Have you been dreaming of getting a pet ferret? Well, one of the challenges for new ferret owners is understanding these small creatures. It is because ferrets are quite different from regular pets, cats and dogs. For this reason, I have prepared a comprehensive new ferret owner guide.
The most important things about owning a ferret are knowing how to care for one. This includes the type of food you offer to your ferret, living environments and health requirements.
New ferret owner guide. Ferret care
If you just got a new ferret, I am sure you are excited. These small furry creatures are great pets for someone who wants a quiet companion. Also, you can live just about anywhere with your ferret, whether in your home or an apartment.
Besides, these pets are social. They blend well with human companions, and under careful supervision, ferrets do well with children.
A female ferret is referred to as a jill whereas a male goes by a hob. Note that getting a ferret means that you will enjoy his company for a number of years. Some ferrets have lived beyond ten years. Therefore, you must be ready to commit to your ferret for some time.
New ferret owner guide. Everything you need to know about ferrets
Ferrets are extremely intelligent pets. When you spend some time with a ferret, you will notice that they are smart. And this personality makes them highly trainable. If you are looking to impress your friends with a trained pet, a ferret is a perfect choice.
Besides, it also makes it easy for you to litter train them. At the same time, it makes them prone to boredom. Thus, you must provide as much physical and mental stimulation for your ferret.
Secondly, the ferrets are friendly. The first few days in your home might not be exactly relaxing for your new buddy but once he settles down, you will make great friends. However, you must put in efforts to bond with your ferret.
Ferrets can be let out the cage. However, you should have already ferret proof your house. You can do this by closing all the doors and windows. Also, get rid of small items your ferret can chew or swallow. Alternatively, you can get him a leash and collar when playing out of the cage.
A ferret will need to be out of the cage for at least 4 hours a day.
They are also healthy pets. However, they are susceptible to various ferret illnesses. While most of these illnesses are treatable, it can be pretty expensive. Besides, you must take your ferret to the vet at least annually. Older ferrets might need to see a vet twice a year.
Living with a ferret for the first time
So, you are determined to get a ferret. This is always an exciting idea but then again, you must understand what to expect. As I mentioned earlier, caring for a ferret is different from caring for another pet.
I have prepared this new ferret owner guide for you to understand ferret care. Below, we will discuss the basic Necessities you might require for your new fuzzy buddy. We will also look at the living environment suitable for these pets as well as their diet.
Basic necessities of a ferret
Assuming that you have already made up your mind about getting a ferret, I am going to outline some of the items you must purchase. Well, before you head to the breeder or pet store to purchase your ferret, get the following necessities first:
You are going to need it to take your ferret home. A small pet carrier will make it easy to transport your ferret from the store to the house. Besides, you will require it every time you are transporting him to the vet.
Purchase a perfect small pet carrier. A cat carrier will also do very well to bring your ferret home.
Because ferrets are small animals, it is not advisable to let them roam in the house, especially the first few days. Before getting a ferret, invest in a good wire ferret cage. Note that ferrets love chewing through stuff.
The cage is going to be your ferret’s home. It is his safe space and thus it must be comfortable. For a baby ferret, get a grounded cage. If you are adopting an adult ferret, you may go for the ferret multi-level cages.
Food bowl and water bottle
Ferrets love to eat. Well, you cannot forget to purchase a food bowl and a water bottle for him. Go for a heavier food bowl. Ferrets tend to play and jump around and may end up spilling his food. Alternatively, you can tie it to the side of his cage.
You should also tie the water bottles to the cage. Your ferret needs water as much as you feed him. You should, however, go for the glass water bottles. These are difficult to chew through as compared to the plastic water bottles.
You can always order quality and ferret-specific food bowl and water bottle online.
As I have mentioned above, the ferret cage is his living space. You must also install beddings in his cage. Now, ferrets enjoy sleeping. In fact, they are crepuscular and will spend at least 18 hours a day sleeping. It is only fair to provide a comfortable place to lie down.
Ferret beddings may vary from hammocks, old shirts or litter beddings. Hammocks are especially comfortable during cold weather. Your ferret can tuck himself in and take the longest nap. For a new ferret owner, ferret litter can also do well.
