Are Ferrets Good Pets?

This is a question that more than 6816 of our readers have been asking us! Luckily, we have found the most appropriate information for you!

Ferrets are playful, active, curious and loving. They make wonderful pets, but before you fall in love with one at a pet store or rush off to get one after talking to a delighted ferret owner, there are a few things that you must consider.

California, for example, allows only neutered males to be kept; and in Carson City, Nevada, it is illegal to own a ferret if you have a small child in your household. In addition to the purchase price, you can expect to pay another $150 to $350 for vaccinations (including rabies), veterinary examinations, and basic supplies. Your ferret will, of course, need food, plus you will need to regularly buy litter, deodorizing cleaners, over-the-counter medicines including hairball remedies, and vitamin supplements, shampoos, collars and leads, etc. A domestically bred ferret will usually not be vicious or aggressive, but it is in its nature to enjoy games that simulate hunting, tug-of-war, chasing, or mock combat. If you are not able to devote the added time and energy required for raising a kit, adopting or rescuing an older animal may be the perfect solution. A kit, while requiring more time, training, and patience than a mature ferret, will reward you with added playfulness and adaptability; and you will have the joy of watching it grow. Descenting your ferret, removing the scent sac, will not help the natural musky healthy odor and it can lead to a host of medical problems. You may need to keep a small amount of dirty litter in the pan for a little while to help your pet understand the box’s purpose, and you can discourage the ferret from using other corners of the room or enclosure by covering them with bedding or food bowls. Also, because ferrets love to nibble on floor fabrics, you may need to place a plastic carpet protector over any sections that your pet finds especially appetizing. Be extra careful to safeguard the contents of drawers and cabinets to prevent your ferret from opening them, and to keep medicines, soaps, cleaners, etc. Like a cat, dog, or child, you will need to protect your ferret from suffocation hazards including plastic bags and drapery cords. Kaytee makes a good ferret food specially formulated for your pet’s nutritional requirements, and we offer it through our Web site or mail-order catalog.

Why are ferrets a bad pet?

Ferrets are predatory animals and may not be suitable to share a home with pets like rabbits, birds, lizards or rodents. They might get along with dogs and cats. … Ferrets may not be the right pet for everyone especially a family with young children because ferrets can bite.

Are ferrets high maintenance?

And a social animal like a ferret needs company and attention. … But even if your ferret has company, it’s still a high-maintenance pet, more comparable to a dog than to most small caged animals. And like dogs or cats, they need regular vet care, which can be expensive.

Are ferrets aggressive?

Ferrets must be taught not to nip or bite, much the same way that kittens and puppies are taught what behavior is appropriate. A domestically bred ferret will usually not be vicious or aggressive, but it is in its nature to enjoy games that simulate hunting, tug-of-war, chasing, or mock combat.

Do ferrets smell bad?

Ferrets have a natural, normal smell but that doesn’t mean they should stink. Ferrets are popular pets, but many people note that they have a distinct odor to them. This musky smell is something that most ferret owners get used to and eventually don’t even notice, but sometimes the stink is worse than it should be.

If you’ve ever considered bringing home a small furry pet, you’ve probably considered a ferret. Pouncing and playing, hiding your keys, or snoozing in a pile of fluff, ferrets will easily win you over. They’re highly entertaining and fun to watch, so it’s no wonder that ferrets are so popular.

Pouncing and playing , hiding your keys, or snoozing in a pile of fluff, ferrets will easily win you over. However, ferrets aren’t rodents; they are a part of the Mustelid family, cousins to otters, minks, and weasels. If they have cage mates, this time can be lessened to two hours a day, minimum, since they’ll have a partner. They like to nest and burrow in couches and recliners, play with and chew on cords, and take your things and hide them in small spaces. Ferrets love phone chargers, socks, electrical cords, hair ties, jewelry — they think everything is free for the taking, which is why they need constant supervision. After putting the time and energy into bonding with ferrets, it is best to make sure you can provide them with a forever home. It is also illegal to own ferrets in certain areas, California being a good example, so make sure that you look into your local laws for exotic pet ownership . This might save some of the initial training you’d have to do with a baby kit, and would provide a loving, ferret-proof home for a rescue pet in need.

