Are Ferrets Good Pets And What To Consider Before Getting One

Ferrets are carnivore polecats belonging to the mustelid family and are playful, curious, and active pets. Ferrets are considered exotic pets due to their long, slim body and pointed face.

Though they have been domesticated for over 2,500 years, they are still not commonly kept as pets. In the United States, ferrets are legal in most states, but some have regulations on their ownership.

If you're thinking about getting a ferret, you should consider a few things first. In this article, we'll discuss whether or not ferrets make good pets and what you should know before getting one.

Is Getting A Ferret A Good Idea?

Getting a ferret is not a decision to be made lightly. They are high-energy animals that require a lot of time and attention. Ferrets are also "escape artists," so they need to be kept in a secure home.

Ferrets are also very social animals. They don't do very well when kept alone and require the company of humans or other animals. If you work full time or often stay away from home, a ferret is not the right choice for you.

However, they can make excellent pets if you are a true animal lover and have the time to commit to your pet. Ferrets are not common like other pets such as dogs and cats, but according to Clinical Anatomy and Physiology of Exotic Species, they are often kept as exotic pets in countries like America, Australia, Britain, Europe, New Zealand, and Japan.

Are Ferrets Easy To Take Care of?

If you consider caring for a dog or a cat too much work, then a ferret is not the right pet for you. Ferrets require much time and attention, just like any other pet. They also have special needs, such as a diet rich in protein and fat and plenty of space to run and play.

While caring for pet ferrets, ferret proofing is also important. This means ensuring your home is safe for a ferret, as they are escape artists who can squeeze into small spaces.

They also need routine veterinary care, such as vaccinations and check-ups. Ferrets are also prone to several health problems, such as Rabies and Distemper, as stated by NIH in their review article Vaccination of Ferrets for Rabies and Distemper. So you'll need to be prepared for unexpected vet bills.

Before you get a ferret, be sure to do your research and learn everything you can about them. This will help you decide if a ferret is the right pet for you.

Did You Know? Having a pet is a great way to fight off depression and loneliness. If you want to know more about depression, we have discussed it in Depression Explained.

According to a study of People's Mental Health and Pets, pets have been known to improve mental health by providing companionship and increasing feelings of self-worth and purpose.

So, if you're considering getting a ferret, not only will you be adding a new member to your family, but you'll also be improving your mental health.

How Long Do Ferrets Live?

Ferrets posing for camera in Are Ferrets Good Pets?

According to a review cited in the National Library of Medicine, Ferrets typically live for 5 to 11 years, but some may live longer with proper care. According to that report, ferrets usually fall ill for about 3 to 4 years at their old age with diseases including endocrinopathies, gastrointestinal diseases, neoplasia, cardiomyopathy, renal diseases, splenomegaly, dental diseases, and cataract.

They generally die after the onset of geriatric diseases. Therefore, knowing these diseases and taking care of them at an early stage is crucial to extending their lifespan.

What Do Ferrets Eat?

Ferret running in Are Ferrets Good Pets?

As stated in Ferret nutrition in NIH, ferrets are obligate carnivores and need a diet that is rich in protein and fat. A good ferret diet consists of:

  • Raw meat
  • Bones
  • Organ meats
  • Commercial ferret food
  • Ferret supplements

high-quality diet with much protein and fat is essential for a ferret's health. Pet ferrets can also eat cat food in moderate amounts, but cat food should not be the only thing they eat. If you want to feed your pet with cat food, we recommend trying our Best Pet Food Express Cat Food.

How Much Space Do Ferrets Need?

Ferret hunting in Are Ferrets Good Pets?

Ferrets are very active pets and need a lot of space to run and play. A ferret-proofed room or large cage is essential for their health and wellbeing.

Since they are escape artists, they must be housed in a secured cage when left alone or unsupervised. The minimum ferret cage size is 24" x 24" x 18" high (60 x 60 x 45 cm). The cage must be adequately ventilated.

Tip: If it is hard to find a ferret cage, you can use a small dog crate for this purpose. Just be sure that the crate has small bars and a solid base so that your ferret can't escape. Check out our review of The Best Quality Small Dog Crates to buy one online.

How Many Ferrets Can You Have?

Ferrets are not solitary animals and do not do well when left alone. They need to be around people or other animals. For this reason, it's best to have more than one ferret.

Ferrets As Pets Pros And Cons

If you hope to buy a ferret as your new pet, you should know that this decision has pros and cons. Here are some key aspects to consider:

PROS

  • Ferrets are small and cute
Ferret Posing in Are Ferrets Good Pets?

Anyone who owns a ferret knows they are incredibly cute creatures. With their long, slim bodies and fluffy tails, ferrets have a unique look that is sure to melt any heart.

They are also small in size, making them easy to carry around and take with you on trips. The size of an adult ferret is typically between 15 and 16 inches long. Male ferrets are usually larger than female ferrets. So, a ferret is certainly a good option if you would like a cute, small animal as your pet.

  • Ferrets are playful creatures

In addition to being cute, ferrets are also very playful. Ferrets love playing with their toys and often try to hide them from you. This playful nature can make them great companions, as they will always be up for a game.

