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When it comes to exotic pets like ferrets, there are many things to keep in mind.  Ferrets can be quite different from cats and dogs, so use our tips to take the best care of your new pet.

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When it comes to exotic pets like ferrets, there are many things to keep in mind. Ferrets can be quite different from cats and dogs, so use our tips to take the best care of your new pet.

Keeping Your Exotic Pet Healthy: Ferrets

By North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association

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Editor's note: Tips from the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association are published Tuesdays on reflector.com.

When it comes to exotic pets like ferrets, there are many things to keep in mind.  Ferrets can be quite different from cats and dogs, so use our tips to take the best care of your new pet.  

If you have children, remember that ferrets are known to bite if they are handled too roughly.  Temperaments vary among ferrets, so always supervise your children when they are playing with the animal.  

Allergies must be considered as well. Ferrets have dander just like dogs and cats, so if you’re allergic to these pets, there is a good chance you are allergic to ferrets.  

Housing

Ferrets should be kept in cages – two-level cages are recommended.  Look for cages specifically designed for ferrets, since mesh flooring is bad for their feet.  The larger the cage, the more sleeping areas they will need.  Purchase two hammocks per ferret.  Feline pine litter or old newspapers work best, because cat litter can get in their eyes.  

Ferrets are very social creatures, and unless you have time to keep the ferret out of his/her cage longer than the ferret is in the cage, you should consider purchasing another ferret to keep it company.  Most of the time, ferrets will get along with each other.  Introduce them to each other in a supervised environment until they get acclimated to each other.  Make sure they have plenty of hammocks so they don’t have to sleep with each other. Even taking these steps, there are times when some ferrets just don’t get along and will have to have separate cages.

Always supervise your ferrets during playtime, because they can get into very small spaces and chew on wires.

Hygiene
 
General daily, weekly and monthly care is required to maintain hygiene and a healthy environment for both owner and pet.  Plan on changing its litter box twice a day, and provide fresh food and water daily.  

Ferrets are very smelly animals because they release a musky oil from glands on their body. Bathing once a month is fine, but bathing too frequently will cause the glands to release more oil, which can cause the ferrets to have blocked pores and smell worse.  Nails need to be trimmed at least twice a month to keep them from getting their nails snagged in their bedding.  

Their cage needs to be taken apart once monthly and thoroughly cleaned.  Use soap and water to clean the cage and avoid using any harsh chemicals.

Common Problems

Diseases most common in ferrets include diseases of the adrenal gland, severe inflammation of the stomach and intestines, intestinal obstruction or blockage in the stomach, heatstroke and dehydration, adrenal and pancreatic tumors, heart failure, aleutian disease, bronchial pneumonia, viral infections (human influenza), and cancer.  

If your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms, seek the advice of your veterinarian:  diarrhea, vomiting, hair loss, lethargy, decreased appetite, green or black stool, and weight loss.

Visit your veterinarian to discuss which vaccines your new ferret will need.  They can provide you with a detailed care and vaccination plan to keep your pet healthy.  

The North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA) is a professional organization of veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine.  For more information, visit  www.ncvma.org, follow us on Twitter at @NCVMA, or call 800-446-2862 or 919-851-5850.


For the complete article, please pick up a copy of The Daily Reflector. Current home delivery and electronic edition subscribers may log in to access this article at no charge. To become a subscriber, please click here or contact Customer Service at (252) 329-9505.

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Ferrets have become quite

Ferrets have become quite common among pet lovers, but like you've said, they need special attention and care. Beside all these, they are wild animals, so you'll probably need to take them to a specialized trainer. Now you understand why dogs are still prefer by so many people. With a little home training and a trip to the dog grooming denver center, your furry friend will be as adorable as any other pet. Regardless of trends, we should always choose a pet that completes us.

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