Every year thousands of ferrets are surrendered to animal shelters and ferret rescue organizations. These unique animals are high maintenance pets so by knowing in advance their needs and quirks, potential owners may become more prepared to welcome one into their homes and hearts. A good place to start is to confer with a veterinarian who treats these unique pets to learn about their health, dietary needs , common health problems, spay/neutering, appropriate equipment to house a ferret, appropriate toys and exercise needs. The vet may direct potential owners to reliable websites to conduct research.

They are susceptible to heartworm and may need preventive medication if the ferret routinely spends time outdoors or lives in a warm climate. Healthy ferrets should look bright and alert, active, inquisitive, have a shiny lush hair coat and be plump both on sides of the body looking and feeling the same according to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s informative pamphlet “Selecting a Ferret.” It lists the following signs of a sick ferret: a “dull rough hair coat, an animal that is too thin, potbellied, or sluggish.” If the area below the tail is damp it may indicate the animal has diarrhea. Ferrets are strictly carnivores and require a diet rich in animal protein and fat according to the Lafeber Vet website. Ferrets benefit from living in a large multi-leveled cage with ramps located in a room away from direct sunlight, drafts or cold damp areas. The Lafeber Vet website warns owners not to use bedding materials that have loops, holes, or loose string to prevent the ferret’s nails from getting caught. If the ferret chews on cloth, remove these items and provide a small cardboard or wooden box filled with clean straw or hay as a sleeping area. Prevent your ferret from burrowing into the bottom of furniture or mattresses by covering these areas with thin plywood or Plexiglas. Ferrets usually select a potty area by backing up to a vertical surface to relieve themselves but most can be litter-pan trained especially when started at a young age. Note that ferrets do not cover their waste so spot clean daily and change the litter several times a week to reduce odor. Do provide tunnel-type toys like large cardboard mailing tubes, paper bags and PVC piping that stimulates burrowing behaviors. I thank veterinarian Dr. Thomas Ryan of Feathers, Tails &Scales Animal Hospital for directing me to reliable sources of information for this topic.

Ferrets make interesting pets. They are domesticated animals, cousins of the European fitch or polecat. Ferrets are not rodents, with the domestic species of ferret having being bred in captivity for centuries, originally for hunting vermin and then for the popular sport of hunting rabbits or ‘ferreting’. They are fun-loving and playful animals, and very adept at getting into mischief!

Inoculations and regular veterinary care

Ferrets need to be vaccinated against canine distemper virus and the rabies virus annually. They are susceptible to heartworm and may need preventive medication if the ferret routinely spends time outdoors or lives in a warm climate. They are also susceptible to the human flu virus and a ferret with the flu can transmit the flu virus to humans. The Lafeber Vet website recommends owners not to handle a ferret until they have recovered from their illness or to wash their hands first and not hold the ferret near their face or allow anyone with a cold to handle the pet.Healthy ferrets should look bright and alert, active, inquisitive, have a shiny lush hair coat and be plump both on sides of the body looking and feeling the same according to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s informative pamphlet “Selecting a Ferret.” It lists the following signs of a sick ferret: a “dull rough hair coat, an animal that is too thin, potbellied, or sluggish.” If the area below the tail is damp it may indicate the animal has diarrhea. Also check for parasites like fleas.

Appropriate diet

Ferrets are strictly carnivores and require a diet rich in animal protein and fat according to the Lafeber Vet website. Most commercial ferret foods or high quality dry cat foods (like science diet, or Iams) meet a ferret’s nutritional requirements. Generally ferrets eat many small meals during the day so owners are advised to have food available at all times. Owners may offer (in small amounts as treats) cooked meat, poultry, or fish. The website warns that “carbohydrates should never be an important part of the diet since ferrets cannot digest fiber.” Also dog food and vegetarian-type pet foods are not appropriate for ferrets due to their high levels of fiber and vegetable protein. Ferrets should never be offered bones or foods containing bones because they can injure a ferret’s digestive tract. Clean water should always be available and served from a sturdy ceramic crock or a water bottle attached to the ferret’s cage.

