Your Ferret Care Checklist
By Courtney Stoker
Most important things to do:
- Desex your female ferret or talk to your vet about alternatives. Female ferrets who do not mate when they go into heat can die from aplastic anemia.
- Protect your ferrets against the heat. Ferrets are very susceptible to warm temperatures and heat stroke.
- Ferret-proof your home. Ferrets are prone to injuries and accidents, due to their small size and curious nature.
- Create an emergency vet fund. Make sure you can care for your ferret when something goes wrong and they need veterinary attention.
Before you buy a ferret:
- Make sure ferrets are legal to keep where you live.
- Research ferrets as much as possible (and never stop!). Figure out if a ferret is right for you and never stop learning about how to make your ferret happier and healthier.
- Buy their cage, bedding, food and water bowls, toys, and other accessories to ensure you can settle them in right away.
- Make sure you are OK with how ferrets smell, as this is the reason why many ferrets end up in shelters.
- Familiarize yourself with ferret behavior so you can recognize the signs of sickness, stress, pain, fear, happiness, and playfulness.
- Make sure there is a vet that specializes in ferrets in your area. Most vets do not know how to treat ferrets.
When you have your ferret:
- Learn how to handle your ferret appropriately and teach the rest of your family and friend.
- Research your ferret’s physiology and digestive system and make sure you feed appropriate food for an obligate carnivore.
- Continue to ferret-proof your home and anywhere the ferret is going to be playing to prevent injury or death.
- Regularly change up the toys and games that stimulate your ferret during playtime.
- Figure out your ferret’s exercise routine: how many hours a day (we recommend at least 4), the routine, and physically challenging games your ferrets can play to maintain a high level of fitness.
- Train your ferret to use the litter box.
- Train your ferret not to nip.
- Clean the ferret’s litter box.
- Feed your ferret.
- Change your ferret’s water and ensure their water bowl is full.
- Supervise playtime to make sure they are not getting into any mischief or accidents.
- Make sure the ferrets are sleeping in a dark, quiet space. Reduce their exposure to loud sounds and too much artificial light so they can sleep well.
- Spend time bonding with your ferret and doting on them with lots of love.
- Assess your ferret’s health and happiness. If you think something is off, take it to the vet.
- Wash your ferret’s bedding every week.
- Clip your ferret’s nails every two weeks.
- Clean your ferret’s ears every two to three months (or when needed).
- Apply flea and heartworm prevention medicine prescribed to you by your vet.
- Take your ferret to the vet for a checkup.
- Get your ferret vaccinated regularly (as per the recommendations of the vet).
- Never breed your ferret unless you are an experienced breeder that specializes in ferret genetics.
- Never feed your ferrets sugary treats, vegetables, or fruit.
- Never hoard ferrets. Some ferrets are solely solitary animals, while others enjoy some company. Ferrets in too big a group can suffer from stress.
This article originally appeared in Dook Dook Ferret Magazine (Issue 13). To receive 6 new Dook Dook Ferret Magazines per year + get access to other bonuses then join the Ferret-World Membership.