a ferret beeing kissed by their owner

What First Time Ferret Owners Should Know

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When you first see a ferret, it is impossible not to fall in love. These are cute little guys who are cuddly, smart, just like any dog, and have similar energy. Given their small size, it is often a significant task to take care of a ferret. Ferrets are distinctive creatures that have peculiar characteristics that can puzzle their first-time owners.

If you cannot take your eyes off one and have decided that you need a ferret, it is essential to know what goes into raising one and giving it the best possible home.

Being a Pet Owner

The majority of the households and many people who live alone these days choose to own a pet mostly to keep themselves occupied.

The joy and responsibility of owning a pet are similar to having a baby/child. Just like kids need to be taken proper care of, pets need to visit the veterinary doctor from time to time.

They, too, need to get vaccinated from time to time for their proper functioning and well-being. However, when you own an exquisite pet, the responsibility of taking care of it doubles that of any other normal breed of cat and dog.

A regular visit to the vet becomes a must, and they require access to special kinds of food to survive healthily. 

Domesticated and owned as a pet for over 2500 years, ferrets are furry mammals, originated from the European polecat.

The males are substantially larger than the females, and it is predicted that the early domesticated ferrets were used for hunting rabbits.

Owning a ferret is not equivalent to owning a cat or a dog. Different species of animals need different care procedures. Being a first-time ferret owner can seem challenging to many, but you ease into the process over time, and they become your best buddy.

For all those people out there, who are deciding whether to make a ferret their pet or not, as well as for new ferret owners, I hope this article helps you to understand ferrets a little more and help you opt for the right ways of taking care of your lovely ferret.

There are only a few domesticated animals, which are as lively and friendly as the ferrets are. They bond with the humans at the greatest proximity and are very affectionate toward their owners.

It is, however, important to understand at this point is that not all people are suitable or can take care of a ferret. They are highly sensitive little creatures who need their owner to understand them and spend most of their day with themselves. 

Importance of Keeping Ferrets in Pairs

someone holding two ferrets in their hands

Ferrets are adorable animals who live up to 12 years. Usually, it is advised to keep ferrets in a pair, that can be two males, two females or one male and one female since it is always not possible for owners to give them their attention 24/7.

These creatures need a friend with whom they can play and interact during the hours you are too busy to pay them attention.

They will otherwise feel lonely. It is, however, very necessary for you to get them neutered before having them as pets, especially if you are considering going for a male and a female pair.

Now you don’t want unnecessary growth of ferret population in your homes, right?

They are generally social beings who frequently seek out their human family’s company or other ferrets.

When you’re with your buddies, playing can be so much more fun. It should also be considered that they don’t fight over resources, so all the ferrets should have equal and regular access to food, toys, and places to hide and sleep.

Behaviour of Young Ferrets

If you are a new owner and your ferret is a young animal, it will likely chew on anything it finds on sight, which in turn would make them sick.

You need to make sure that your pet is now biting into anything when they are freed from their cage.

Make sure that you don’t lay around things around their playroom for them to pick up and start chewing on them.

They have a habit of hiding things into their homes/safe places too. So, take proper care of your things.

Otherwise, they are going to get under places where you will never be able to find them again. 

Ferrets and their Playtime

brown ferret in front of white background

Ferrets love to play, and it is equally important for them to be freed from their cages and have their playtime. Every day!

They will otherwise get obese due to lack of exercise, which is why you should get ferrets in pairs so that even when you are busy, they can play on their own with each other. 

Your Pet Should be Vaccinated

The owner needs to know the risks they are putting their pets and themselves by not vaccinating their pets and not taking them for their regular visit at the vet.

We know how much you love your pet and how much afraid you are of losing them.

Keeping that in mind, the basic vaccinations that are a must for your ferrets will be discussed in this section; just like dogs need to take a series of three distemper vaccines, ferrets need to take the same starting from when they are two months old.

The canine distemper virus would otherwise threaten their life. They need to take their first rabies shot at four months of age, followed by taking annually one rabies shot as well as booster vaccines for their well-being.

A rabies shot needs to be administered to all ferrets. There is also a very high risk of getting canine distemper from dogs.