A safe environment

Ferrets are notorious for their “home demolition” skills! Their paws almost function like a human’s hands as they are capable of opening and emptying drawers, cabinets, and refrigerators! Their slender bodies allow them to squeeze into tight spaces making it difficult to locate and remove them. Ferrets benefit from living in a large multi-leveled cage with ramps located in a room away from direct sunlight, drafts or cold damp areas. The Lafeber Vet Website recommends that the minimum cage size for one or two ferrets is 24x24x18 inches. An aquarium is not appropriate because of inadequate space and poor air circulation.The cage should be constructed from materials that are easy to clean and strong enough to withstand digging. The cage floor may be solid or wire mesh with squares no larger than 0.25 inches to prevent foot injury. The doors must be securely latched and bar spacing should be no wider than one inch but 0.5 inch is preferable.Burrowing and hiding are favorite ferret activities. Owners can provide bedding materials like old shirts and towels for their ferret’s cozy naptimes. There are commercially available sleeping products like tubes, tents and hammocks. It is very amusing to witness a ferret lounging on its back in a hammock! The Lafeber Vet website warns owners not to use bedding materials that have loops, holes, or loose string to prevent the ferret’s nails from getting caught. If the ferret chews on cloth, remove these items and provide a small cardboard or wooden box filled with clean straw or hay as a sleeping area.Ferrets should be allowed to have 2 to 4 hours of closely supervised time out of their cage in a “ferret proofed” exercise area. Though they are nocturnal creatures they can adapt to their human’s schedule. To “ferret proof” your home, the Lafeber Vet website recommends the following method to protect ferrets from household dangers so get down on your hands and knees and think like an active and curious ferret!Ferrets can squeeze into narrow places so seal any opening with wire mesh or wood. This includes holes as small as 2×2 inches. (Be sure to leave ventilation around appliances intact).Remove recliners and sofa beds from ferret-proofed areas. The levers and springs underneath can crush curious ferrets.Remove all items that have rubber or foam parts like sponges, rubber bands, toys, erasers, balls, headphones, and rubber-soled shoes off the floor and out of a ferret’s reach. When ingested these items can cause potentially deadly intestinal blockages. Also prevent access to stereo speakers, and pipe insulation.Prevent your ferret from burrowing into the bottom of furniture or mattresses by covering these areas with thin plywood or Plexiglas. Burrowing damages furniture and the ferret can develop an intestinal blockage from eating the foam rubber.Remove potentially toxic or irritating substances such as, household cleaners, insecticides, or rodenticides.Always double-check the dishwasher, refrigerator, clothes washer and dryer before shutting the door and turning them on.

Litter pans

Ferrets usually select a potty area by backing up to a vertical surface to relieve themselves but most can be litter-pan trained especially when started at a young age. The Lafeber Vet website recommends the following:Place a low-sided pan in the cage corner that the ferret has already chosen as its latrine.Place a second pan in the corner of the ferret-proofed exercise room.Provide a thin layer of pelleted litter such as recycled newspaper products or natural fiber litters. that are cleaner and non-toxic if swallowed. Note that ferrets do not cover their waste so spot clean daily and change the litter several times a week to reduce odor. Several litter boxes may be needed if the ferret is allowed to exercise in larger areas of the home.

Toys

Ferrets love toys but don’t give them latex rubber or foam toys that could be ingested. Do provide tunnel-type toys like large cardboard mailing tubes, paper bags and PVC piping that stimulates burrowing behaviors. If the ferret does not chew cloth toys, offer them but do remove the toy’s buttons and eyes.

Grooming

Ferrets may need toenail trimming if their nails become long and sharp, and can get caught in carpeting or cloth. Trimming can be performed by a groomer or veterinary technician who can teach the owner how to perform this task. Ferrets need bathing no more than 2 to 4 times a year. More frequent bathing actually increases the ferret’s naturally pungent odor and dries out its skin and coat.

