I just met JoJo — a new client’s adult male ferret full of life and wonder! His new human did not know much about ferrets and wanted to make sure he gave JoJo the best life possible.
Here’s the advice I passed on.
Important to Know About Ferrets
So I stepped in to help provide knowledge and assistance to his owner. Many people do not know much about ferrets, and it can be dangerous for your pet if you are unaware of some important facts about these cute little furry mammals.
All About Ferrets — Wild or Domesticated
Ferrets are in the same family as weasels, and cousins to the otter and badger. A common belief is that these animals are a wild caught creature, but this is a misconception as they are only domestically bred. The wild black-footed ferret, an endangered species native to the Midwestern United States is not the same as a ferret that is sold in pet stores as a pet. The ferret is not a rodent. Rodents are in a completely different scientific order. Ferrets are meat eaters (carnivores), and used to be trained to hunt small animals such as rabbits.
Do Ferrets Make Good Pets?
Ferrets are truly amazing pets and make a wonderful addition to the right home. They are extremely playful and curious, quiet and loving. There has been a high success rate in training ferrets to perform such things as fetching and using a litter box.
They carry their mischievous and playful nature well into old age, which makes them wonderful companions. Although when young ferrets sometimes playfully nip or bite — they can be taught correct behavior. A healthy,well-trained ferret should not bite.
What to Feed Your Ferret
As carnivores they need a diet high in animal protein and low in carbohydrates. When feeding them a dry food, make sure they always have access to their food. They have a short digestive tract and a fast metabolism, so they must eat often.
Never give ferrets sugary cereal, peanut butter, grains, corn, rice, raisins, bananas, other fruits, vegetables, dairy products, chocolate, other sweets, or any food with sugar. All of these items are loaded with complex carbohydrates and a ferret’s strictly carnivorous digestive tract cannot process these foods. Diets high in carbohydrates may lead to intestinal problems and some types of cancer.
A Ferret’s Odor
Ferrets are closely related to the polecat, and have a light musky smell. You can reduce that odorby spaying or neutering. Give your pet a bath using a mild shampoo made especially for ferrets once a month to minimize the odor. Also provide clean bedding and a healthy diet. Cleaning their ears out regularly also helps minimize their scent.
Your Happy Pet
The correct habitat is extremely important to a healthy happy ferret. As they are intensly curious and intelligent, they need a large cage or room that has been ferret-proofed. They like warm fuzzy blankets and trinkets galore. Cat toys make excellent toys and are usually safe for ferrets.
Tunnels and Cat towers make a fun and challenging playtime. Human interaction is important as well. At least two hours a day should be devoted to spending with your furbaby. Ferrets are not nocturnal and can usually adapt to your habits very easily.
A regular vet check up is required when you add a ferret to your life. They need immunizations and protection from fleas. Discussing your questions with your vet. Discussing things you do not understand is important to helping the vet treat your pet the best way possible.
There are diseases and digestive problems that ferrets can get from poor diet and ingesting small items or small parts from toys. It is extremely important to research all aspects of owning and taking care of a ferret. They make amazing pets and usually live between six and ten years when taken care of correctly.
I have been handling and taking care of ferrets for over three years and have always had a good experience with these little playful furbabies. There is one little one that I had in my care that stole my heart. She had a nerve condition that prevented her from walking or eating on her own. She had meds three times a day and I hand fed her every few hours.
But despite her condition she always had a sparkle in her eye and a kiss for me. I named her Rae, my little Rae of sunshine. I learned a lot while taking care of her and now have a softer part in my heart for these caring, playful, brilliant creatures.
I’d love to hear about YOUR experiences with ferrets! Comment below!