It is essential to take your ferret to a professional exotic vet regularly. Baby ferrets must get a series of three distemper vaccinations three weeks apart, much like dogs, beginning at two months of age.

At around four months of age, they should have their first rabies injection.

Even though they are indoor pets, they should get annual booster vaccinations against rabies and distemper viruses for life.

If you are already an owner of supposing a cat or a dog, please ensure that your already existing pet is well-behaved and won’t hurt your new pet, i.e., your ferret.

It is advisable to make your existing pet familiar to the pet you are considering buying by making them visit the pet- store a few times with you.

This way, you would be sure by observing the two animals’ behavior, whether to take or not to take a ferret alongside your cat or dog or any other pet you are taking care of. 

Ferrets are Extremely Smart.

a small ferret sleeping with a blanket

You can teach a ferret many things, like a few simple tricks or using a litter box. Their intellectual superiority tends to make them, particularly when they’re relatively young, more likely to misbehave and get themselves into trouble.

They are highly susceptible to nibbling, chewing electrical cables, or stealing small objects.

They are very ingenious in finding new ways to get whatever they want, so it is essential to make sure that your ferrets are under close supervision while they are out of their cages.

Ferrets require a Great Deal of Exercise.

Though ferrets can sleep for about 18 hours a day, they are anything but lazy. Ferrets are hyperactive and jumpy creatures that love to explore, run, leap, and have fun with their owners.

To avoid obesity and other behavior issues, at least 3-4 hours of playtime is needed each day to maintain optimum health.

Ferrets have a Distinctive Scent.

It is ubiquitous for your ferret to have a musky smell even if you bathe them or clean their cage thoroughly.

It is due to the scent glands present in their skin. It is not unpleasant to many people, but it is essential to know about or familiarize yourself with it before committing to raising a ferret.

Ferrets have a long life span. Unlike rodents that generally have a lifespan of only a few years, a healthy ferret can live up to 10 years.

Ferrets are Illegal in some Areas.

Check the local laws before you adopt or buy a ferret. For example, if you live in California, Hawaii, or New York City, you can not adopt or purchase a ferret.

Though many veterinarians handle sick ferrets in these places, locating a professional vet for your ferret in these areas can be difficult. You should consider another animal if you live in any of these areas.

Crucial Types of Equipment needed for Ferrets

Ferret cages are typically built for a comfortable hammock with two tiers and a spot to hang it. The cage should also include a dark shelter, like a wooden hut, where ferrets make a sleeping nest.

Nice and comfortable bedding is made using towels and other similar soft fabrics. It is necessary to wash the bedding regularly, and daily scrubbing is essential for the cage itself.

Several litter boxes are essential for your ferret: one to put inside the cage and a few to place outside the cage for when it’s time for your ferret to be out of its cage.

Shredded paper and newspaper cuttings-based cat litters are the finest litters to have.

For ferrets, heavy ceramic or lock-on bowls are appropriate dishes. A sipper bottle will also be of great use as ferrets are playful creatures, and they usually up-end their water bowls.

Diet and Feeding

Ferrets are weasels that are obligate carnivores which implies that their diet should include meat. Ferrets have very high metabolisms. Therefore they require a significant amount of animal fat in their meals.

It is advisable to avoid food items that contain high amounts of vegetable and grain matter because this can expose your ferret to cancer called insulinoma. Make sure that fresh water is available to your ferret at all times.

Home Environment and Safe-Keeping

Like attempting to keep out rats and spiders, ferret-proofing a house is a little like planning your home for a surprisingly athletic toddler and a bunch of jumpy kittens.

Ferrets can wiggle across a 3-cm-wide hole or void. They are known to get through dryer vents, shielded windows, and the spaces under doors to get out of the house.

Ferrets are very caring and affectionate pets for people who treat them appropriately. You should spend as much time with your ferret as possible, make time for them daily and regularly.

Since ferrets are only up every day for a few hours, effectively utilize that time to have fun playing and forming a close bond with your ferret. The most fun part of owning a ferret is that they make perfect playmates and companions.

You can do various fun activities with your ferret like playing catch or fetch, playing with toys, running, dancing, or coming up with your own game.

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