If you have been thinking about bringing a ferret home, I am happy for you. However, it is only wise to not only understand the ferret behavior but also some of the items you might need. This article highlights 10 essentials for ferret care.
Now, if you have already made up your mind about bringing a ferret home, it is time to go shopping. Below is an extensive list of some of the items that you will need to buy and have been hand-picked by us from Amazon. The recommendations are used on an everyday basis and have quality and price in mind for you. Just click on the images.
- Pet carrier
I do not know how many times I should remind you of this. Well, you have already set your eyes on your favorite ferret at the pet store. How are you going to bring him home? I suggest you get a small pet carrier.
Understand that ferrets are small animals. Besides that, they are curious and jumpy. This means that once you bring your ferret to the car, he might end being a driving hazard. A small pet carrier will confine him safely and easily.
It should be the first thing you purchase. After all, you will need it when traveling with your new friend or the annual vet check-ups. It is the best and safest way to transport a pet.
- A wire mesh ferret cage
You must already know that ferrets live in cages. Well, it would not be a great idea to have them roaming in the house without supervision. Note that these pets are extremely intelligent and always eager to escape from home.
Now, to keep him happy, you will need to purchase a ferret specific cage. The cage should have small gaps since ferrets will try to escape by trying to fit in small spaces. A cage made for a ferret will ensure that this does not happen.
The cage must be spacious to allow your ferret to walk around the cage.
Setting up your ferret’s cage
Once you purchase the perfect cage for your little fuzzy friend, setting it up should not be as difficult. Think of it as the studio room for your ferret. He will require beddings, a litter box, toys, and a food station.
Before I go on, you should pick a place to set up your ferret’s new home. Avoid keeping him near windows, and especially away from direct sunlight. Too much lighting could trigger a female ferret to activate reproductive hormones even when they are spayed. Besides, too much heat might cause heatstroke for your fuzzy buddy.
Ferret beddings – As I have mentioned above, your ferret’s cage will need to have a place for him to sleep. In most instances, sleeping sack, hammocks and blankets will make excellent beddings for your ferret. Other ferret owners will go for ferret litter beddings instead, which is just as comfortable.
Sandbox – A sandbox will serve as your ferret’s playground. Well, we shall look at the other types of toys you might consider getting for your ferret. Remember that these are high-energy pets which makes them want to play all the time.
Food station – a ferret’s cage should have everything he needs to survive. Well, choose a side of the cage to install a food station. If you purchased a multi-level cage, you can install several food stations all the same. In this article, we will look at the essentials for a food station in terms of ferret care.
I cannot emphasize enough about how important it is to keep your ferret’s cage clean. Needless to say, these small pets can be quite messy with their food. As a result, it is normal to have his food spilled all over the floor.
Well, for this reason, you will need to clean his cage every few days and do a general cleaning every week. For instance, you can sweep the food spills and change the beddings and food bowls every 3 days. However, after each week, remove everything from the cage and take the cage to the bathroom.
Use disinfectants to ensure that the cage is clean and free of contamination.
Not only will this leave your ferret comfortable but also rid of the musky smell associated with ferrets.
- Ferret food
Well, food is a necessity for every organism’s life. Ensure that you already have ferret food at home, or bring some with you. I must warn you that ferrets may need to feed quite often. Also, you should be careful when buying food for your ferret.
At this point, I am sure you must be wondering what ferrets eat. These are among the smallest carnivores in the wild. Ferrets feed on meat, strictly. However, because of their popularity, you will find ferret-specific food in your local pet store. If not, you can always do your research and order ferret food online.
Ferret food must contain high animal protein content as well as fat. Quality ferret food will ensure that all the ferret nutritional needs are met. I would advise you to speak with the pet store technician to find out the type of food your ferret was on before adoption.
Can ferrets eat cat food instead?
I must acknowledge that you might not have immediate access to ferret-specific foods. Some ferret owners have used cat food before and it worked well. However, you should be careful to ensure that the cat food you choose does not contain harmful ingredients.
For instance, the cat food you choose should not contain high volumes of carbs or any dairy products. Ferrets have such a short digestive tract, which makes it difficult to digest complex starch and carb material.
I would advise you to start with ferret-specific food. Avoid using cat food to feed your ferret as much as you can.
What else can I give my ferret?
Now, since cat food is not the best option for ferret food, what should you give him instead? While you should remain consistent with the type of food you feed your ferret, you can still substitute it with a natural diet.
In the wild, a ferret would be hunting small animals for prey. Prey would include rabbits, mice, and other rodents. You can feed your ferret a raw diet or pre-killed prey. Note that it should be frozen before you give it to your ferret.
As I mentioned above, ferrets do not digest carbs and starches. Therefore, refrain from giving him such food as fruits, milk, or chocolate. Garlic containing food can be very harmful to your ferret.
Do not forget to order a few treats for your ferret. I mean, you will need those during play and training time. I have written about the ferret diet before, and it should help you understand the nutritional requirements of a ferret.
