Things you need for a ferret
Ferrets are wonderful bundles of joy that can bring happiness to every home. But, just like every other pet, a good idea is to get everything you need for a ferret before getting the ferret itself. If you buy everything before the ferret comes, you will avoid: ”Now, what??” question. Ferrets are mischievous animals and you can’t just leave them in the room while you go shopping for a cage, food or hammocks. Ferrets can’t be left alone unsupervised because they will get in trouble. So, do yourself a favor and buy things for ferret before your new family member arrives.
To start the list of things your ferret needs, think about ferret’s behavior. You need something to feed your ferret, to feed it from, something for sleeping, for playing…. You can separate all things into different categories, like:
We will talk about basic stuff before we begin with things you need for a ferret.
In the first category are things you need to consider regarding knowledge and ferret itself. Before getting a ferret, do your homework. It is always good to know what do ferrets need or what they mustn’t do. Things you need to know about ferrets regards to every part of their lives. Nutrition, breeding, life span, illnesses, dangerous situations, training, grooming… Tips and tricks people use with other pets, usually don’t work with ferrets, so if you have a dog (or a cat), remember, you are not prepared for a ferret.
Ferrets are, I dare to say, exotic animals and you have to ask yourself: ”What do I need for a ferret?”. If you are in a country where ferrets aren’t that popular (or their popularity grew over past few years) it is essential to have a good veterinarian. Ferrets are animals who live very fast. Their digestive system is fast, they sleep more than half a day and it is sometimes hard to see symptoms of any kind. There are situations when your ferret is fine and in few hours it is very bad and for example lethargic. With ferrets, it is important to have a quick reaction and that is why you need a knowledgeable veterinarian, who is prepared and can react fast. Talk with other ferret owners in your area and ask for a good veterinarian for your new ferret.
Now, let’s talk about your home. (soon ferret’s home as well) In my post about characteristic of ferrets, I mentioned their body. Their flexible body and their curiosity are the main reason why people are ferretproofing homes. To properly ferretproof your home you will need duck tape, baby locks and an eye for details. Basic ferretproofing consists of deciding where will your ferret be. If you are a new ferret owner I recommend you restrict your ferrets ”playground” to one room. That can be your room or living room, but don’t allow it in the kitchen or bathroom. When you decide which room is it, look around your room.
Remove everything fragile from floors, coffee tables, shelves, everything below 1-meter height. Ferrets love to explore and throw things from the tables. There are numerous ferret personalities and abilities. Don’t assume they can’t climb on the table.
For example, Frida is very calm and she jumps on my coffee table rarely, most of the time from the couch. On the other hand, Yoda is a jumper and he has the ability to jump on the coffee table from the ground. (about 50 cm high) If you don’t want them to enter the drawers or cabinets, use baby locks. Always have a duck tape near and when you see some hole they are overly interested, tape it over to block it. When your ferret comes, look what it does, intervene when it does something shouldn’t do. Don’t leave your ferret unsupervised at any time.
Ferrets are really clean animals and most owners don’t go outside with ferrets so they can’t get dirty that easily. They spend most of their time grooming, so on the list of ferret needs isn’t regularly bath time. Actually, it isn’t recommended to bath them too often because their skin can become irritated. Plan the bath 3 times a year.
What you must do regularly, is to cut their toenails and clean their ears. That is something they can’t do alone. Toenails are extremely important because when they are too long, a ferret can get stuck and when they are stuck, they panic. A lot. A ferret can lose a toenail that way, that isn’t something you want. Cut their toenails every 10 to 14 days, depends on how fast they grow. Toenail clipping doesn’t have to be traumatic for you or your ferret. You can use, for example, ferretone to distract it when you do the work. Also, when you go to the vet, check your ferret for fleas or ear mites so you can get rid of them in time.
CAGE & EQUIPMENT
Now that we have covered preparation and veterinarian, let’s talk about equipment and things you need for a ferret. I think it is the best to start from the biggest and that would be the cage. There are many good cages on the market made especially for ferrets, but minimum measures you can choose are 70 cm long, 60 cm wide and 50 cm high.
There are some things you must consider when picking up the cage, for example, that the bottom of the cage shouldn’t be wired. If it is, just put some lino on the floor or some other material you can use to cover the floor. The cage should be with two or more floors. On the bottom of the cage put litter box filled with good litter. On the second or third floor put the bowls for food and water. Attach them to the cage because ferrets love to knock over bowls. The rest of the cage fill with hammocks because ferrets sleep a lot and they love hammocks. Also, it is a good thing to separate sleeping and eating time from the bathroom.
