping.

Overall ferrets make a wonderful pet if you have the time and money to provide for them. They will require exercise, either roaming around the house daily or walks. Ferrets also require an owner that can clean their cage regularly because they spray and emit scented oil just like skunks. Ferrets are social creatures so make sure to spend lots of time getting to know your new pet.