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Ferrets Rays of Hope

Basic Ferret Care

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Basic Ferret Care
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A few blurbs

General Rules of Thumb

 

Ferrets need a minimum of two hours a day to run and play outside of their cages.  However, like children, they are into everything!  Ferret proof your home just as you would for a child. And, keep an eye on your ferret.  Ferrets are quick and it only takes a second for a ferret to slip unnoticed out the door.  Ferrets love dirt and digging.  If you have any houseplants you wish to keep, place them out of your ferrets reach.

Ferrets often have a very sweet tooth and love soda!  However, these elements could cause great health problems for them in the long run.  Cute as they may be, resist the temptation to “give in” to their sweet tooth. (The one exception we have is if we know that one of our rescues only has a short time to live, we let them gorge on anything and everything they desire).

 Ferrets are carnivores, and food passes very quickly through their digestive systems. Ferrets also lack the ability to derive nutrition from plant matter. Because of this, your ferret must have a diet that is high in animal protein, high in fat, and low in fiber. Not all foods, including some foods intended solely for ferrets, are created equally, so you should be careful what you are feeding your ferret.

 

Since ferrets have a high and quick metabolism along with their short digestive system, they need to eat frequently (usually every 3-4 hours). It is best to have food available constantly. The majority of ferrets will eat only enough to meet their needs, and will not become obese if they are allowed constant access to good quality food. Fresh, clean water should always be furnished.  The water should be changed daily, and once a week, their drinking bottle should be cleaned. If you are having a problem with your ferret gaining too much weight, you should take it to your veterinarian in order to rule out a medical problem and for advice on meeting their diet needs for maintaining a good weight.  If there are no health problems, rather restricting your ferrets diet, you should increase their play time and exercise.

 

Basic requirements for your ferret diet are foods that are high in protein. (30 to 40 percent on the nutrition label)  Their food should be high in protein that is animal based and not plant based. It should also be high in fat, at least 20 percent and up to 30 percent. Also, it should be very low in carbohydrates and less than 3 percent fiber.

If you give your ferret treats, they should be given in moderation. 

Healthy treats include hard boiled and/or scrambled eggs, bits of cooked meats, or freeze dried liver treats. You should only give commercial ferret treats that are meat based. Make sure to avoid those with grains, vegetables or sugars at all costs.

 

Their litter boxes should be scooped daily and their cages cleaned out at least once a week. Like a cat, your ferret will not use a dirty or full litter box and will begin to use other areas of its cage. Since ferrets often use a corner to potty in when out, you can place litter boxes in their corners.

With patience, you can train your ferret to walk on a leash next to you without resistance.  Never drag your ferret on its leash!

Ferrets love to have their toys; however, they are little clepto’s, so anything that you can not afford or do not want to have carried off and stashed, we strongly recommend that they are place out of your ferrets reach.

 

Cheerio’s is a great treat in moderation! Maybe a small bit every other week.

 

If you have a ferret that is ill then their diet may be different and will need to be closely followed by a vet.

 

At about the age of two, your ferret becomes prone to different sort of cancers.  It is imperitive that you take it to your  vet for a complete check up and blood work up and continue to do so about every six months.

 

A great book for more information about your ferret is "Ferrets For Dummies ".  This book covers details that many may not know.  We highly recommend it for new ferret owners or someone thinking about getting a pet ferret of their own.