The Basics of Owning a Ferret

Are you considering purchasing a ferret as an alternative to the more-standard cat or dog? Ferrets can make great pets. Learn more about their basic care needs from a Treasure Coast veterinarian.

Diet

Your ferret should be kept on a high-quality ferret kibble diet for maximum health and nutrition. Ferrets are carnivores, so they need a diet based on animal protein. Most ferrets can have food left out for them at all times—unlike some pets, ferrets don’t eat a significant amount of food at one time, even if it is available. Since ferrets tend to play in water dishes, it’s best to supply a water bottle.

Cage

Ferrets can either be kept in a cage or be left to roam around the house. They can be litter box trained—ask your veterinarian for more information on this. If you want to keep your pet in a cage, make sure it’s spacious enough for your ferret to live comfortably, and keep the eating, sleeping, and litter area separate. Your vet can recommend a good cage size and layout for your pet.

Personality

Ferrets are very friendly and social animals. If they’ve been well socialized with humans, they don’t bite and don’t mind being held. They’re very intelligent animals, and in fact have a tendency to hoard small objects—keep all jewelry and other valuables safely stashed away. They can even open cabinet doors if given enough time to practice, so make sure any hazardous materials are locked up.

Ferrets sleep around 18 hours a day, and very deeply. They tend to acclimate their sleeping pattern to their owners’, so your ferret may actually sleep through the night and be more awake in the day, just like you!

Odor

Ferrets do have a musky odor, but it shouldn’t be overpowering or unbearable. Their skin secrets an oil that has a scent, and ferrets may produce more oil if they feel threatened or stressed. Consult your veterinarian for more information on this, and ask about other facets of ferret ownership to see if one is the right pet for you!

 

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