CARING FOR YOUR PET FERRET
The ferret is a bright-eyed, intelligent pet that will give you years of enjoyment. Ferrets were bred domestically, as pets, for hundreds of years. They are wonderfully entertaining companions that will easily fit into many households. Originally from Europe, ferrets are often called “fetch ferrets” or “polecats.”
Ferret Proof Your Home – Before you introduce your new baby into your home, make sure you have “ferret proofed” it. Just like a toddler, a ferret can and will get into anything. Electrical cords and some house plants can be a danger.
Do ferrets have an odour? A Petland ferret will have very little musk scent for you to worry about. All Petland ferrets are neutered or spayed, which eliminates most of their musky scent. For female ferrets, spaying eliminates health problems associated with going into heat.
Our Ferret Care Program – Our consulting store veterinarian serves as each kit’s (baby ferret) pediatrician. Our pet technician is in regular contact with the store veterinarian to ensure that each kit receives optimum care. We recommend a visit to your veterinarian to discuss continued care. If you do not have a veterinarian, we would be happy to recommend one. Annual vaccinations are necessary to help ensure your ferrets continued good health.
When ferrets arrive at Petland, we examine them, bathe them, put them on a nourishing diet and their lifetime vet care program begins. Vaccination and de-worming programs are done with our store veterinarian. We monitor weight gain, activity levels and litter box contents, and keep this information on their health chart. Grooming care, such as brushing, clipping nails and cleaning ears are part of our daily routine, so it will not be a surprise to your kit when you continue this program at home.
Our pet counsellors are animal lovers and because they are, they hold and play with the ferrets in our store. Our guests also play a big part in our ferret’s social skills.* This is why a Petland ferret is quick to bond with his new family.
Biting – Your new baby will need to learn the rules of your household for the relationship to be enjoyable for you both. When kits play with each other, they nip hard, but it doesn’t bother them, since they have such thick skin. When a kit nips at his owner, he does not realize that your skin is not as thick as his own. Ask your pet counsellor for tips on how to gently let your new kit know that biting is not acceptable. The time you spend with him, in the first few weeks home, will be returned to you as years of delightful companionship.
To provide a happy, healthy atmosphere for your ferret, Petland recommends the following necessary and fun accessories. We have listed them as your new ferret’s four basic needs: Nutritional, Environmental, Maintenance and Behavioural. When you meet these needs, along with a loving environment, your ferret can live a long and happy life. Typically, a healthy ferret may live between eight and 10 years.
A Home of His Own – All babies need lots of sleep and they need a safe, secure place for resting. Give your kit a place of his own. Metal cages designed specifically for ferrets are best. The wiring should be close enough to prevent the escape artist from squeezing through. Avoid using aquariums, since they limit the necessary smells and sounds a kit needs to form lasting impressions of his new home. Spot clean his home daily and strip his home once a week. Use hot water and a mild soap, rinse well and dry completely. Do not use bleach or other household cleaners, which will irritate your ferrets delicate respiratory system.
About Bedding – We do not recommend bedding material, such as corn cob or pine shavings in the cage. Your ferret may try to eat them and this can lead to medical emergencies. Absorbent bedding throughout his home will only confuse him about where he should relieve himself.
A hammock, attached to the top of the cage, makes a suspended sleep and play area. At first your kit probably cannot reach it, but soon he will be swinging, playing and sleeping in his own hanging loft.
Couch pouches are a cozy sleeping area that you place at the floor of your kit’s home for him to snuggle into.
Food – We are what we eat! Feed your ferret the same food we fed him at Petland. A change in diet combined with a move to a new home may result in diarrhea and illness. Your ferret has specific dietary needs. His food should be high in protein and fat, specifically made for ferrets. Your ferret’s metabolism is high, so efficient digestion demands a food that he can assimilate into his body quickly. Ferrets are usually free-fed, by keeping the bowl filled and allowing them to eat as they please. Always provide clean, fresh water for him.
Skin and Coat Supplement – Any ferret owner will tell you that once their ferret tastes this supplement, they love it! You will love the result too, which is a soft, shiny coat.
Litter Box and Litter – Your Petland ferret will have had a start to his litter training habits before he goes home with you. It is now up to you to continue the process. It is crucial that you realize that ferrets, unlike cats, do not have the desire to bury their waste. They will go anywhere there happens to be a convenient corner. We recommend that you purchase multiple litter boxes if you plan for your ferret to have the full run of your home. Typically, we will recommend a triangular ferret litter pan with high sides.
Recycled newspaper litter is a very good choice for ferrets. It is dust free and not as much fun to play in as other litters. If you are unable to use this, then clay litter is an acceptable second choice. Do not use clumping litter, as it will scatter easily and may get into your ferret’s eyes and nose causing health problems. Spot clean your ferret pan daily with a litter scoop. We recommend leaving a small amount of fecal material in the pan to serve as a reminder.
Dishes and Bottles – Ferrets love to play in water dishes! Their water dish will always be a source of fun. When your ferret is outside his cage, give him water from a crock dish. When he is in his cage, offer an easily accessible water bottle. Clean, fresh water should always be available. For food, select a heavy crock-style dish that is hard to flip over.
Shampoo – Your ferret will love to get down and dirty, which is pretty easy for an animal that is so low to the ground. He will roll and slither in whatever he finds appealing, which is almost anything. We recommend that you bathe your ferret once a month, with a shampoo made specifically for ferrets. Always dry your ferret thoroughly after the bath and keep him out of drafts.
Deodorizing Spray – This will help to keep your ferret fresh between bathing.
Brushes – Your ferret will enjoy the attention of getting a daily grooming. Grooming gloves, rubber brushes or soft bristle brushes are good grooming tools. This will encourage a shiny coat and is a great opportunity to bond. Rewarding your ferret after grooming him will make these sessions something to look forward to.
Nail Clippers and Coagulant – Use nail clippers made for small animals to keep your ferret’s nails trimmed. Your pet counsellor will show you how to do this. Take care not to over trim or cut into blood vessels running through each nail. Should this happen, have a blood coagulant waiting and ready to use.
Ear Cleaning – A ferret’s ears are delicate. They have soft folds that may collect dirt and debris. Use a cotton ball and an ear-cleaning solution found in the dog or cat section of your Petland store. Gently wipe away any visible debris. Careful when using cotton swabs; one sudden move by your ferret could cause the swab to go in too deep.
Toys – Ferrets love to play, and it is through play that they relieve tension and boredom. Toys are fun! It’s important that you provide a variety of safe toys. Latex toys are not safe for ferrets. Like puppies, ferrets will chew on things. Giving them their own toys, teaches them to distinguish between “mine and yours.”
Harness and Lead – Ferrets enjoy walking on a leash. Your pet counsellor will help you fit your ferret with the proper size of ferret harness, so your little guy can get some fresh air without the worry of him escaping.
Treats – Treats play an important role in your ferret’s day-to-day routine. Treats reinforce good behaviour and are a tasty break to look forward to. Try several varieties of treats made specifically for ferrets to see which ones he likes best.
Book About Ferrets – Petland has many excellent books on ferrets available. Your pet counsellor can help you select a book that will best suit your needs.
Please ask your pet counsellor what other items pertain to your particular pet’s needs.
*Ask about the volunteer programs at your nearest Petland location.
Cleanliness and Safety
All pets must be kept in a clean environment to avoid the spread of dirt and contaminants to yourself and others. Always keep your pet’s home clean, and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home.
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit diseases to humans. Young children, infants, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems and the elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with pets or their homes.