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Pet Care Information

Ferrets

Ferrets make interesting pets, they are very inquisitive and playful and can be trained. Ferrets can be kept as pets where it is impractical to keep other animals such as dogs and cats. Ferrets are a high maintenance pet, so they should only be kept by someone who will be able to devote the time required. They need be be able to run out of their cage and exercise for at least a couple of hours each day.

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Useful items for your ferret

Use this handy list to help you select the necessary items to care for your ferret:

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Housing Ferret Cage

We recommend housing your ferret indoors in a cage at least 1 metre by 1 metre, this allows your ferret to be kept in a comfortable temperature and lets the ferret have contact with people. Within the cage there should be a high back litter tray filled with pet litter as ferrets are able to be toilet trained. Also a soft bed as ferrets like to snuggle.

Ferrets are very inquisitive animals and love to have toys in their cages, dog and cat toys are suitable as long as the ferret cannot bite pieces off them. Also special ferret toys are available such as balls, and suspended hammocks and tunnels. Pieces of storm water pipe can also be joined together to create tunnels.

Ferrets require an exercise period for a few hours each day, this usually involves letting them out in a safe ‘ferret proof’ room in the house. They are prone to squeezing into holes and under furniture, so make sure there are no holes under furniture and that the ferret can’t climb under the fridge, washing machine or rocking chair.

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Ferret FoodDiet

A constant supply of fresh water and food is required, if placed in heavy bowls the ferret will not be able to tip them over. We recommend feeding Hagen Ferret Food to your ferret, it is a high protein, meat based diet. In addition , chicken wings can be given weekly to help clean teeth.

Purchase your ferret's food here!

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Health

Good hygiene is the basis for good health. The cage should be cleaned daily and litter in the litter tray replaced.

To help reduce ferret odour, they can be bathed with ferret shampoo designed to be gentle enough for these small animals. We recommend not bathing your ferret more than once a week as it removes oils from their coats resulting in dry skin if washed excessively. Use luke warm water to bath your ferret and make sure it is thoroughly dried after.

Vaccinations: Ferrets require the same annual vaccinations that dogs do. They should be vaccinated at 6 to 8 weeks of age then 10 to 12 weeks of age followed by an annual booster.

Small Animal WormerGastrointestinal Worms: Ferrets can become infected with worms. If left untreated they may hinder the ferret’s growth and development while posing a risk to other pets and humans. Gastrointestinal worms can easily be treated with liquid medications developed for ferrets. As a precaution they should be administered every three months

Heartworm: Heartworm is transmitted by biting insects such as mosquitoes. The adult heartworm lives in the blood vessels of the lungs and heart and eventually causes heart failure and death. Although this is not very common in ferrets it is still possible. To prevent heartworm you should start your ferret on one of the heartworm preventions available, they must be continued for the rest of the ferret’s life. All ferrets other than young kits must be tested by a veterinarian before starting a heartworm prevention program. You can either use daily or monthly heartworm tablets.

FerretsDesexing: If you don’t plan to breed your ferret then desexing is a must. A ‘jill’ (female) will come ‘into season’ about September, unless she is mated or receives injections from your vet, she will remain ’in season’ and there is a 90% chance that she may die from anemia. The ’hob’ (male) also comes ’into season’ at about the same time, during this time his odour starts to become very strong and unpleasant, and no amount of bathing will eradicate the smell. He may also become quite aggressive and will try to escape to find a mate. Desexing will overcome these problems. Most vets recommend desexing at about six months of age.
 
If your ferret looks unwell it should be taken to your vet.

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Breeding

Ferrets come into season at about September. Mating gestation lasts 6 weeks, it is a good idea to separate the jill and her kits (babies) from other ferrets to allow her a quiet area without distractions. Kits should be wormed from 2 weeks of age and vaccinated at 6 to 8 weeks of age. We suggest selling kits at 8 weeks of age.

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Training

Nipping: Ferrets need to be taught acceptable behaviour. Pet ferrets which have been handled well should not be vicious or bite. During play a ferret may run at you with his mouth open or even put his teeth on you as part of a game, if the ferret bites hard though it needs to be disciplined. A sharp tap on the nose and an angry “no” usually works. Positive reinforcement usually works better than punishment, tone of voice and the giving of treats is often enough.

Litter Training: Ferrets are usually able to learn to use a litter tray, place the tray in a corner of the cage Ferret Harness away from the bedding. Seeding it with a few fresh droppings often helps encourage them to use that area. Once the training has begun remember to clean the tray daily or the ferret may decide to go somewhere cleaner.

Walking on a harness: Ferrets are inquisitive but should not be left alone, one way to allow freedom is to walk your ferret on a harness and lead. For those ferrets that prefer to travel in luxury we have padded shoulder bags available for your to carry your ferret in!

Ferrets

 

 

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