Some Tips and Suggestions to
Help you make your Ferret as
Happy and Healthy as he or
she can be.
Sketch by Kasey Mack
A small wire cage with two levels can comfortably
accomodate one or two ferrets. More than two,
and you will probably require a larger cage.
Safeguard or Martins makes a good sturdy home
for your ferret. Their links are below. Both will
ship their cages within a day or two. We fasten
a small dishpan on the bottom floor for use as
a litter pan that can be removed for easy
cleaning. We use wood pellets, the kind that
are used in wood pellet stoves. It is very
inexpensive, less than $4 for a 40 pound bag,
and it is excellent for absorbing moisture and
odor. We have found clay litter to be less than
desirable and some of the clumping litters can
be harmful to the health of your pets. Wood
or cedar shavings are not recommended since
the wood fibers have been found to be cancer
causing. We recommend used baby clothes
as bedding and blankets. Ferrets like to find
a warm dark enclosed area to sleep. The
blankets and baby clothes provide a nice
cuddly place to hide. They also are inexpensive
as you many times can get these things at a
garage sale or flea market. We also will put
shower curtain rings through the arms and legs
of baby pajamas and hang them in the cage
as a hammock. Small carpet sample pieces
or linoleum will keep your ferrets feet from
being injured on the wire cage bottoms.
Fresh water is essential and a small animal
water bottle should be attached to the cage
and refilled daily.
Proper diet is probably the most important
thing that you can give your ferret to ensure
a long and healthy life. Ferret food must contain
a minimum of 32% protein from animal products
with 36% to 38% being preferred. Ferrets are
naturally carnivores and require the closest thing
to real meat that they can get. We recommend
Innova feline, Mazuri ferret diet, Sensible Choice
kitten, Totally Ferret, 8 in 1 Ultimate ferret, or others
that use fresh meat. A crock or tray that can be
fastened to the cage to avoid tipping is best.
Check it every day to make sure your ferret
has plenty to eat. A ferret's digestive tract is
short and they may look to eat quite often.
Treats are good in small amounts. Fruit and
vegetable products are not their natural diet
and their digestive systems do not react well
normally to a heavy diet of these items. Some
ferrets handle dairy products well but we have
found that in most cases, it will make your
ferret ill. We like to use ferretone or nutrical
because it contains vitamins and oil for their
coats and skin.
It is not necessary to bathe your ferret every
week. Frequent bathing will deplete the natural
oils in your ferret's skin and coat, thus causing
their body to try to replace those oils. This will
result in a more oily coat and increased odor.
We recommend bi- monthly baths with a high
quality pet shampoo like PPL or Four Paws.
When bathing, be careful not to get any soap
in their eyes, ears, nostrils, or mouth!
A ferret's teeth and gums should be inspected
periodically to see if any plaque buildup has
occured or if there are any signs of periodontitis.
A vet can remove the plaque and prescribe
treatment for any gum disease. If you are
careful, you can use a tooth scaler or a small
animal toothbrush to remove the plaque
yourself. To do this, simply scruff your ferret
using your thumb and index finger and pull the
head back. With your other hand, gently scrape
the plaque until it flakes off. Never scrape the
tooth surface, as this will take off the enamel.
It will take a little practice, but after a few times
you will get the hang of it.
Your ferret will need it's nails clipped every
two weeks. To do this, simply lay your ferret on
it's back on your lap with it's head close to you.
Squeeze out a little ferretone on his belly and
stick his nose in it so he knows it's there. When
he becomes fully involved in licking up the treat,
clip the nails, 5 on each paw, using a small nail
clipper like you use on your own nails. Be
careful not to cut too close to the quick. This
is the pink area at the top of the nail. It has a
vein running to it which will bleed if it is cut.
Cleaning your ferrets ears is also important.
Mites often harbor in the ears and getting a
good look at what comes out of the ear will
tell you if you have a mite problem. To clean
your ferrets ears, scruff him with your index
finger and thumb and pull his head back. Use
a clean cotton swab dipped into an ear cleaning
solution and gently sweep the swab into the
ear cavity and out. Do not thrust the swab in
as this will pack in and wax or dirt. Continue
the process until the swab comes out clean.
Be sure to clean the outer lobe as well. A
ferret with continuous excessive wax or dirt
should be taken to the vet to be treated for
potential mites or infection.
Some more "stuff"
  • 1. Be sure to have your ferret innoculated yearly
    for distemper and rabies. We recommend
    Purevac from Merial and IMRAB.
  • 2. Make sure you have a vet who knows how to
    treat ferrets. Your local ferret shelter will have
    a good idea who in your area can treat ferrets.
  • 3. Use baby or animal toys for your ferrets but
    be sure they do not have removable parts or
    pieces that can be chewed off. These may be
    a potential choking hazard.
  • 4. Aleutians disease is a potentially deadly affliction which can be spread to other ferrets through contact with other ferrets or their bodily excretions. Please have your ferrets tested regularly using the CEIP test from United to prevent spread to other ferrets.
  • If you have any additional questions or concerns
    please email us and we will be happy to share
    what we know with you!
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