Ferrets For Dummies
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When you decide on a ferret as a pet, know how to find a reputable breeder and recognize the signs of a healthy and happy ferret. When someone is looking after your ferret, leave all essential information for the pet sitter and make sure your first-aid kit is stocked with all of the items your ferret might need.

ferret puppy © Jagodka / Shutterstock.com

How to find a reputable ferret breeder

Good ferret breeders should be pleasant, honest, and direct with you about the responsibilities of having a ferret as a pet. They don’t want to give their ferrets to just anybody. As you research ferret breeders, use this list as a guide for finding a good breeder:

  • Try to get references from people who’ve bought kits from the breeder, and be sure to check those references. If a breeder won’t give you references, beware.
  • If geographically feasible, travel to see the breeder’s facility to get a sense of how the ferrets are kept. Also, you don’t want to buy a ferret sight unseen!
  • Ask the breeder about his motivation for breeding ferrets. A good breeder might say that he or she is breeding ferrets to improve the species’ temperament and health.
  • Ask the breeder about vaccinations and vet schedules and any illnesses he has encountered with the ferrets in his ferretry. Make sure, if you purchase a kit, that you get a written health guarantee from the breeder. An adoption (or purchase) contract should be available for you to see ahead of time.
  • A good breeder will offer after-sales support. Ask if the breeder is willing to chat with you when you call with a question regarding your newly purchased baby.
  • Ask about what happens if the ferret doesn’t work out for you. Will the breeder take the ferret back? A responsible breeder will do this.

Signs of a healthy ferret

When choosing a ferret as a pet, it’s very important to find a healthy and happy one to bring into your home. This list shows you things to look for when shopping for your new fuzzy family member:

  • Fur is soft and shiny, and there are no patches of missing fur.
  • Eyes are clear and bright.
  • Eyes, ears, and nose are free from any discharge.
  • Underside of the ferret is clean and healthy looking and has no signs of diarrhea.
  • The ferret is inquisitive when you approach and may be jumpy and playful. He does not cower or run to a hiding place.

Information for your ferret sitter

Whether you leave your ferret in the capable hands of a pet sitter or you use a boarding facility, this list explains the information you need to provide for your ferret’s caregiver:

  • The phone number where you can be reached and the name of the people you’re staying with
  • An emergency phone number (or two) of someone close to home, such as a friend or relative
  • Your veterinarian’s phone number and address
  • The emergency clinic’s phone number and address
  • A supply of necessary medication and instructions on how to medicate your ferret
  • Written description of each ferret and each ferret’s personality (attach a photo next to each description to be extra helpful)
  • A list of do’s and don’ts
  • An adequate supply of food
  • Written instructions on feeding
  • Instructions on how to clean up after your ferrets, supervise safe playtime, and watch for signs of illness or injury

Ferret first aid kit items

It’s essential to keep a first-aid kit handy that is made especially for your ferret. Be ready for any ferret emergency by including all of the following things in your ferret first-aid kit—and don’t forget to replace used items:

Adhesive bandage tape Prescription feline a/d Pediatric Liquid Benadryl
Antibiotic ointment Gauze pads Pen light
Baby wipes Gauze wrap Petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline)
Bene-Bac Hairball preventative (Petromalt or Laxatone) Pill crusher
Betadine solution Health records Rabies certificates
Can of prescription feline A/D Heating pad Rectal thermometer
Can of strawberry or vanilla Ensure Hydrogen peroxide Rubber or latex gloves
Salmon oil Ice pack Scissors
Chemical heating pack (portable heat for the young or sick ferret) Chlorhexidine Small plastic atomizer
Chicken or lamb baby food Pepcid Styptic powder or bee’s wax
Cotton balls and cotton swabs Light Karo syrup or NutriCal Tongue depressors
Desitin List of any medications your ferret is currently taking Tweezers
Ear cleanser Nail clippers Washcloths
Eye wash/rinse Unflavored Pedialyte Vet Wrap

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Kim Schilling is the founder of Animals for Awareness, a non-profit USDA licensed sanctuary dedicated to the needs of exotic and wild animals. When she discovered domesticated ferrets some 30 years ago, she never looked back. Kim wrote both previous editions of this book and has shared her home with as many as 20 ferrets at once.

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