Ferret Tips & Tricks

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Tips and Tricks

Illnesses

If your ferret looks or acts ill, take them to a ferret knowledgeable vet as soon as possible.  Ferrets like cats are great at hiding illnesses until it is usually advanced.

Hairballs

Ferret lax should be given on a weekly basis ( 1 inch) to reduce/prevent hairballs.  During shedding season give 2-3 times a week.  Regular Vaseline can also be used if your ferret likes it (many do).  Unlike cats, ferrets lack the reflex to throw up a hairball, which will remain in their intestines causing problems.

Hiding Place

Always know where your ferrets favorite hiding/stash places are, chances are your missing items will be found there.

Food and Water

Keep food and water available 24/7.  Always feed a high quality meat based ferret food, high in protein.

Fleas

Ferrets are very itchy little creatures by nature, but if scratching is excessive check for fleas.  Recommended flea control products for ferret are Frontline drops or spray, Advantage and Revolution, one drop per pound between the shoulders monthly.  You should not use a flea shampoo as these are often to harsh for a ferret and will not effectively rid the fleas.

Life Span

A ferrets normal life span is 7-9 years.

Litter Boxes

When ferrets are out of their cage, make sure you have a few litter boxes around the house for use.  A ferrets digestive tract is very short (3 hours) and they often cannot make it back to their cage to go.

Vet Fund

Have a vet fund started early on.  As they get older they are prone to two illnesses, Insulinoma and Adrenal Disease which might require surgery.  Also if your ferret should get a blockage surgical intervention might be needed.  Rule of thumb is expect at least one major surgery during the life of you ferret.

War Dance

Ferrets bouncing off the wall with their head shaking side to side mouth opened with/without noises is no need to panic.  This is a very happy excited ferret!  The bouncing is known as “War Dancing” and the sounds are known as “Dooking”.

Windows and Doors

Watch your ferrets around open windows and doors, so they don’t escape.  Keep a current photo of your ferret in case he/she should escape.

Ferret Math

Be careful of what ferret owners call ferret math.  1+1=3

Vaccinations

A kit will need a series of Canine Distemper shots.  We do ours at 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age.  They should be vaccinated for Rabies after they are 3 months old.  It is recommended to not administer both shots at the same time.  Both vaccinations should be given annually.

Toys

Rotate ferret toys to keep them stimulated and excited to play.  Allow ferrets out of the cage for a minimum of 3-4 hours a day.

Baths

Don’t bath your ferret often.  Frequent bathing will actually strip the necessarly oils from the ferret, causing their body to work overtime to replenish which can lead to a ferret that smells.  Key to keeping odor under control is keeping the bedding, cage and litter box clean.

Ears

Clean ears weekly.  If you suspect ear mites, have your vet check.  They will provide the proper meds to get rid of them.  You should not use over the counter products.

Carnivores

As ferrets are obligate carnivores (straight meat eaters), their body does not contain a cecum which is responsible for digesting fruits and vegetables.  Foods/treats of this nature should be avoided as they receive no nutrition from it, and can cause blockages.

Nails

Trim nails on a bi-weekly (or as needed) basis so they don’t get caught on loose threads or hurt to walk on.  Nails should be clipped above the quick, the red vein line.  Always have septic powder on hand in case you accidentally cut the quick to stop bleeding.  Placing the cut nail in a bar of soap will also work.

Bedding

Clean ferret bedding at least weekly for odor control.

Children

As with other pets, never leave your ferret unattended around children.  A child can innocently pull their tail, handle them roughly, etc. and the ferret might nip back in defense.

Cuddled

Don’t be offended if your ferret doesn’t want to be held or cuddled.  They are very high energy pets and prefer to be on the floor playing, exploring etc., when they are not sleeping (up to 18 hours a day).

Teeth and Gums

Check teeth and gums frequently.  Brush teeth routinely using a baby toothbrush and pet formula paste (never use human toothpaste, the foaming action can be dangerous).  If they are bad, have your vet do a complete dental.  Bad teeth and gums can lead into kidney disease.

Shaking

When ferrets first wake up from sleeping, it is normal for their body to shake.  Their body temperature drops when sleeping; shaking is a result of their body regulating/increasing the temperature to normal range.