Ferrets are playful and curious animals by nature, that make wonderful pets. However, they are a much more specialized type of pet than a cat or dog, and require a number of needs to be met regularly. Here are 7 things to consider before deciding if a ferret is the right pet for you and your family.
Ferrets are carnivores, meaning they need to eat meat to survive. They have short digestive tracts, and need to eat frequently in order to stay healthy and happy. This makes their feeding needs a bit more time consuming than feeding most common house pets.
There are many high quality ferret foods on the market, but be sure to always read the ingredients carefully. Foods that are high in grain or vegetable matter are not safe for ferrets. Ferrets can also be fed raw, high fat meat, but do your research before taking this approach. It is also important to rotate foods regularly to ensure your ferret does not get attached to only one food, or in the event that it is discontinued or out of stock for a short while. Ferrets, like most pets, need a constant supply of fresh water.
Ferrets keep their fur very clean on their own, similar to cats. Regular baths are not recommended, as they will throw off your ferret’s natural body chemistry and cause an overproduction in smelly oils. There are dry ferret shampoos on the market, however, that do a good job of keeping your ferret smelling clean without compromising their natural body chemistry.
Keeping a bowl of water in your ferret’s cage for face washing is essential. Aside from their drinking water, which should be in a small animal drinking bottle. You will also need to to clean your Ferrets ears regularly with a gentle pet-specific ear cleaner, and trim their nails often.
A Stimulating Environment
Ferret cages need to be broken out into separate areas, similar to a human home. The top level has the best vantage point; the perfect place for a cozy ferret hammock. A dark place such as a hut is also an essential part of a happy ferret home. A littering station and feeding stations top it off. The best litters are newspaper based cat litter.
Ferrets love to play, and require an exciting selection of ferret toys to keep them engaged. Otherwise, they will make their own toys out of your stuff! Clear tunnels and balls are favourites.
Regular Out-Of-Cage Exercise
For out of the cage play, your home needs to be remarkably ferret-proofed. Ferrets can get through small spaces such as cracked windows and dryer vents. They will chew rubber or electrical items, and will break glass items. Sprinkle ferret-safe toys around the room for them to discover and play with. Be sure to also set up litter stations in a few different places!
Regular Vet Checks
Ferrets can live up to 13 years. Ferrets live healthier lives if they are spayed/neutered before reaching maturity. This will decrease their smell, and protect female ferrets – who remain in heat until they mate – from developing any serious uterus condition). A ferret leash, harness, and traveling cage are important to have on hand when visiting the vet.
Ferrets are very intelligent animals and are always looking for social interaction. They do best in small groups, so consider adopting a pair or more. We recommended you adopt a pair that has always been together to avoid territory disputes.
Nipping is a natural part of ferret play and interaction, so it is important to properly train your ferrets from the start to understand that nipping humans is not OK. Ferrets are easily injured, so be very careful when you handle them, especially with small children. They often enjoy role-playing as a predator. It is not recommended to have ferrets in a home with young children.
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