How To Take Care of a Ferret?

Few very lucky people have the opportunity to house a ferret and be loved and accepted by them. While these beautiful small creatures from the weasel family have gained an unfavorable image due to their reserved nature, the reality of their behavior is quite the opposite.

Since ferrets have just started gaining popularity within pet lovers, not many people are aware on how to take care of a ferret the same way they know what makes a dog or a cat happy. Although, they are anatomically similar to these traditional pets!

We were inspired by this lack of information on what to feed, how to bathe, and what supplies to get for a ferret – to bring you a detailed article on steps and tips of how to take care of a Ferret:


How to Take Care of a Ferret

Ferrets are mischievous, intelligent, and adjust really well with certain families. I am assuming you are looking to adopt (don’t buy!) a Ferret and thus, rummaging the internet on care tips for these little buddies. Therefore, it is important to have your basics clear first!

Take Care of Ferrets

Who are Ferrets? Their Life Span and Biology

There lovable and smart animals are originally from the family of Mustelids. These animals are primitive terrestrial carnivores and you can trace many biological similarities between these small creatures and the more popular pets like Cats and Dogs. A male ferret is called a hob, and the female – jill. They have a small built, with short limbs and nose to allow them mobility even within confined spaces.

Ferrets generally live to be around five to nine years. Male ferrets will be observed to have a larger built than female ferrets. It is believed that ferrets go through around 30 to 40% body weight fluctuation which primarily influenced by Seasonal changes. Another quick biological fact about this species is that they do not have sweat glands. Due to this function (or lack of it), ferrets turn toward panting and other behaviors to regulate their body temperature and prevent overheating.

What is Ferret Behavior Like?

It is important to note that ferrets have been wrongfully associated with behaviors of aggression and introversion. Ferrets are docile creatures and they can blend in with their pet owners really well. They are extremely intelligent, and fun-loving animals. They are agile, and also love spending time in burrow-like setups. You need to handle them frequently when they’re young, to help them grow comfortable with human contact and interaction.

It is almost ironic, but these agile and active beings prefer spending more than half of their day sleeping. They love lounging and drifting off in compact, dark, and enclosed areas – mostly in a burrow-like space. You will have to choose a very similar bedding used for hamsters, cavies, and rabbits for your ferret to support this experience.

Ferrets can easily be kept along with each other without fearing aggressive breakouts. Especially, if they have been provided with enough space for each one of them to have privacy in. They are also known to making an array of noises ranging from hissing to chuckling while they’re playing, or screaming when they’re frightened or aggressive.

How to Choose Ferret Housing and Bedding?

These cuddly friends of ours have a peculiar smell, therefore, they need to be allotted secluded spaces to prevent throwing off your other pets or family members. Make sure to choose a spot in the house that is isolated, but also one from where you can keep a tab on them. Their housing needs to have ample of space, with enough leg-room to explore, forage, and rest. Some spaces in the house must be designated as poop, burrow, and food areas and make sure they are not in close proximity to each other.

Ferrets are clean animals, and they will usually look for a wall against which they can expel. It is easy to train them to use a litter tray, just like a cat. Making it easier for you to clean their pans. Coming to pans, they need to be cleaned at least once a week along with their food and water containers to eliminate odor, and contamination and avoid causing any infections to your little pet.

You can provide your ferret with some climbing space as they love exploring around. Your ferret will also need a hidden space to help them regulate their emotions after a long day of stimulation. Without a hidden space, ferrets tend to develop anxiousness and uneasiness and cause long-term mental health difficulties.

What is the Ideal Nutrition for Ferrets?

As we have already established on how little information there is on Ferret Care, nutritional needs and requirements have not been extensively studied as well. However, we do have some basics clear. For instance, they have a typical carnivore digestive system, strong jaws, and canine teeth to chomp on meaty goodness. Their bodies need a lot of protein, and therefore, it should make up more than 30% of their diet. Lack of protein can stunt their bodily growth and disturb reproductive functions.

Their diets need to be exempted from unnecessary carbs and starches which can have a deteriorating effect on their well-being. Diets like these can decrease the absorption of essential proteins and fats, increasing their body weight and burdening them with health issues. Digesting a fiber-rich diet can also have negative implications on their system.

Ferrets tend to consume small meals multiple times throughout the day. On a regular day, these little guys can go up to devouring around 10 small meals. Regulating their food intake with high-nutrition and minimal fillers will need a lot of your attention. Remember to always keep a fresh bowl of water accessible to your ferret at all times of the day to avoid dehydration.

How to tell if your ferret is happy and healthy?

