So you have your ferret - now it is time to learn all about the proper care and health requirements they have. Following are some key points regarding the basic needs of a ferret:
- Find a veterinarian who regularly sees ferrets - they will be your first resource when it comes to your ferret. There are many websites that can help you find a vet that treats ferrets, a link to one listing can be found on the American Ferret Association's website, www.ferret.org.
- Annual exams are very important. Every ferret should have an annual exam so your vet can become familiar with your ferret and your ferret's normal physique and vital signs. This way, if your ferret is sick, he/she will be able to make a more educated diagnosis.
- Vaccines for Canine Distemper and Rabies should be given yearly. Both diseases are deadly to ferrets.
- Hairballs happen, more so during shedding season, which is twice a year (spring and fall). Prevent hairballs by giving a weekly dose of laxative that is safe for cats.
- Ear cleaning should be performed weekly using a vet-recommended solution and cotton balls or swabs. If neglected, a waxy buildup will develop, which makes for smelly ears and an uncomfortable ferret.
- Toenails must be clipped at least once every two weeks. If they get too long, it is difficult to walk and they might get caught and torn off. Cut them so they are parallel to the floor when walking; be sure not to cut into the quick, the pink vein that runs through the toenail. You should have styptic powder on hand in case this happens. An easy method for ferret cooperation is to put a treat like Ferretone on his belly; he will be too busy licking it off to notice you're clipping his nails!
- Heat is not good for your ferret - make sure his living area is kept cool and comfortable, ferrets can quickly develop heatstroke. If you don't have air conditioning, make sure that his cage is not in direct sunlight and make sure he has plenty to drink.
These easy tips should start you out in the right direction in the basic care of your ferret!