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Tips On Care & Safety For Ferrets

Updated on August 4, 2013
Little miss rascal out and about.
Little miss rascal out and about. | Source
Little Rascal, she is considered a small ferret.
Little Rascal, she is considered a small ferret. | Source

Ferret Care and Safety

Ferrets make great pets. I have owned ferrets for the past twelve years. They are great fun and excellent pets for apartment living. Ferrets usually cost $99.00 To $175.00. Read on to learn about some basic care and safety for these little fuzz balls of energy.

If your thinking of owning a ferret there are some important safety tips you will want to keep in mind. Ferrets are curious. The saying should be curiosity killed the ferret not the cat. They get into everything, everywhere and can fit through small openings. So rule of thumb if a ferrets head can fit into an opening their bodies will surely follow.

1. Before bringing your new fuzzy friend home you need to ferret proof your home. The best way to do this is to get down on ferret level. Check any place along the mop boards and flooring for any openings. If you think a ferret can fit they probably can. Be sure to block up these openings. Also a place folks forget about is the over hang to cabinets. Sometimes when cabinets are installed openings are left. This makes for the perfect place for a curious ferret to get itself into trouble.

Stoves and Fridges are also a place to check on. Is the opening under the stove big enough for a ferret to get under. Same with refrigerator if the ferret can find a way to get into the working of the fridge it will. I know that happened with one of our ferrets. All ended will a half hour later after we had to remove the back panel. Husband most unhappy because of course he had to deal with that one. This was after a very long day of work. If you think these are danger spots keep the ferret out of the kitchen.

Dishwashers there are horror stories of ferrets getting into the dishwasher. Yes the ferrets have gotten into the dishwasher and gone through the cycle. Gross but has happened. Ferrets are small animals and can't be heard moving around.

Ferrets also love the laundry basket, great place for them to burrow under and take a nap. Many times owners have grabbed an arm load of laundry ferret and all. Sadly that was not a good laundry or ferret day. Remember they are small and very flexible, so this would be more then easy to do.

Open doors to the outside world, very tempting for a ferret. They will go exploring, of course never to be seen again.

A collar with a little bell will save you and your family from heartache. They sell them on ferret websites and the pet stores where you might buy your new fuzzy. You can take your ferret outside. Be sure to have a harness for them not the collar. The collar is to easy for them to slip out of. They sell ferret harnesses in small, medium and large sizes. Also I recommend a tag on the collar with your phone number. You can make those at most pet stores. Just ask a clerk if they have the machine in the store for this purpose.

2. Cages for your ferret. They come in all different sizes and shapes. We have two. One for home and one for travel. They range in price $50 to hundreds. You can purchase them new or used. You can find them online or in the pet stores. You can also make them. If you choose to make your own. Be sure to use materials the ferret can't get cut on. Some folks use a simple wood frame with chicken wire. Be sure you secure the cage so they can't get out. We have a Marshall Ferret Farm cage and had to put latches on it to keep her from getting out. Just went to the hardware store and got the hooks like you see on dog leases.

It is best to purchase the cage before bringing your ferret or ferrets home. It is much easier to have everything set up and ready to go before bringing the ferrets into your home.

Feeding and water dishes you will want the ones that connect to the cage. Other wise you will spend all your time cleaning up a mess. Ferrets enjoy knocking over their bowls. The water is a favorite because they enjoy watching the water move.

Also needed is a litter pan. The best for ferrets is ones with three high sides and one low side for easy access. Ferrets like to use the corners for their business so the high sides are best to avoid accidents. There is ferret litter on the market but it is a lot of money. Kitty litter is fine for them. Saves you on average $3 per bag.

The stores and websites sell all sorts of bedding for them. Ferrets love to be cozy and to sleep up high in their cages. We bought two ferret hammocks to alternate when one is being washed. For the bedding we just use old t-shirts, old sheets and old blankets. If you use shirts with buttons be sure to cut off the buttons. The ferrets will chew and swallow them.

3. Food. Again they do sell ferret food but it is pricey. You can check this out online or in the stores. It is ok to feed them high grade cat food. I get our ferret's food in the grocery store and use Newman"s Own cat food and there is also a kitten food in this brand. Rascal does great on it and the food is a bit less. We do get her ferret treats which again you can find those in the stores or online.

4. There are grooming products for ferrets like all pets. Shampoos, brushes, ear cleaning, nail trimming and order control products. Keep in mind ferrets are part of the rodent family and one of their cousins is the skunk. So you guessed it they have an order similar to skunks. However it is mild and easily controlled. They have a number of bio-odor controls on the market. The type I use is a bottled bio-odor with a pump and you just put it into the water. The only time most ferrets throw off a strong odor is when stressed.

Important to note is that you don't want to bath your ferret often. It will increase their odor because your striping the oils out of their skin. Also it dries out their skin. Once a month is ok but I don't recommend more then that.

Keeping their nails trimmed is a good idea. They get long quickly and are sharp. To help trimming their nails my vet gave a great tip. Hold them up by the back of the neck like a mother cat holds her kittens. When you do this it puts the ferrets in almost a trance like state. Makes it very easy to trim their nails. I just bought baby nail clippers for this. Cheaper then the ones in the pet store. Be careful not to trim nails to low you don't want to hit the nail vein and cause bleeding. You can see where the vein starts.

5. A nice point to know is when you purchase your ferrets you wont have to worry about having them fixed or descented. The farms they come from take care of that. To be sure check their ears for tattoos. The farms tattoo them to keep track of which animals have been descented and fixed. For the descenting, it is the back glands that are removed. Like skunks ferrets spray to defend themselves. They also have scent glands in their necks and those can't be removed.

6. Ferrets and the veterinarian. Ferrets do need shots to keep them healthy. Check with the store where you purchase them from. The farms they get them from should have given them their first round of shots. Also a good idea to have a carrier to get them to the vets safely and easily.

7. Ferrets are very social. Your ferrets will need out of the cage time to explore and play. They have lots of ferret toys on the market you can check out. They love tunnels and anything they can climb into. Be sure to interact with them they love attention from their owners. Most people buy two ferrets so they have company. On a rare occasion ferrets don't like other ferrets and one is of course best then. Our ferret Rascal dislikes other ferrets and only enjoys human company. Keep in mind that is very rare.

8. Of course you can find out lots more information on ferrets through pet books or the internet.

Enjoy your new fuzzy friend. Ferrets really are lots of fun.

Thanks for reading,

Alison Ruth

An update to this hub. I should have mentioned the danger of electrical wires. Some ferrets don't chew on wires of course some do. You can get electrical wire covers to help in keeping your ferrets away from wires.

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Rascal's cage
Rascal's cage | Source


Caring for ferrets


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    • AlisonRuth profile image

      Alison 4 years ago from USA

      Mel Carriere Thanks for the response very funny. Wow wonder if she is still whispering about her ferret. Probably think it is still illegal to keep them in California.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 4 years ago from San Diego California

      There was a lady on my route who had a pet ferret, and it was always getting out. She was very paranoid about it because in California it is not legal to keep a ferret, or at least it wasn't back then. She would make me speak in whispers when discussing the ferret. I don't know whatever happened to it. Interesting hub!