How To Take Care of a Ferret: Tips for New Ferret Owners

If you just welcomed a ferret into your fur family, congratulations! There are plenty of adventures to be had and warm memories to be made with your new companion. You’re probably thrilled to get started on your future together.

But like any first-time ferret owner, you probably have some questions, too. In fact, you’re probably thinking about three things: names, supplies and proper care for ferrets. While that first one is up to you, we can certainly help with the rest — so grab your furry friend and get ready to learn how to take care of your ferret!

What to Know About Ferret Food

Just like cats and dogs, your pet ferret has unique dietary needs. Here’s what to know about ferret food:

How Often Do Ferrets Eat? 

Pet ferrets should always have food available in their cage or habitat. That’s because they have a fast metabolism and a short digestive tract, which means they quickly burn through their meals. A ferret will likely eat between six and 10 times a day, so remember to check their food levels frequently (and offer plenty of water, too).

What Do Ferrets Eat?

In the wild, ferrets are carnivores, snacking on other animals like mice and small birds. While your pet ferret probably won’t do much hunting, you can still provide a natural diet by offering raw meat or ferret food with high meat content. 

If you want to train your ferret to do tricks (like “sit,” “shake” or “roll over”) or just give them a little treat, you can also buy ferret snacks. These are generally high-protein chews or pastes your pet ferret will love, but always ask your vet what they recommend.

What Foods Aren’t Safe for Ferrets?

You probably know what foods aren’t safe for cats and dogs, but what about pet ferrets? Here are a few things your ferret should never eat:

  • Chocolate
  • Fish
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Dog food

Choosing a Ferret Habitat

A pet ferret needs as much space as possible. However, these clever little creatures are also master escape artists — so when choosing a ferret habitat or cage, make sure to find something that can be securely closed. 

Remember, your ferret needs constant access to food and water, so choose a cage with room for food bowls and water dispensers. And for a little extra fun and mental stimulation, try including obstacles so your furry friend has to think outside the box before grabbing a snack.

Don’t forget to include a litter box, too. Ferrets can be trained to use a litter box just like cats, which makes it much easier to clean their enclosures and provide proper care. Be sure to change the litter frequently to keep your furry friend happy and healthy.

It’s also important to choose a few ferret toys to add to the enclosure. Pet ferrets love toys they can crawl through, push around their cage or even chase; however, toys must not be small enough to be swallowed. These critters have a lot of energy, so it’s important to take them out of the cage for plenty of playtime — up to four hours daily. 

Grooming Your Ferret

Much like cats, pet ferrets like to keep themselves tidy. They groom themselves all the time — but you still need to do a few key things every couple of weeks, like clipping their nails, brushing their teeth and cleaning their ears. 

Ferrets love to swim, which can also help keep them clean. However, proper baths should happen once a month at most because shampoo can make your ferret’s skin dry, itchy or irritated. When it’s time for a ferret bath, remember to use animal-safe supplies to avoid making your furry friend sick.

Don’t forget to keep the cage clean, too. Regularly replacing litter and scrubbing food bowls or water dispensers can help keep your pet tidy and comfortable (and make them smell better, too!).

Veterinary Care for Pet Ferrets 

Even the most doting animal lover doesn’t have the skills, equipment and know-how to do everything for their pet. That’s why your ferret, like any other animal, needs regular veterinary care.

How Often Should Ferrets See a Vet?

Pet ferrets should go to the vet at least once a year. When they reach the geriatric stage at three or four years of age, your vet may recommend twice-yearly exams.

Of course, you should also head to the vet if you notice certain issues with your ferret. These include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Flu-like symptoms, like sneezing and coughing
  • Hair loss
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in eating or drinking habits

Do Ferrets Get Vaccinations?

Just like other domestic animals, pet ferrets need shots to keep them healthy. These vaccinations usually protect against things like rabies and canine distemper. It’s important to work with your vet to schedule vaccinations at the right times, especially if your ferret is young — that way, your pet is always protected.

What Questions Should You Ask?

As a new ferret owner, you’re likely to have a lot of questions. Ask away — your vet will be happy to help!

Here are a few things to ask about:

  • What foods do you recommend?
  • Are ferrets prone to any illnesses?
  • Do you have any tips for litter box training?
  • How can I keep my new pet healthy and happy?
  • Do ferrets get along with cats, dogs and other pets?

Give Your Furry Friend a Warm Welcome

Here at Pet Supermarket, we believe every animal deserves a forever home — and by bringing a new ferret into your furry family, you’re providing a lifetime of love and happiness. Lucky for you, that love is reciprocated tenfold!

If you want to show your new ferret a particularly warm welcome, we’re here to help. Visit your local Pet Supermarket to explore our small animal supplies, habitats, food and snacks, toys and more. 

Enjoy a Summer Free of Fleas & Ticks

With the right knowledge and a few tricks up your sleeve, you can say goodbye to fleas and ticks for good.

Sign Up Today!

Being a part of our fur-mily has its benefits. Shop for your pet's favorite products and earn rewards on every purchase! Sign up. Earn Points. Get Rewards.

Try Our Self-Serve Dog Wash

Get your pet squeaky clean in no time with our self-service dog wash. Choose from a standard wash, a standard wash + blueberry facial, or a premium wash featuring Skout’s Honor.