Ferret Care 101 – Diet, Health, and Preventive Care
Ferrets are silly, fun, and clever, making them ideal pets for a family. They are highly sociable and can be trained to do tricks. However, taking care of your ferret requires more effort than caring for a dog or a cat. Just like with all other pets, you have to make sure that your ferret is living a happy and healthy life. But how do you to that?
While ferret care is different from other pets, it is still manageable. All you have to do is stay consistent with the care, and your ferret will grow happy and healthy. Here is a short guide to help you understand the basic needs of your ferrets and how to take care of them.
Ferret requires plenty of fresh water. Make sure that there is a bowl of water in their cage and also in the room where they play. Make sure to refill the water frequently, so your pet stays hydrated throughout the day.
Their diet should be loaded with protein and fat. Ferret food is a bit challenging to find, which is why many owners use kitten food to feed their ferrets. Kitten food is higher in fat and protein as compared to an adult dog or cat food.
If you can’t find ferret food and are opting for kitten food instead, be sure to stay away from fish-based food. You can give your ferret occasional fruit pieces as treats. Do this sparingly as ferrets are carnivore and require fat and meat. Never give them human treats, like ice cream, as it might be indigestible or toxic for your pet.
Ferrets sleep for longer stretches throughout the day, and most of them don’t mind staying in their cage. However, it is best for your ferret to spend at least four hours outside of the cage daily. You would have to ferret-proof your house. Ferrets are rather smart and naturally curious. They can easily fit into small spaces. Keep some soft toys for them to chew on; otherwise, they might end up chewing your things.
Keep soft bedding in the cage and ensure that the cage has a double-secured latch as ferrets can figure out how to open clasps and latches. Keep the cage in an area that is free from drafts, but isn’t too warm.
Hygiene & Grooming of Ferrets
Hygiene and grooming are crucial for ferrets’ health. Here are the things you need to take care of:
Make sure to replace and clean these items every day:
Every week, make sure to clean:
Furnishings in the cage
Disinfect full cage
Every month, make sure to:
Bath and groom your ferret. Ferrets have a distinctive odor, and baths may not necessarily help. Avoid over bathing them as it would only make their skin dry.
Brush their teeth
Keep in mind; ferrets shed twice every year. Be sure to comb them to get the hair out. Your ferret might require weekly nail trimming, depending on their nail growth.
Ferrets adore playing. They love to bounce around sideways and back and forth with their teeth bared. While they may look ferocious, it is their way of inviting other ferrets and you to play with them. You can bounce along with them to make them happy and to get them to exercise.
They love to play fight and wrestle, but they tend to get rough. However, they learn to be careful when playing fight with humans. Your ferret will get plenty of exercise on their own; all you need to do is play along with them. It will also help you in forming a bond with them.
You can train your ferret to use a newspaper, piddle pad, or litter box as a toilet. The washroom must be in the same room where they play. Ferrets can’t hold it long, like a puppy or cat, since their digestive tract is shorter. Place a paper or a box at the corner of the room to make it easy to train your pet using their natural preferences.
Aside from that, you can train your ferret to shake paws or sit. They are very receptive to training, which means you can teach them simple tricks easily.
Common Health Issue
One of the most common health issues with ferrets is adrenal gland disease, which is, fortunately, a preventable disease. The leading causes of this disease are insufficient UVB light and poor diet. The symptoms include:
Reproductive organs discharge
If you notice these symptoms in your ferret, then take them to the vet to get a proper diagnosis. When your ferret is diagnosed with this disease, the vet will remove their adrenal glands. They might require medication to suppress their hormones, particularly testosterone. Be sure to schedule follow up appointments to monitor your ferret’s health.
Preventive Care for your Ferret
Ensure your ferret has a complete physical exam once or twice a year from a vet. Aside from that, it is essential to follow some preventive care, including:
Regular ferret vaccinations (link to the new product)
Fecal examination every year to prevent parasites
Ear mites examination
Using heartworm preventives
Using flea and tick control supplies
Getting dental cleaning once a year
Toenails trimming regularly
Routine blood tests
Fasting glucose level measurement
Caring for ferrets is a big responsibility, which is why it is essential to ensure first that you are willing to put in the effort. Ferrets make wonderful pets. They are sociable and will keep you entertained and feel loved. Make sure you provide them with the best care to keep them happy and healthy.