By Barry Mcgee
If you’ve ever watched the antics and acrobatics of a sleek, agile ferret at the pet store or at a friend’s home, then you’ll understand why ferrets hold that status as some of the most amusing and entertaining pets available today. With all that energy, though, comes a pet that can prove to be highly demanding of your time, patience, and resources. Before you give in to the urge to purchase one of these popular pets, learn to properly care for a ferret and determine whether or not one is really suited to your lifestyle.
In determining whether or not you have a lifestyle and household that’s conducive to ferret care, ask yourself where you’ll be keeping your ferret. Many ferret owners choose to allow their ferrets to have free reign of the house, but this decision involves litter training your ferret and very thoroughly ferret-proofing your house. Electrical cords that can be chewed must be covered in metal coiling, tight squeezes behind appliances must be blocked off, windows must be kept securely screened or closed at all times, air ducts must be covered with ferret-proof vents, and the floor must be kept clear of any items that might be ingested. Other ferret owners opt to keep their ferrets caged. An appropriate ferret cage will be at least 18″ long, 18″ wide, and 30″ deep. Ferrets love to climb and explore, so the more toys you provide, the better. A litter pan can also be placed in the cage to make cleaning easier. Once of the biggest parts of learning how to care for a ferret is accepting the fact that ferrets can be extremely messy. You’ll need to clean your ferret’s cage at least once a week, and the litter box will need to be scooped one to two times a day at a minimum. Don’t ever use clumping cat litter for ferrets, as it can lead to respiratory problems. Your best choice will be one of the many available natural litters such as those made of recycled newspaper.
Exercise and play is a major part of pet ferret care. If your ferret has free reign of the house, he’s probably getting plenty of exercise, but you’ll still need to give your ferret plenty of attention by grooming and interacting with him. If you’re keeping your ferret caged, he’ll need to be let out for a few hours every day for some supervised exercise. Again, make sure that the room you allow your ferret to roam in has been thoroughly ferret-proofed. Give your ferret plenty of toys such as pvc pipes, rubber balls, and cat toys, and keep in mind that one of the greatest things you can do for a single ferret is to get it a companion. Many people choose another ferret, of course, but sometimes, cats and ferrets will get along well, if the cat is introduced to the ferret as a kitten. Never introduce an adult cat to a ferret unless you want to run the risk of the cat regarding the ferret as a tasty meal!
If you’re looking into getting a ferret, you’re probably aware of the fact that they aren’t the sweetest smelling creatures on earth. A lot of their musky odor has to do with whether or not they’ve been spayed or neutered. Having your ferret spayed or neutered significantly cuts down on musk production. Bathing your ferret can also help, but keep in mind that if you over-bathe them, their musk glands will only work overtime! Regular brushing is needed, as ferrets can get hairballs just like cats. Talk to your vet about preventing ear mites and fleas, and also have him or her show you how to properly trim your ferret’s toenails. Your skin will thank you!
Now that you have an idea of the basics of how to care for a ferret, it’s time to find your new friend. While pet stores are the obvious choice, many animal shelters also house ferrets, dumped by people who weren’t prepared for the time that goes into properly caring for these creatures. Wherever you choose to find your ferret, be sure that you can promise both yourself and your new pet that they’ll have a long, happy life to look forward to in your home.
About The Author: Barry S. Mcgee is a pet enthusiast. His site at: http://www.squidoo.com/petcareonline provides advice and information on all aspects of pet care for all types of pets including dogs, cats, ferrets and others and makes it easier for pet owners to choose the best solution for their companion’s care.
For answers to all your pet care questions, please visit:http://www.squidoo.com/petcareonline