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Learn How to Take Care of a Ferret Before You Get One!

Updated on August 1, 2013

Ferrets as Pets

Are you wondering just how to take care of a ferret? If you've already got yourself a furry friend, you'll find some helpful tips here. If you are just thinking about buying a ferret, there are some things that you should think about before you jump into the land of the fuzzies! These cute little guys are wonderful pets, but they are definitely their own animal. Don't go treating them like dogs or cats! You would also be wise to make sure that you have stocked up on some essential ferret supplies if you are thinking of getting one as a pet. Don't wait until after you've already brought him or her home.

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Super Pet Ferret Cage
Super Pet Ferret Cage

Are Ferrets Good Pets?

Some things to consider before you start searching out ferrets for sale

Is Buying a Ferret Illegal?

Even though you will often find them listed as "exotic pets", ferrets have been around as domesticated animals for thousands of years. Today they are somewhat of a trendy pet even though there are bans against owning them or permit restrictions in some areas of the United States and in some other countries. Whether or not these bans are reasonable or not is a subject of debate, but before taking on ownership of a ferret, you should check your local laws for requirements and restrictions.

Is a Ferret the Right Pet for YOU?

Are ferrets good pets for you and your family? It depends a lot on what you are looking for in a pet. Assuming that you are allowed to own ferrets where you live, you should consider carefully whether owning a ferret is something you are ready for. These little guys can be fun to own, but they present challenges unique to their species and they should not be expected to act like the cats or dogs you may be become accustomed to owning. This is certainly not to put people off of owning ferrets as pets, but there are already too many abandoned ferrets in ferret shelters and ferret rescue facilities as a result of people thinking that ferret adoption would be "fun" without taking into account the work that would be involved.

Why Read a Lens About Ferrets?

It's my goal to find and present everything ferret related that I can think of to help you to learn about ferrets as pets. I recommend that before you buy a ferret, you do some research. Reading lenses like this one and others related to owning a ferret is a good start. It would also be wise to get yourself a quality ferret book that serves as a guide to ferret ownership so that you can grab it at any time and look up particular issues quickly, should any arise.

Some topics you should consider as you learn about ferret care are:

  • What ferret supplies will you need to purchase?
  • The cost and size of ferret cages and the best location for one in your home. (You can find cheap ferret cages if you will consider a used model, but don't buy poor quality cages).
  • Ferret food - what will you feed your new pet? Ferrets need a healthy diet to meet their nutritional needs. Properly balanced ferret food is available online. Depending on where you live, you might have a difficult time finding it locally.
  • Ferret odor - although often exaggerated, this can be an issue for some people who are particularly sensitive to odors and who own ferrets that have not been fixed or de-scented. Most people prefer to have their pet de-scented. Find out if the pet has had these procedures done before buying it.
  • How much ferret training are you willing to do? How much time you put in will determine what kind of results you get. It's common sense.
  • Is there somewhere near you that you can buy a ferret? Buy from someone reputable. If there has been too much inbreeding, genetic problems become more likely to appear.
  • Where will you get your ferret supplies and how much will they cost? Ferrets supplies are not nearly as easy to find as those for dogs and cats. My favorite place for price and selection is Amazon. Everything you need will be delivered right to your door. Checking now, there were almost 2,500 items listed. Good luck finding that many ferret accessories at your local pet shop!

Ferret Hammock
Ferret Hammock

More About Ferrets

This is only a partial list, but it should get you thinking as you prepare for owning a pet ferret. Owning a ferret can be a great experience. They are a pleasure to own most of the time, but you should go into the experience knowing what to expect and with your eyes wide open to all of the challenges that pet ownership sometimes brings with it.

Ferret Tips and Ferret Facts

Here are some helpful tips and ideas to help you become the best ferret owner that you can be:

  • Ferrets are not low maintenance pets.  It's recommended that they get several hours of playtime and exercise every day.  A good portion of that time should involve you playing with your pet.  If you want a well adjusted ferret, you'll have to put some time into it.
  • Remember that there will be veterinarian care needed for your new pet.  Check to see if there is a local vet around who will treat ferrets.  If there isn't, find out where the closest one is located and decide whether you are willing to drive your pet that far when it is needed (for shots and/or regular care)
  • Buy your ferret from a reputable breeder who can speak intelligently about the ferret you will be buying.
  • The fact that ferrets have little natural fear can sometimes lead them into precarious situations.  Be diligent in your ferret proofing of the house.
  • Talk to your vet about medications your ferret might need.  This would include heart worm preventatives.
  • Get your ferret some toys to keep it entertained.  They do sleep quite a bit, but they are very active when awake.  Without some type of activity to keep it amused, a ferret may find a source of entertainment that you do not approve of.  Make sure that these toys can handle the chewing your fuzzy little friend will be giving it.  Small, chewed off pieces of plastic can be a choking hazard for your pet.
  • When you take your ferret out in the car, use a carrier and strap the carrier down securely.  Don't let your ferret run loose while your driving.
  • Learn to pay attention to the sounds your ferret makes.  Know what a contented sound is, as well as a sound that signals distress.
  • Never leave your ferret unsupervised if it is out of its cage.  They almost certainly will end up in trouble.  Their curious nature leads them into all kinds of hazards.
  • A common ferret problem is intestinal blockages caused by eating things that were not meant to be eaten.  Get down on the floor, at ferret eye level, and look around for potentially dangerous items or things that your pet might decide to eat.
  • Please, do NOT cheap out on the cage for your ferret.  Ferret cages are meant to provide a safe place for your pet to spend a large portion of its life.  Give it room to move and get something that will close securely so that you don't ever have to go on ferret hunts in your own home.  Don't even think about trying to use a cardboard box.  Your ferret will make short work of getting out.
  • There are already tons of homeless ferrets.  Consider getting your pet spayed or neutered.
  • Because ferrets do have a tendency to explore, you might want to get a microchip implanted in it, just like they do for dogs.
  • When choosing ferret bedding, remember that these guys do like to snuggle in and burrow.  They also can spend a lot of time sleeping.  Don't worry.  They are just storing up energy for their play time!  Some ferrets like hammocks, while others do not.  Some of them like tents...other don't.  You'll have to see what your pet's preferences are and go with that.
  • Some people like to buy ferret clothes and dress their pets up.  Ferret hoodies seem to be pretty popular nowadays.  If you are going to do this because of the cuteness factor, only keep them dressed up while you're showing them off.  Some clothes could end up being a hazard to your pet.
  • There are many ferret accessories available for purchase now that ferrets have caught on as semi-popular domestic pets.  What you buy is up to you, but you probably don't need to buy every single thing when you are just starting out.  I can't stress enough that looking into quality ferret cages should be a top priority so that you never have to deal with an escape or a lost ferret.
  • Please remember that ferrets have a life span that could range anywhere from 5 to 11 years.  Don't get one unless you are willing to care for it for that long.

Ferrets can be great pets for the right person. They have playful personalities in general, and they're fun to be around and to watch. Thank you for visiting this lens. Please stop back whenever you need ferret information.  I've tried to include links to most of the things you might need, because they can often be tough to find locally. You might not need everything you see there, but take a look to make sure you are all set before you bring your new friend home.

A Video About Ferret Care

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    • themanlycat profile image


      6 years ago

      Haa! So awesome! I love ferrets!!!


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