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10 tips how to take proper care of a ferret

author Lucy Byrne | Care and raising

Ferrets are popular pets because of their nice and friendly nature. They are also very playful and therefore, you’ll definitely have a lot of fun with them. On the other hand, this animal is quite demanding with regard to the care and time it needs from you. You should take that into account if you’re planning to get it. What else should you get prepared for?

1. House

Similarly to small rodents, the most suitable housing for a ferret is a spacious and firm cage that provides it with sufficient place to live as well as safety. However, the cage needs to be large enough to have sufficient space for movement as well as playing. Ferrets, similarly to brown rats, like hanging hammocks or other types of hanging beds.

You can also improve the cage by putting a carpet on its floor. Ferrets are great at escaping, so the cage should be secured at least by plastic clamps or plastic locks. The minimal dimensions of the cage are approximately 80x50x70 centimetres.

2. Feeding

Perfect food for ferrets contains at least a third of proteins and a fourth of healthy fat. You won’t definitely make a mistake, if you get complex dry food at a vet or in a pet store or if you give your pet high-quality kitten food which is also suitable for a ferret thanks to its contents.

Ferrets love chicken and duck meat or boiled eggs. Avoid fresh fruits and vegetables. Particularly carbohydrates from fruits are difficult to digest for a ferret organism and it could harm its digestion. This little beast has very high metabolism, you should feed it 8 to 10 times a day in a perfect situation.

3. Drinking habits

Similarly to every other animal, ferrets need an access to fresh drinking water. Watch out if the water is not too cold, the ferret could otherwise stop drinking it. Ferrets need to be watched over if they are not dehydrated.

4. Hygiene

You should treat your ferret with a bath at least once in 6 months. On the other hand, frequent baths could cause dry skin and activate scent glands. Then, it could have the opposite effect and a ferret can start to stink more often. Taking care of ferret hair which protects it from external factors is also important. You can also say from its hair if it is healthy. When the hair is dry, rich and fragrant, everything’s okay.

Also, clean the cage regularly at least twice a week. You can add lemon or vinegar to water for cleaning the cage as it efficiently removes the smell which is unpleasant for some people. You’ll need special litter as dust from classic litter is dangerous to ferrets’ airways. Also, toilets for ferrets are sold. These are special plastic grids and the animal usually learns to use it quite fast.

5. Toys

Ferrets love toys, e.g. various balloons they can roll using their nose. You can also put toys into its cage. Even though a ferret is not a rodent, it also likes to chew up almost everything. Therefore, pick toys carefully so they don’t contain any harmful substances and are made of resistant materials. :)

6. Training

You should devote at least 30 minutes a day in which you will pay your attention only to the animal. Similarly to brown rats, ferrets are very intelligent and seek human contact. Use that and train various commands with this unusual pet, e.g. coming when called, etc., ferrets learn by repeating. Be patient and don’t forget about treats, e.g. a piece of chicken meat.

7. Communication

Never shout at your ferret or raise your voice. You could stress it out and it could bite you when panicking. To win your ferret’s trust and build a strong relationship with it, you have to use a calm and quiet voice. Speak to it regularly, not only when training it. It breaks down the barriers between you and the animal and it also increases their self-confidence.

8. Movement

Give your ferret enough space. A large cage is not enough in this case. A ferret needs to get out of its house almost every day. To snoop around and to find out what’s new. Before you release it from the cage, check there’s nothing in the room which could be potentially harmful. Definitely do not go away when the ferret is out and watch it.

9. Cuddling

As I have already mentioned, ferrets like human contact. When you carry this pet, always use both hands. Ferrets may look robust compared to other pets, e.g. some small rodents, but the opposite is true. You can grab it from below with one hand and scratch with the other – for example behind its neck, ferrets love that.

10. Prevention

Proper care includes check-ups at a vet. He/she should check if the animal is healthy and if it doesn’t have any problems the owner can’t recognize at first glance. You should also take it for check-ups because of regular vaccination, mainly anti-rabbies vaccination.

Do you have this fabulous pet at home? What is your experience with taking care of a ferret?