People began domesticating ferrets around 2,500 years ago, so they’ve had a lot of time to become cuddly, family-loving creatures.
If you’re wondering, “Are ferrets good family pets?” we’ll walk you through whether bringing home a ferret is a good fit for your situation.
Are Ferrets Good Family Pets?
Ferrets are excellent family pets because they love to cuddle, interact with family members, and are playful. However, it’s best to wait until your children are six or seven years old before welcoming a ferret into your family, as they can bite if a child mistreats them.
What Are Ferrets Like as Family Pets?
Ferrets are entertaining pets who love to play and cuddle with their family. They have a lot of energy during their waking hours and require attention to stay happy.
Many people comment that ferrets have the qualities of a dog because they’re affectionate and create strong bonds with their owners.
Because ferrets have long nails and can bite if you don’t train them or if a child mistreats them, we recommend bringing a ferret into your home once all children in your family are over the age of six or seven.
How Nice Are Ferrets to Children?
Ferrets will be as nice to your children as they are nice to them. If a child mishandles a ferret, they may bite. So, it’s best to introduce a ferret into your family until your children are past the toddler stage.
Another item to keep in mind is training. Baby ferrets will have a natural tendency to bite.
Always use positive reinforcement techniques when training your ferret to stop biting. So, if your ferret bites you, follow these steps:
- Scruff up their fur.
- Carefully wiggle your finger inside their mouth to get them to release their grip.
- Continue holding your ferret after they bite for at least five seconds.
Once you’ve trained your ferret not to bite, you can expect them to treat your children well as long as your children treat your ferret with kindness.
Is Owning a Ferret Hard for a Family?
Ferrets require daily cleaning and playtime outside of their cage. Furthermore, ferrets are social animals, so you’ll need to have at least two ferrets, creating double the work.
Although you’ll need to clean your ferret’s cage daily, they can quickly learn to use a litter box. That makes cleaning easier. Giving this task to your children is an excellent way to teach them responsibility.
Ferrets have a short digestive system, so they need to eat frequently to stay full. For this reason, you should ensure that your ferret has 24/7 access to high-quality ferret food. It’s also beneficial to your ferret’s health to provide them with direct meat sources as a treat.
How High Maintenance Are Ferrets for Families?
When considering the question, “Are ferrets good family pets?” it’s important to know that ferrets require a lot of attention. Although they sleep about 20 hours a day, when ferrets are awake, they want to play and bond with their family members.
Aside from playtime, other items that will take time when you’re caring for your ferret include:
- Cleaning their litter box daily
- Scrubbing their cage and toys weekly
- Bathing them once or twice a month
- Ensuring they have a constant supply of food and water
Because ferrets are mischievous, you’ll need to have a ferret-proof place in your house to let them roam. Even so, you need to supervise them.
That way, you can catch them before they sneak through a crack in their play area and monitor that your children aren’t mishandling them.
What Are the Risks of Ferrets as Family Pets?
Ferrets are wild animals, so even domesticated ferrets that you purchase from the pet store may bite. In addition, biting occurs when ferrets are young, so you’ll need to train your ferret not to bite by using positive reinforcement techniques.
Trained ferrets may also bite at times if a child mistreats them or if they get scared. Therefore, you should understand what noises and movements scare your ferret to avoid this instinctive reaction.
Another risk of owning a family ferret is that they have long nails. Unlike cats, ferrets can’t retract them.
Since your ferret will be around children, it’s best to keep their nails clipped to avoid unwanted scratches.
What do Ferrets Require of a Family?
Ferrets require attention and love from their family. They also need frequent cage cleaning and unlimited access to fresh food and water.
For your ferret to integrate well into your family, you’ll need to handle them often. For example, if you bring home baby ferrets, you should train them not to bite before letting them interact with young children.
Even if you play with your ferret often, they still need a large cage. In addition, you should provide your ferret with at least one litter box and clean it daily. Furthermore, you should disinfect your ferret’s cage and toys every day.
Like children, ferrets need their families to keep them away from items that can harm them. Ferrets love to chew, so make sure they don’t have access to electrical wires and other items that could endanger their health.
Do Ferrets Protect Their Owners?
Ferrets create a strong bond with their owners and can differentiate their owner from a stranger. However, they aren’t known to get aggressive with protection tactics.
Studies show that, like dogs, ferrets use eye contact to communicate with their owners. But unlike dogs, ferrets don’t usually display aggression as a form of protection.
Nevertheless, you should closely monitor your ferret when anyone new comes over to your house. It’s common for children to want to show off their pet to a friend. But before they do so, it’s a good idea to test how your ferret will react with an adult stranger.
What You Should Families Know About Ferrets
Ferrets are fun-loving pets, but they can have a little too much fun on your furniture if you’re not careful. Digging is an instinctive behavior for ferrets, so you should barricade them from any furniture that they could tear.
It’s also important to provide your ferrets with lots of toys to keep them occupied. One of our favorite toys is Niteangel’s Pet Fun Tunnel. Not only will your ferret enjoy running through this tunnel, but it provides a dark, burrowing-like environment that ferrets love.
Should You Bring a Ferret Home to Your Family?
Ferrets are loving animals that can bring a lot of joy to your family. Provided that you have children over the age of six or seven and understand the significant time commitment of taking care of them, they’re an excellent pet to bring home.