Bringing home a cute ferret is no doubt an enjoyable moment for every pet lover, but before you add this new member to your family, you need to make sure that you have the time and patience to pay attention to its requirements. It is your sole responsibility to give it a comfortable life with all the care and attention it needs. Additionally, you will have to get it checked by a trusted veterinarian on a regular basis.
How to Care for Ferrets?
By appearance, a ferret has a long and slender body, measuring about 20 inches from head to the tail. Generally, male ferrets are larger than females. The mammal sports a white, brown, black, or mixed fur coat. It is neither a rodent, nor related to rabbits. A ferret is very curious by nature and therefore, keeping it as a pet can be challenging in itself. If you are ready to face the challenge, then you can go ahead with your research.
Choosing a Ferret
Obtain a bright-eyed and lively ferret from your local pet store after confirming that it is spayed/neutered. Majority of the ferrets sold today are spayed/neutered, so as to make sure that they have less health problems in the future. Otherwise, breeding becomes a necessity for this mammal. Failure to do so may cause increased aggressiveness and hostility in males, while females may experience aplastic anemia.
A lot of space is required for your ferret to stay active and lively. Nevertheless, it is wise to keep your pet in a 2 feet x 2 feet x 14 inch wire cage in shade. You can remove it out during playtime and/or when you have time for direct supervision. You can place a soft towel in one corner, which will serve as the resting area. Also, do not forget to keep a litter pan in the other corner.
A true carnivore, ferret requires high-protein food for healthy growth. As per nutrition requirement, the diet should contain 18 - 20 percent fat and 36 percent protein. Purchase high quality cat foods or food brands that are specially formulated for ferrets. You can serve fruits and veggies occasionally as treats. Water should be made available at all times. It is best to give it water in a bottle, instead of providing it in a bowl.
Cleanliness and hygiene go hand-in-hand for rearing any animal; a ferret is no exception. It is of utmost importance to bathe your pet ferret twice or thrice in a month. It will help in keeping skin diseases and flea infestation at bay. You can use a ferret shampoo for bathing purpose. At the same time, you will have to clean its teeth with baking soda and cloth, trim its nails (every alternate week), clean its ears, and brush its fur on a regular basis.
Pet ferrets are full of energy and remain playful for most of the time, especially in early morning and at dusk. Ideally, you should purchase hard plastic toys for your pet to play with. It tends to nip and bite during playing, to avoid which, you will have to give it proper training and teach it some commands. If you have already decided a name for it, you can call it by its name and utter a loud 'NO' to change unwanted behavior.
Routine cleaning of the cage and removal of litter are two important tasks that you cannot afford to ignore. While the cage should be cleaned on a weekly or fortnightly basis, litter box cleaning can be done once or twice a day. It is equally important to get your pet vaccinated for rabies and other common diseases as preventive measures.
In a nutshell, the ferret is a fun-loving pet that needs special attention from the owner. If possible, select two or more food products for creating variety in its diet. Consider all these factors and make the final decision carefully. It has a lifespan of about 7 years or more in captivity, provided you subject it to proper care. So, be ready to give long-term commitment for this lovely pet.