Ten Tips to Help Keep Your Ferret
Happy and Healthy!
1. Feed your ferret a premium ferret or premium kitten food (only if ferret food is not available). Make sure the food you choose contains at least 34% protein and less than 2% fiber. Make sure that meat is the first ingredient on the list of ingredients on the back of the bag. Avoid any ferret foods that contain dried fruits and vegetables. Remember, ferrets are strict carnivores! Suggestions: Totally Ferret, Zupreem, Iams Kitten, Eukanuba Kitten.
2. Give your ferret meat based treats or fatty acid supplements as treats. Give your ferret cooked chicken, chicken or turkey baby food, chicken livers, cooked egg, and chicken or turkey flavored cat or ferret treats. Avoid giving your ferret fruits and raw vegetables as treats. A raison a day won't hurt your ferret, however raisons provide no nutrients for your ferret (and they contain sugar). Raw vegetables can cause intestinal blockages in ferrets. Remember, ferrets do not have a cecum and cannot digest vegetable matter.
3. Give your ferret a one-half inch ribbon of hairball remedy a few times a week during non-shedding seasons, and a one inch ribbon daily during shedding season. Be sure to give your ferrets the hairball treatment at least one hour after they eat. Don't give your ferret hairball remedy right before he or she eats a meal. Remember, hairballs can and do cause stomach and intestinal blockages in ferrets. They can't cough up hairballs in the same way cats do.
4. Give your ferret at least three hours of supervised out of the cage play time each day. Invent creative games to play with your ferret and provide him or her with lots of interactive toys. Remember, ferrets are very intelligent animals. They can get depressed and stressed if caged for too long. This can lead to illnesses such as ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems (plus it is just isn't nice). Hold your ferret often and give him or her lots of affection. Ferret are social animals (like dogs) and need interaction with others for good mental and physical health.
5. Purchase the largest cage possible for your ferret. One ferret requires a cage that is at least three feet wide, two feet deep and three feet high. If you have more than one ferret, you need a much bigger cage. Choose a ferret cage that has multiple levels. Fill the inside of the cage with tubes, tunnels, hammocks, sleep sacks, dangle toys, a litter box, food bowls, a water bottle and lots of soft fabric bedding. Don't ever use a fish aquarium as a ferret home.
6. Use recycled paper litter in your ferrets litter boxes. Do not use cedar or pine chips as litter for the litter boxes or as bedding in the cage. These products may cause respiratory problems in ferrets.
7. Ferret proof your home!!! Keep your ferret away from shoes, soft rubber items, foam rubber, Styrofoam, pencil erasers, rubber bands, nuts, candy, chocolate, soda, chips, gum, cleaning supplies, soap etc.. Be aware that ferrets like these items and will do anything they can to get them. All of these items are potentially lethal to your ferret. Block off any openings around the dishwasher, stove and under cabinets. Keep your ferret away from the laundry room. Also be aware that ferrets can climb into reclining chairs, sofas and beds to fall asleep. Ferrets are often injured by getting crushed in furniture. Always know where your ferret is at all times. Never let your ferret run around the house unsupervised. Ferrets can open cabinets and climb into bath tubs, washers and dryers and drawers. Try to have a ferret safe room for your ferret to play in.
8. Groom your ferret. Make sure your ferret's nails stay trimmed. Clean your ferret's ears whenever you see wax building up. Keep your ferret free of fleas. Don't bath your ferret more than once a month (unless he or she gets into something). Brush your ferret's fur regularly, especially during shedding seasons (spring and fall). Brush your ferret's teeth with cat toothpaste at least once a month.
9. Have money set aside for medical emergencies. Be sure to have enough money set aside for emergency surgeries and vet visits. Try setting aside a certain amount of money every month for your ferret's medical care. Just one surgery can run as much as $800.00 or more. Your ferret depends on you to care for it in the event of a medical emergency. Have at least $1000.00 available at all times for medical care. Ferrets do tend to get illnesses that require surgery.
10. Keep your ferret up to date on his or her vaccinations and heart worm medication. Ferret do need to be vaccinated against rabies and canine distemper on a yearly basis. Both diseases are lethal to your ferret. If you live in an area with mosquitos, your ferret needs to be on a monthly heart worm prevention medication. Take your ferret in for a check up and vaccinations every year (more often if your ferret is ill).
Written by Mahri