11 must-know facts about owning a ferret

November 18, 2014

If you are reading this, then you are probably considering adopting a ferret as a pet. Unlike other animals, ferrets require a special kind of care and attention. These animals are intelligent, curious and love human companionship, but can be a lot more work than you expect.Below are a few things to know about ferrets before bringing one into your home and family.

  1. Be sure to put money aside for the inevitable vet bills. You will need to take a ferret to a veterinarian who specializes in this species, which can be difficult to find and costly.
  2. Ferrets are prone to deafness, which can make training very difficult.
  3. If you buy a baby ferret, called a “kit,” you need to train and socialize it.
  4. All kits nip as part of their play and have to be trained not to bite humans. It’s not a great idea to have a ferret around birds or lizards, though they can be trained to tolerate dogs and cats. Just remember that dog like terriers were bred to hunt animals like ferrets, so that may not be a winning combination.
  5. A ferret can be trained to use a litter box or puppy pads outside their enclosures, but their accuracy isn’t great. Be prepared for plenty of cleaning up.
  6. Familiarize yourself with the things around your house that can hurt or kill your ferret. Ferrets love to nest in furniture. The mechanisms in reclining chairs can kill them if you sit down and don’t realize they are there. They will chew the bottom of your couch to get inside and the materials can harm them. Pine-based cleaning products are deadly and pine chips can cause respiratory problems. As well, anything made of cedar will kill a ferret.
  7. Your ferret will need a large cage, and two to four hours of interactive play time a day. If you don’t play with them, they will get depressed and stressed out.
  8. Ferrets are not great around toddlers. Their bones are fragile and won’t withstand a squeeze.
  9. Be sure to ferret-proof your house. Keep medicines, soaps and cleaners out of their way. Keep the toilet closed to avoid drowning. Check houseplants to see if they are deadly to ferrets. Remove plastic bags and drapery cords.
  10. Ferrets are playful and love toys. Cat toys work great, but they can go through them quickly. Ensure the toys are durable without small parts that can be swallowed.
  11. Avoid feeding human snacks to ferrets. Much of our food is toxic to them, but they will still try to get at it. They need a diet that is high in fat and protein, with plenty of water. Most kitten foods are suitable because frankly, ferret food can be hard to find.
11 must-know facts about owning a ferret
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