Only about 326,000 households in the United States own ferrets. So, if you’re interested in joining this small population, you might be wondering—are ferrets hard to care for?
Ferrets are more timing-consuming than they are hard to care for. Read on to learn about the different aspects of ferret care to consider before you invite this new pet into your home.
Ferrets require time and financial resources to care for them properly. Although they sleep for approximately 20 hours a day, when they’re awake, they’ll rely on you to keep them entertained and well-groomed.
You should take your ferret out of their cage daily to play. You’ll also need to offer them well-rounded meals. Therefore, they’re more high maintenance than caring for a pet such as a goldfish.
Ferrets are intelligent and can become depressed if you don’t give them enough stimulation. Therefore, ensuring they have enough toys inside their cage and playtime outside of their cage daily is crucial for your ferret’s health. Ferrets that are not given proper attention can even become depressed.
The good news is that you don’t have to spend lots of money on special ferret toys. To keep your ferret happy and occupied in their cage, consider including the following homemade items:
- PVC piping
- Paper bags
- Cardboard boxes
- Long-sleeved shirts and pants
However, relying on toys to keep your ferret happy isn’t enough. They also need love and attention from you. Therefore, if you don’t have time to dedicate to petting and playing with your ferret every day, they’re likely too high maintenance of a pet for you.
Ferrets digest their food quickly. Furthermore, they have a short digestive tract, meaning that food moves through them within three to four hours. As a result, you need to ensure your ferret eats a minimum of six to eight meals per day.
Understandably, feeding your ferret so frequently is too high maintenance and unrealistic for most ferret owners. For this reason, veterinarians recommend ensuring your ferret has 24/7 access to food.
Ferrets are carnivores. However, leaving a dead mouse or chunk of meat in your ferret’s cage for them to munch on all day isn’t sanitary for your home. So, you should purchase high-quality ferret food, like Wysong Ferret Epigen 90. These pellets have no starch with a high protein and fat content.
Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to treat your ferret to whole prey foods on occasion. Rats and mice are excellent options, and you can purchase them from your local pet store. Also beef and even deer meat is a great treat. Although it isn’t essential to feed your ferret such foods if you’re looking for lower maintenance care, taking this step can help improve their gut health.
Plants, especially avocados, should be avoided at all costs. They are hard to digest or even poisonous for ferrets.
Are Ferrets Difficult to Take Care of?
Ferrets have a loving but mischievous personality that can make them difficult to take care of until you get the hang of it. Furthermore, you should bathe them at least once per month and take them to annual veterinary check-ups.
You’ll need to treat a ferret much like you would a toddler—keeping them away from objects and places that can harm them.
You already know that letting your ferret out of their cage is important. And although ferrets love to cuddle, they’re also curious creatures. So, you should set up an area in your home where they have a safe place to explore.
If you notice that your ferret starts making a mess of their cage, such as dragging litter around, splashing the water out of their bowl, or doing destructive chewing, it’s a sign that you’re not giving them enough outlets to release their energy.
Like cats, ferrets are clean animals. However, if you’re a first-time ferret owner, you may have trouble believing this since ferrets naturally have a musky smell.
The smell occurs because of scent glands in a ferret’s skin. As a silver lining, pet stores almost always sell ferrets neutered since unneutered ferrets have an even more potent smell.
Nevertheless, you can bathe your ferret once or twice per month to keep their smell in check. Warm water and shampoo made for pets are all you need to give your ferret a proper bath.
Bathing your ferret can help them keep from getting itchy. However, overbathing them can be detrimental to your goal; it can cause their glands to produce more of the unwanted scent.
Are Ferrets Hard to Keep?
Ferrets defecate a lot because they have such a small digestive system. Furthermore, ferrets are social animals. Therefore, you’ll need to have a minimum of two ferrets in your home, making it harder to keep them if you don’t have much time.
Did you know that you can litter train a ferret? It doesn’t take long, either—about one week of giving them treats whenever they use their litter box should do the trick.
You should clean your ferret’s litter box once per day. Keep in mind that you should have more than one litter box for your ferret, as they’ll also need a litter box when they’re playing outside of their cage.
In addition to daily litter box cleanings, water changes, and fresh food, you should perform the following cleaning tasks once per week:
- Change litter
- Disinfect litter trays, water bowl, and food bowl
- Wash bedding
- Clean toys
Finally, when considering the question, “Are ferrets hard to care for?” keep in mind that you’ll need to have a minimum of two ferrets since ferrets are social animals.
Therefore, you’ll need to have the energy to play, bathe, and clean two ferrets. Many ferret owners feel it’s worth it. However, it’s a commitment that you need to be ready to take on.
Ferrets aren’t hard to care for but doing so correctly is time-consuming. Therefore, if you choose to own ferrets, you should be prepared to give them lots of attention, have the financial means to provide them with high-quality food, and keep their cage clean.