There are a few tell-tell signs that confirm how your ferret is growing and feeling. It is important to monitor your pet ferret’s routine behaviors and habits and try to spot inconsistencies – if any. Here are a couple of ways you can check on your ferret’s well-being. In case of any abnormalities, consult a veterinarian:

Check their fur and skin

Ferrets generally have gorgeous and dense fur. However, there are certain skin disorders you must keep an eye out for to judge their health. If your ferret’s skin turns flaky and dry, it is a high possibility that their body is lacking moisture and oils. This issue can arise due to two main reasons – over bathing or poor diet.

Inspect your ferret’s teeth every day

It is common for owners to overlook dental issues in a pet ferret. Ferret teeth can develop tartar and plague, which when ignored, may cause severe oral infections and bring down your pet’s health. Consult your vet on the best way to go about cleaning your pet’s tooth and gums. Another possible issue can be the loss of teeth. Now although baby ferrets go through this as a normal biological function, if this happens to your older hub or jill make sure to see a veterinarian.

Observe their eating habits

Ferret appetites show some very early signs of any bodily complications. If your ferret has stopped or reduced eating, or have started to lose a lot of weight – you must take them to their vet the next hour. Disorders like anorexia and dysphagia could be orchestrating these changes and these symptoms should not be avoided.

Keep a tab on their behavior

Ferrets tend to sleep a lot, but when they’re awake they should be playful and active. If you see signs of your pet being aggressive and inactive throughout the day, it is best to check with a vet as soon as possible. Lethargy and hostility are both signs your ferret is not in their best shape. He or she could be irritated with any internal or external source which can likely be dangerous if left unchecked on the grounds of mischief.

Routine Care of Ferrets

When you decide to bring home any pet as a companion for yourself, there will be a pile of responsibilities waiting on you as well. We have tried to narrow-down and mention some of the most important care routines for your ferret:


Without a doubt, this could possibly be one of the vital aspects of taking care of your ferret. Make sure to regularly bathe them in order to avoid any unforeseen skin or fur infection. You can give your ferret a rinse with an appropriate shampoo followed by ferret-specific conditioner. Ensure that you do not over-bathe your ferret as that can strip their skin of vital oils, and turn their skin into a dry desert.

Neutering and Contraception

Female ferrets or Jills come into season (oestrus) between the months of March to September. This cycle sometimes continues until they are mated, this can cause anemia or blood loss and may put their life to risk. There are ways you can reduce or prevent this cycle like – removal of the reproductive tract, mating with an uncastrated male, hormone injections, hormone implants, etc.  You can also surgically neuter jills before their first cycle.


Ferrets are creatures with a lot of energy and require a lot of exercise to channelize the same. You will be required to leave your little pet out of their cafe for at least 2 to 4 hours a day (in a playpen). It is also effective to install a wheel or exercise ball in their cage so they can release their energy as and when needed. This can prevent aggressive episodes in your little guy, and keep him happy and healthy.

Steps on cleaning a ferret cage

Cleaning your ferret’s cage or house serves to keep your ferret happy and healthy (and also to keep the stank away!). We have curated a step-wise cleaning process to sanitize your little pet’s house. Here is the list:

Scoop-out the wet and clumped litter

Use a non-tracking litter and clumping litter which can make spot-cleaning easier. You can scoop-out these hard clumps every day from your ferret’s cage.

Clean and refill the food/water bowls

You must always keep fresh food and water available for your ferrets to munch on. Every time you refill these bowls, make sure to use a mild detergent to clean them thoroughly before placing them back again in the cage.

Check your ferret’s bed

Assuming that you will or have provided a designated and clean space for your pet to burrow and lounge in, you will have to make sure to keep this place neat, clean, and fresh every time you clean their nesting area. Also, if you have provided your little guy with a hammock, to keep it sanitary.

Clean outside the cage

Ferrets are susceptible to pee or poo accidents and this can happen even if they are trained. Scan for any waste residue outside and near the cage, as well as wipe and disinfect the particular area.

Wipe and disinfect shelves

You will be going through this task every day. Whenever you take out your pet for exercise, you can spend that time in wiping off and sanitize the shelves and flat surfaces of the cafe with a mild antiseptic.

Empty the pan

You need to remove and clean the pan placed in the cage to collect the droppings of your ferret, along with any food crumbs and residue. Get your hands on a mild disinfectant for this routine task.

 Final Note

Housing a ferret does bring some responsibilities but many feelings of happiness too. This piece is going to help you understand how to care for a ferret in whatever capacity you can. Make sure to choose ferret-appropriate housing, bedding, food, and grooming products to bestow the optimal health of your ferret Also, don’t forget to shower him or her with their favorite toys! Cuddles and love from our side to your little friend.

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