“What pet should I get?” It’s not just the title of a Dr. Suess book, it’s a question often heard from a first-time visitor to the Connecticut Humane Society. You’ve already thought about the pros and cons and whether or not you’re ready to get a pet, but you still might be on the fence about what type of pet you want. Or maybe you just adopted a pet, and you want to make sure you’ve covered all your bases. Check out these tips to start.
Get ready for a party animal! Ferrets are curious and playful creatures who will keep you entertained daily. They can be single pets or live in pairs or small groups. When properly handled and trained, ferrets are very social and responsive to their humans.
- Average adult size: 15 inches long, head to end of tail
- Average life span: 8 years with proper care
- Healthy ferrets typically sleep up to 18 hours a day.
- Ferrets can be kept in pairs or small groups if together from an early age or introduced properly.
- All ferrets have a natural musky odor. The odor is minimized when the ferret is spayed or neutered.
- Always wash your hands after handling your pets or cleaning their dishes, cage, toys, etc.
Diet & Feeding
- Fresh food and water should always be available. Most ferrets are accustomed to drinking from a water bottle.
- Specialized food formulated for ferrets should make up their entire diet. Specialized ferret treats are available but should be limited.
- Clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water, changed daily.
- Do not feed chocolate, caffeine or alcohol, as these can cause serious medical conditions. Avoid sugar and high fat treats. Ferrets are obligate carnivores and should not be fed fruits or vegetables.
- Ferrets acclimate well to average household temperatures, not above 80°F. Avoid extreme temperature changes. Their housing should be placed in an area that is away from drafts and direct sunlight.
- Your ferret’s housing should be large, wire, and have multiple levels. Be aware that they are known for being excellent escape artists.
- 1-2” of paper bedding, such as Carefresh, is recommended. Wood shavings should not be used.
- Clean and disinfect the habitat and non-porous toys regularly; remove wet spots daily and change bedding at least once a week or more often if necessary. Ferrets can be litterbox trained.
- Ferrets are very intelligent and love to explore. Be sure to provide a variety of toys, hammocks, and hiding places to keep them busy.
- Ferrets need at least one period a day outside their enclosure, so it’s a good idea to set up a ferret-proof area for them to exercise and play.
- Ferrets should receive monthly baths with ferret shampoo and regular nail trims. They can also be brushed with a soft brush.
Health and Veterinary Care
Ferrets require annual rabies and distemper vaccines. A healthy ferret should be active, alert and sociable, eating and drinking often, with healthy fur and clear eyes. A ferret who is inactive, losing weight, has eye or nasal discharge, diarrhea, hair loss or distressed breathing may be sick. If you notice these any of these signs, get to your veterinarian right away.