- Food and water bowls
Above, I mentioned that it is important to set up a food station in your ferret’s cage. Well, I suggest you purchase several -food and water bowls. Well, the food bowl should be tied to the cage’s walls, or heavy enough to prevent it from tipping over and spilling all his food.
Instead of a water bowl, I would advise you to go for a water bottle meant for pets. Ferrets can and love to swim. Leaving clean drinking water in his bowl provides the opportunity to do so. This will lead to contamination and your ferret may not drink the water anyway.
Always ensure that there is food in your ferret’s food bowls. Do not forget to wash the bowls as often as you can.
- Ferret toys
Ferrets are both intelligent and playful. Unfortunately, without much to do in his cage, he can get bored. To avoid this, I suggest you get various toys to install in his cage. Some cages will come with built-in tunnels or tube toys. You can also choose to install these toys yourself.
Tubes and tunnels work well because ferrets love to hide in burrows. Tunnel toys provide the dark and wild experience for your ferret.
You can also invest in a maze toy and keep it in his cage. Because these pets are extremely smart, they will want to participate in solving each maze puzzle. It can be a great activity to mentally stimulate your ferret.
During playtime, you will need to socialize with your ferret. You can engage him in a stimulating chase game. Or else, you may get a remote control car toy and watch him try to catch it. It will be good to burn up his extra calories.
- Ferret specific litter box
One of the best things about ferrets is that you can litter train them. And guess what, it will only take you a few days before he gets accustomed to using the litter box. However, you must get a litter box that your ferret can easily climb into.
A ferret specific litter box is among the essentials of ferret care. After all, it will make it easy for you to clean up and manage any ferret odor in the house. It should have a lower entry side and high sides to keep it from tipping over and spilling his waste.
Do not forget to get ferret litter as well. It should be dust-free and preferably paper-based.
- Ferret grooming essentials
Grooming your ferret should be in your schedule. Well, you will need to pick a few essentials to aid grooming your fuzzy friend. For instance, purchase a gentle kitten shampoo for your ferret. You can always order this online if you do not find them in your local pet store.
The shampoo should be gentle not to irritate your ferret’s eyes and nose. Do not forget to pick a soft brush for his coat. Also, you will need to occasionally clean your ferret’s ears and trim his nails. Well then, you must purchase a gentle ear cleaner and nail clipper for small pets.
Bathing a ferret
Ferrets are associated with a certain musky smell. Well, while this is natural, cleaning after him can alleviate the odor. I suggest bathing your ferret at least once a month. The reason behind this is simple; bathing him regularly might seem like a good idea but it is not.
When you bath him so much, it rids him of his natural skin oil. As a result, your ferret’s body will overwork to compensate for the oil loss. This will produce more skin oil than intended which results in increased foul ferret smell.
Well, use a gentle shampoo to bath him and restrict is to at most once a month. If you feel like he needs a bath before a month is over, you can wipe the dirt off his body using a wet washcloth. Do not dip him in the water completely.
Ferrets grow their nails very quickly. You might actually need to trim his nails every two weeks to make sure that he is not tearing up your stuff. Use a small pet nail clipper and be cautious not to hurt him. Now, when you look closely at your ferret’s nails, you can see a pink layer. During nail trimming, you should avoid cutting into the pink layer as it consists of blood vessels.
Use a kitten nail clipper for easy and safe nail trimming.
As with nail trimming, you will also need to clean your ferret’s ears. Above, I mentioned about getting ear cleaner and cotton buds. Now, it is best to clean your ferret’s ears when you are bathing him.
Dip the ear cleaner bottle in a bowl of warm water. This should help warm it up to your ferret’s body temperature to avoid irritating him. Once the ear cleaner gets warm, dip a cotton bud into the cleaner and drive it into your ferret’s ear. It should take up to 8 cotton buds to clean one ear.
Once again, restrict ear cleaning to at most once a month. If your ferret appears to have brown crusts in and outside his ears, you might want to check in with your vet. It could be an infection.
- The first-aid kit
Well, as with humans, it is likely to have minor accidents with your pet ferret. Having a simple first-aid kit is necessary for handling any injuries at home. Basically, the items in the kit will help stop bleeding is your ferret gets injured.
For instance, if you have two ferrets, they could get in a fight and end up injuring one another. The first-aid kit will come in handy if there is any bleeding or open cuts.
You will also appreciate having the first aid kid when trimming your ferret’s nails. It should have the styptic powder to stop bleeding should you cut into his pink layer.
- Leash and harness
Well, I have mentioned multiple times that ferrets are escape artists. If you are letting him out of the cage, you either have to completely ferret proof of the house or use a leash and harness. Well, this will be of help especially when cleaning his cage. You can always attach it to your pants and move around in the house with him.
Note that you should not let your ferret roam around the house without supervision.
- A vet
You will need a vet to check your new furry friend before you can settle. It is only fair to ensure that your ferret has been vaccinated and is healthy when starting out. Besides, you must take him for regular check-ups and vaccinations every year.
Sticking to one vet is a great way to keep track of your ferret’s health.