Ferrets make good pets. They are loving, gentle creatures that can form a tight bond with their owner. They are also playful and can provide a great deal of entertainment. However, they do have specialized care requirements which must be met in order to keep them healthy. Before you bring home a new ferret, be sure you are able to provide the proper care for your new pet.
Housing for Pet Ferrets
Your ferret will need a secure cage in which to live. Ferrets can wiggle through even the smallest openings. They are also very agile with their paws and have been known to open doors and even unlock locks. You will need to obtain a ferret proof cage to house your pet safely.
Ferrets Need Constant Supervision
Exercise is important for your ferret, as it is for any pet. However, ferrets cannot be left unsupervised outside of their cage.
Ferrets are curious creatures. Left unsupervised, they can crawl into spaces that may be unsafe for them, such as behind refrigerators, stoves and other appliances. They may also chew on or swallow items that can create health problems for them.
Still, your ferret needs time outside of his caged enclosure, and he will enjoy interacting with you as well. Most ferrets also enjoy tunnels and other toys. Schedule time (at least four hours) on a daily basis to allow your pet supervised play time outside of his cage.
Ferrets also have special dietary needs. They are obligate carnivores and need animal-based protein in their diet. Their feed should be high in protein and in fat with low fiber levels.
Ferrets have short intestinal tracts, which means that food is passed through the gastrointestinal system quickly. As a result, ferrets require frequent small meals.
Ferrets, like most other pets, require fresh water to be available at all times also.
Ferrets do require veterinary care. Regular examinations are recommended and can be helpful in detecting illnesses and potential problems before they become serious, sparing your ferret needless suffering and prolonging your pet’s life.
Vaccinations are required as well. Many communities require ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies because of the public health risk associated with this disease. Other vaccines may be recommended as well. Consult your veterinarian to determine which vaccines are appropriate for your ferret and to determine when the vaccines should be administered.
Your ferret will also need to be spayed or neutered. Female ferrets (called jills) that are not spayed will need to be bred or to receive a hormone injection or they will develop a fatal hormone-related illness. Spaying is the most sensible answer to this dilemma. Unaltered male ferrets (known as hobs) produce a strong, unpleasant odor.
Your ferret will need regular grooming which will include ear cleaning and nail trims. They will shed twice yearly and will need to be combed during these times to remove loose fur.
Most ferrets do have a musty odor, but keeping their housing unit (i.e. the cage) clean, feeding a high quality balanced diet, and keeping them well-groomed should help minimize the odor.
The American Ferret Association has more information about ferret care on their FAQs page.