Choosing a Ferret
Ferrets are very dependent on their human companions. Potential owners should evaluate their ability to commit since they require continuous care and supervision. Their average life span is 6-10 years.
Ferrets are very social animals, but may bite or nip if mishandled. Ferrets get along well with dogs and cats if properly introduced. It is not recommended that they interact with birds, rodents, or small reptiles as they are predatory animals by nature.
When selecting a ferret, choose one that is bright eyed and alert. Whether you select a female or a male ferret be sure to have them spayed or neutered. Most pet stores that sell ferrets are already spayed/neutered. If not, it is best to have it performed before six months of age. Descenting a ferret helps reduce their musky odor. This can be performed at time of spay/neuter.
Ferrets require a high protein diet. Premium quality cat food or specialty ferret foods are recommended. Water should be available at all times and is best if it is in a bottle. Food should also be available at all times. Occasionally fruits and vegetables may be used as treats.
Bathing is recommened once or twice a month. The water tempurature should be luke-warm and use a shampoo formulated for ferrets. Be careful not to get water in the ferret’s eyes or nose. Clean their ears on a weekly or monthly basis to remove wax build up and trim nails every other week with a nail trimmer or a cat claw trimmer. If nails are left unattended they can get caught in bedding, carpet or cage wire and can splinter. Ferrets should also have regular dental care. Brushing their teeth at home with a finger tooth brush and pet toothpaste will help prevent tarter and plaque build up.
The cage should be large enough for your ferret to have some play space. A blanket or towel can serve as a sleeping place for them. A litter pan should be placed in a corner of the cage. Ferrets should have a least one room in your home that is “ferret proof”. Be sure to eliminate loose boards, open drains or air ducts and cover any holes. Ferrets are very curious animals, they will investigate almost anything.
Ferrets love to play games, run, jump, slide, and do somersaults. The best type of toys for ferrets are made of hard plastic, so when they bite them they can’t destroy them. Ferrets can sometimes get carried away when playing and will nip or bite. A loud, firm “NO” is a good disciplinary action.
Valley Veterinary Hospital recommends yearly wellness exams along with yearly distemper and rabies vaccines.