Handling and managing behavior

Ferrets are usually easy to handle but they can bite when overly stimulated or frightened.Don’t hold a ferret near your face if you are not familiar with its behavior because a bite could result.Ferrets have poor eyesight. Don’t place it where it might fall from a high surface.Ferrets play roughly with each other. As young “kits” they nip each other and it isn’t painful for them thanks to their thick skin and fur coat. Kits eventually outgrow this nipping stage but some adults may nip to get attention, a treat, or to show dominance. A young ferret should not be allowed to nip because this could encourage it to bite progressively harder. The Lafeber Vet website recommends the following method to correct this behavior:Grasp the ferret by the loose scruff of fur over the neck.Calmly “detatch” the ferret, say “no” firmly and clearly while looking into the ferret’s eyes.Then divert the ferret’s attention elsewhere.This procedure may need to be repeated several times before the ferret understands what is expected of him.Another suggestion is to spray Bitter Apple on your hands before handling the ferret or on your socks and shoes to deter an “ankle biter.” Owners must never hit or flick at a ferret for nipping because this action may cause the ferret to bite out of fear.

Ferrets and the law

It is important to note that ferrets are banned as pets in Queensland and the Northern Territory in Australia; in the ACT you need a licence to keep ferrets. Ferrets are classified as an unwanted organism in New Zealand and are therefore banned as pets. Further information is available from the animal control/environmental staff at your local government office or primary industries department.

Ferrets as pets

Ferrets are very sociable animals and can make wonderful pets, especially if handled and socialised well from an early age. They are inquisitive and playful animals with characteristics similar to those of dogs as well as cats, and can be easily trained to use a litter box. Ferrets are not usually aggressive if handled correctly, though young children should be supervised at all times to avoid nipping.Ferrets are higher maintenance pets than either cats or dogs, and require an owner who is willing to give a lot of time and attention. They need several hours of supervised exercise and play outside of their cage each day and can be quite mischievous and destructive. Ferrets get along with cats and most dogs if socialised with them early but should always be supervised. Avoid contact with pet birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and rats.

Feeding pet ferrets

Ferrets can be purchased from pet shops or through breeders or ferret clubs. The most popular colour scheme is the polecat ferret with its buff coloured coat and black markings on the face, feet and tail. Other colour schemes are albino (white with pink eyes) and buff coats with lighter markings. Ideally choose a young ferret and check for the following:

Desexing ferrets

Desexing a jill is recommended before the onset of first oestrus unless you want to breed from her, as female ferrets remain in heat unless mated, and prolonged high levels of oestrogen can result in bone marrow suppression and subsequent death.Desexing of male ferrets (hobs) is also recommended to control aggressive territorial behaviour and reduce their musky odour. Descenting of ferrets by removing the anal sacs can also be performed at the time of desexing pets, but it only has a partial affect and is an optional procedure.

Housing and training ferrets

Ferrets are masters of escape and can squeeze through the smallest of spaces. They should be kept in a secure cage when not supervised and wear a collar with a bell. Ferret harnesses and leads are also available for exercising your pet ferret outdoors. If you are considering a ferret as a pet you need to ‘ferret-proof’ your house to prevent the possibility of escape and injury. Block all holes in the house, block spaces under and behind the fridge and washing machine, and prevent access to cupboards. Pot plants should also be protected and placed out of reach.Where you house your pet ferret is also important, as they are very susceptible to heat stress or stroke – ferrets should be protected from temperatures above 26°C.Training your ferret to come to the sound of a squeaky toy by rewarding with a treat is a good idea for those times when you can’t find your pet. If your ferret does escape outside, it will not survive in the wild for long. Ferrets are also highly inquisitive and will chew on almost anything. Rubber toys are not safe for ferrets as they can chew off and swallow small pieces, which can cause an intestinal obstruction. Hard plastic toys, dog chews, golf balls, ping-pong balls and cardboard toys are generally suitable.

Frances Dickson
What a beautiful day in history. A few thousand years ago, a chicken dressed as a rabbit layed the first ever Cadbury Egg. I think if I'm going to do a science fiction. General student. Friendly alcohol fan. Social media maven. Bacon fanatic. Passionate zombieaholic. Certified twitter practitioner. Interests: Birdwatching, Mosaic Art, Painting and Drawing
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