A Starters Guide to Ferret Care

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Welcome to a Starter’s Guide to Ferret Care! Think of this as a 101 class on caring for ferrets. We’re going to cover the basics today, like what ferrets eat, how they play and litter box training! Not many people know about ferrets and their care, so we put this quick guide together to quickly educate and get you started on your ferret ownership journey.

What Ferrets Eat

Ferrets are obligate carnivores. That means they can’t process plant based-proteins like grains, fruits or vegetables. This means they must eat animal based proteins. Plant based proteins don’t provide them any nutrition. Ferrets need to eat food and treats made especially for them. Cat food will work in an extreme pinch, since they are obligate carnivores as well, but ferrets should be eating ferret food to ensure they are getting the right balance of nutrition.

Playtime

Ferrets are very intelligent. If you only have one, you’ll have to step up the amount of time you spend playing with them! They are very social and require human interaction, even if they have plenty of toys and other ferrets to play with. Boredom and loneliness can set in for ferrets that don’t get a lot of play time. Once boredom sets in, the destructive behaviors start. Chewing on cage bars, bedding, litter pans are all fair game for a bored ferret! Lack of play can even lead to ulcers. Keep your ferrets entertained with a rotating cast of toys, and plenty of playtime each day. Mentally stimulating toys like dig boxes filled with other toys and treats are a real crowd pleaser when it comes to ferrets.

Litterbox Training

Ferrets, like their bigger friends the cat, can be litter box trained! You’ll find that your ferret will natural seek out the corners of their cage anyway. Often it is as simple as putting a litterbox in the corner and they will know what to do. Ferrets, again like cats, can be very picky about their litter box situation. It has to be big enough, you have to have the right litter, and you have to keep it clean. Most litter pans available in pet stores are plenty big enough for your ferret. Avoid litters that are chemically treated or have strong odors. Ferrets have sensitive lungs that could be affected by the chemicals or odors. Recycled newspaper pellets, denatured wood litter pellets and 100% bentonite pearl litter are all wonderful options for ferret litter. You can even use alfalfa pellets!

Quick tips for training:
• Reward your ferret with a treat every time they use the litter.
• Attach the pan to the side of their cage. They might move it and go in the corner behind it otherwise.
• If they have an accident, move the solid waste to the box. Clean the area thoroughly with a cleaner that eliminates pet odors.
• If they are having trouble with using the box, limit them to a small area of the cage, and fill the rest of the space with food, water, and sleeping options. This will help them instinctively limit their bathroom habits to the box.

Do you have a ferret or are you thinking about getting one? Let us know in the comments!

(Photo credit: https://goo.gl/S8ZuxB)

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March 25th, 2016 by Kathleen Kintz | Posted in: Ferrets

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