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Ferret Care & Other Considerations

The popularity of ferrets as household pets is growing rapidly. They are intelligent and curious animals that sleep for a large period of the day.  However, when they are awake, they tend to be very active and need stimulation & enrichment to occupy their time.  A ferret can live for an average of five to nine years so will require a high level of commitment and care.
Ferrets require a secure area where it can sleep and exercise.  A cage is necessary to protect your ferret when unsupervised.  You will also need to ensure your ferret has a secure, dark area where it can sleep as this is what it will do for most of the day.  A ferret is a naturally curious animal; if there is a hole then it will want to get into it, if there is a shelf then it will want to know what is on it!   Around the home there are lots of things to take into account when preparing for your ferret’s playtime. Cables and breakable items should all be moved away from where your ferret is going to play.  Any gaps in furniture or flooring should be blocked or sealed, no matter how small.  You may
think ‘a ferret will never get in there’ but if you have thought about it then so has your ferret, and it will find a way.

Ferrets will eat many time a day so a supply of food should be readily available in your ferret’s enclosure. The ideal means of doing this is with a complete, quality ferret kibble from a trusted supplier.  Grocery store cat food is not appropriate, nor are the so called ferret foods found there. Your ferret can also be fed a supplement of raw or cooked meat such as chicken or rabbit.  However, this may not always be suitable in warmer weather when fresh meat can go bad quickly.  Treats such as egg yolk, cod liver oil and selective ferret snacks can be
given to your ferret in small amounts, but not as an alternative to a balanced diet.  A ferret should also have a continuous supply of
fresh water.  Ferrets will drink throughout the day, and during periods of play will be seen returning for water at various intervals. 
A word of caution here about digging: ferrets are natural diggers and related to mink so they may find their water bowl to tempting to leave alone and you may find them "snorkeling" in it.  This habit is not going to harm your ferret but may cause problems in their cage with water going everywhere.

When you interact with your ferret you will find it to be a great addition to your family. It’s likely to race around looking to involve you (plus other ferrets) with games of hide-and-seek. It will chase you as well as stopping and expecting to be chased in return. Ferrets benefit greatly from having areas to investigate and hide in so the addition of tubes and cloth tunnels all give a ferret the means to exercise as well as areas where it can curl up and have a sleep if it all gets a bit too much.

It is important to take your ferret for a routine check-up each year. Your vet will be familiar with what a healthy ferret looks like and they will be able to give the best care to your animal, as well as keeping your mind at rest.  Since ferrets are very active animals (when they are
awake) they can injure themselves while they play. It is always wise to supervise the playtime of your ferrets so that you can closely monitor their well being.  Should you be worried about your ferret’s health then it is important that you seek advice from your vet.  You can also make healthcare part of the daily or weekly routine for your ferret. Keep a log of its size, condition and weight. Keep this information
somewhere safe so in the event that you do need to take your ferret to the vet then you have information about your ferret which may help the vet in caring for your companion.  Ferrets are very clean animals and will spend a good portion of their time awake cleaning themselves.
As ferrets are very susceptible to ear mites, it may be necessary for you to assist them in regularly checking their ears and cleaning them with a piece of gauze dipped in warm water.  You will also need to regularly clip your ferret’s nails. With some experience this an easy task to master.  However, for the first few attempts your vet will be able to help you and show you what is needed.

If you would like more information about your ferret & it's care consider joining our forum.  To join in the fun please visit: The Ferret Chatterbox
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