Remember to purchase ferret-specific litter. It should be odorless, dust-free and absorbent. In most cases, ferret litter is usually paper-based.
Ferret litter box
You should also get a ferret litter box from the day you bring your ferret home. You must begin litter training as soon as possible.
The ferret litter box should be easy to climb into. Go for a litter box with a lower entry side. However, all the other sides must be higher. After all, you do now want him to tip the entire box over.
Earlier in this article, I mentioned that ferrets are intelligent. They need constant stimulation when they are awake. While you must play with your ferret, it would also be helpful to have toys. These should keep your ferret busy, especially when you are away from home.
Ferret toys can range from sturdy balls to tubes and tunnels. There are plenty of ferret toys on Amazon to choose from.
Avoid rubbery and stringy toys. These could pose a threat to your ferret given that these pets love to chew and swallow items.
New ferret owner guide. What should I feed my new ferret?
This is one of the common questions most new ferret owners ask. I mean, when I started keeping ferrets as pets, I wasn’t sure of the type of diet to go for. However, a little research and consultation with the pet store technician helped.
Now, ferrets are obligate carnivores. In the wild, ferrets feed on meat. They hunt down small mammals for food.
However, in our homes, they do not get to do this. Instead, we feed them safe commercial ferret food. Ferret food must have high proteins and fats content. However, it is important to enquire about the type of food he has been on.
You should continue feeding him the same diet. If you want to change your ferret’s diet, consult your vet and also do it gradually. Sudden dietary changes may cost you a trip to the vet as a result of diarrhea and upset stomach.
Ferret food is readily available for ferret owners just about anywhere. You can always check the best ferret food to buy online. Ensure that it is ferret specific and safe for your fuzzy buddy.
Grooming your ferret
It is very important to understand grooming in ferrets. While you can bath your dog twice or thrice a month, a ferret only needs a bath once a month. Well, I assume that you have researched much more on ferrets before you made up your mind to adopt a ferret.
Ferrets will rarely get dirty. They spend most of their time sleeping in their cage. Now, to remove the musky ferret smell, use small pets’ gentle shampoo to bathe him. Restrict this to once a month.
Should you bath him regularly, you will rid him of his natural skin oil. As a result, your ferret’s skin will overproduce the skin oil. It is not only harmful to your ferret but will also cause your ferret to have a nasty smell.
Should your ferret get his coat all dirty between the monthly baths, you can wipe him using a damp washcloth. At least this will not ruin his skin oil production balance.
At the same time, you will need to purchase an ear cleaner for your fuzzy buddy. They tend to wax quite quickly. Once again, restrict ear cleaning to once a month, just as bathing your ferret. Doing it too much will dry out your ferret’s ears, which could easily lead to an ear infection.
Other things you might need include:
- Ferret toothbrush and toothpaste for proper dental care
- Kitten ear cleaner which is gentle for your ferret. Warm it before use in a hot water bowl
- Small pet nail clipper for trimming your ferret’s nails. Do it at least twice a month
Annual health check-ups
Now, your fuzzy might be comfortable but do not neglect his health. Before you actually bring home, it is only fair to take him to the vet for a few lab tests. It is important to make sure that you are bringing a healthy pet home.
Your vet will advise you based on the history of your ferret. So, also make sure to ask the pet store technician about your ferret’s health history.
It is also essential to have him descended and neutered. Also, your vet will be able to advise you about the necessary vaccinations for your ferret. Afterward, if your ferret is completely healthy, you will need to bring him for a checkup at least once a year, unless he falls sick before.
I have written for the common health issues in ferrets before. It is important to understand some of the complications that your ferret might encounter. However, ferrets are basically healthy pets, based on how well you are taking care of him.
Taking care of a ferret is not exactly an easy task. Ferrets can be expensive but they are worth it all. Not only are they playful but they make great companions. I hope this new ferret owner guide is going to get you started on proper ferret care.
Remember, as I mentioned above, you must provide at least 4 hours of physical and mental stimulation. To engage with your ferret, try playing with him. Engage in interactive games and you will be surprised at how affectionate these pets are.