What do ferrets need when they are not in the cage?
If you let your ferret be in the room when you are home, put some blankets on the floor so it can sleep out of the cage. Also, put few litter boxes in the room because most ferrets can’t hold that long to run back in the cage.
GAMES & TOYS
Yes, ferrets sleep a lot, but when they are awake they love to play. You have to keep them occupied or they will look for fun in every corner of the room. Everything you need for a ferret to be occupied are toys and more toys.
The best toys are tunnels and mice on a string. Tunnels are great and your ferret will love to go through them, but with a mouse on a string, you have a direct interaction with your ferret. Your ferret will run, jump and hunt a mouse on a string and you will have so much fun. Also, other great toys for ferrets are balls, electric cars, stuffed animals…. Ferrets will pick their favorite toy which they will carry no matter where they are going. Light blue Kong is Yoda’s favorite and orange bone (which I have mentioned few times) is Frida’s favorite. A good thing is to rotate toys every 10 days because ferrets easily get bored with the same toy every day.
”What do I need for a ferret if I want to travel with it?” Luckily, not much. By traveling I mean every trip possible. Going to the vet, to your friend, to the park, to the seaside…. The most important thing of all things you need for a ferret is a harness. Don’t use a collar because your ferret will remove it immediately.
A harness is a better solution because it goes around the neck and around the ribcage. A basic H harness with plastic clips is good for most ferrets, all you have to do is to make sure you got the right size. If your ferret can escape from H harness, you can buy an H harness with a net around the body, they are more difficult to escape from. Velcro harnesses are not that good because in time, velcro can become weak and harness can let your ferret free. When you are planning to go out with your ferret, put a harness on.
Depending on a durability of the trip, you will have to have a pet carrier or a playpen. If you are going to the vet, the perfect solution is to use a pet carrier. It can be for a cat or small dog. On the bottom of the carrier put puppy pad and, if it is possible, put one hammock inside so your ferret can sleep. If the trip is very long, attach a food and water bowl on the door of the carrier. You don’t have to fill them, just attach so you can fill them when the time comes.
Now, the biggest part of travel category: playpen. Playpens are great for ferrets when you want to put them in the back yard. But, not every playpen is a good choice. When picking a playpen you have to think what do ferrets need inside and what can they do to get out of it. A playpen should have toys for game time, bedding for sleep time, food and water for eating. There are two types of playpens you can choose from. A playpen can be made from hard-wearing polyester or from wires. A good wired ferret playpen should have narrow vertical wires so ferrets can’t squeeze through and few (or none) horizontal wires.
If a playpen has horizontal wires, make sure that they are only on the bottom side of playpen so ferrets can’t climb their way out of the playpen with a little help of horizontal wires. A hard-wearing polyester playpen should be in one piece with a top on so that ferrets can’t climb their way out.
Now, the most challenging part of our list of things you need for a ferret – nutrition. Ferret’s nutrition is very specific and you have 2 choices. To feed them high-quality kibble and to feed them raw meat. Unusual for pets right? Ferrets are obligate carnivores and their natural nutrition is raw meat. Raw meat nutrition is special because you can choose to feed your ferret with whole prey, a combination of raw meat, bones, and organs or a combination of those two – whole prey or raw meat combination. Whole prey nutrition I can’t say much because its name says everything – whole pray. It can be mice, rats, quails, chicken, rabbits…. A raw meat combination consists of meat, bones and organs, all of the special amounts. It is important to have at least 3 proteins – chicken, turkey, rabbit, lamb, beef….
If you decide to give them kibble instead of raw meat, use high-quality kibble. High-quality kibble has a high amount of meat inside which is awesome and highly important for a ferret. Recommended amount of proteins is at least 40%, of fat is about 10-20% and the kibble has to have meat as 3 main ingredients (when you read the list of ingredients make sure that first 3 ingredients are, for example, chicken, turkey liver, lamb….)
I hope I have clarified your ”What do I need for a ferret?” question for you with this post. I covered every category with basic information for you to better understand ferret as a pet. Everything you need for a ferret is listed here and with this list, you can see the budget for things you need for a ferret so you can prepare yourself for a new family member. Congratulate on your decision to get a ferret and best of luck with it! 🙂