  • Ferrets are social animals
Four ferrets next to each other in Are Ferrets Good Pets?

Ferrets are social creatures, as stated in Ferret Behavior Medicine in NIH, and need to be around people or other ferrets. They do not do well when left alone and can become depressed. For this reason, it's best to have at least two ferrets.

Although ferrets love playing with other ferrets, they still need love and affection from their owners, which makes them good pets. So, if you love being with your pet all the time, ferrets can be great pets.

  • Ferrets are Intelligent and have distinct personalities
Ferret yawning in Are Ferrets Good Pets?

Like dogs, ferrets are very intelligent animals, each with a distinct personality. You will never be bored with your ferret as they will always be doing something new. Ferrets are also quick learners and can be trained to perform tricks like dogs and cats.

  • Ferrets are relatively easy to care for

Ferrets do not require a lot of exercise and can be litter trained relatively easily. Ferrets also do not need to be bathed often and only require a few hours of playtime each day.

CONS

  • Ferrets have a strong odor

One of the biggest drawbacks of keeping a ferret is its very strong odor. This is due to their high levels of testosterone and their natural oils. The smell can be overpowering and difficult to remove from your home.

Ferrets are also known to mark their territory with urine, which can worsen the smell. Many owners complain that the smell of their ferret's cage is so strong that it can be difficult even to enter the room.

So, if you are sensitive to strong odors or do not like the idea of your home smelling like a ferret, this may not be the right pet for you.

  • Ferrets are escape artists

Ferrets are curious creatures and love to play and explore. This can often lead to them escaping from their cages or home. Ferrets are also known to be escape artists and can squeeze through very small spaces.

This means that you will need to keep a close eye on your pet ferret and ensure their cage is secure. If you are not willing to do this, then a ferret may not be the right pet.

  • Ferrets can be aggressive

Ferrets are naturally curious animals and will often play-bite as part of their play. However, some ferrets can be aggressive and may bite more often than others. This is normally due to a lack of socialization or if they feel threatened.

If you have small children or are not comfortable around animals that may bite, then a ferret is probably not the right pet for you.

  • Ferrets need a specific diet to be healthy

Ferrets have a very specific diet that they need to be healthy. This diet includes high levels of protein, fat, and some essential vitamins and minerals.

Additionally, some foods are toxic to ferrets and can make them very ill. For example, grapes, chocolate, and dairy products can all be harmful to ferrets. 

Ferrets require meat and other meaty foods in their diet, which can be expensive. If you do not want to spend the money on good quality ferret food, then a ferret is probably not the right pet for you.

  • Ferrets are not suitable for everyone

Ferrets are not suitable for everyone, and some people should not own one. This includes people who are allergic to animals, people with small children, and those who are unwilling to spare the time and effort required to care for a ferret.

Owning a ferret is a big responsibility and should not be taken lightly. If you are not sure if you are ready for the commitment, then it is best to wait until you are sure before getting a ferret.

What Do I Need To Know Before Getting A Ferret?

Now that you understand the pros and cons of owning a ferret, you must decide if this is the correct pet for you.

If you've determined that a ferret is an ideal pet for you, there are a few things you should know before getting one.

  • Ferrets need annual veterinarian visits

Like every other pet, ferrets have their own set of health concerns that require veterinary care. Ferrets are prone to diseases such as rabies, Ferret systemic coronaviral disease (FSCD), Scabies, Gastrointestinal stasis, and more. 

As stated in NIH, ferrets are prone to Zoonotic diseases, Viral Diseases, Fungal Diseases, Skin Diseases as well as Respiratory Disorders.

To help prevent these diseases, take your ferret to the vet at least once a year for check-ups and vaccinations.

  • Ferrets are also required to be spayed or neutered

All ferrets must be spayed or neutered before they can go home with you. This is because ferrets can reproduce very quickly and easily, which can lead to an overpopulation problem.

Spaying or neutering your ferret will also help reduce aggression and make them better pets overall.

  • Ferrets need a lot of exercises

Ferrets are very active creatures and need a lot of exercises. They should have at least four hours of playtime outside of their cage every day.

You can let them run around your house or yard or take them to a ferret-friendly park.

  • Ferrets also need to be trained

Like any other pet, ferrets need to be trained. They need to learn how to use a litter box and how not to bite.

Ferrets are intelligent creatures and can be trained relatively easily. However, it will take time and patience to do so.

  • The costs of owning a ferret can be high

The upfront cost of buying a ferret can be relatively cheap, depending on where you get it from. However, the ongoing costs of owning a ferret can be expensive.

This is because they require a lot of exercises, a good quality diet, and annual vet visits. If you are unwilling to lose money on these things, a ferret is probably not the best pet for you.

Tip: If you want a low-cost pet, you might consider having a betta in a fish bowl, which can be bought for around $20. If you plan to buy one, check out the Best Fish Bowls we have reviewed in our blog.

Conclusion

So, are ferrets good pets? Ferrets can make great pets for the right person. They are intelligent, playful, and can be trained relatively easily. However, they are not suitable for everyone.

Before getting a ferret, you need to consider the pros and cons of ownership and the costs. If you are prepared for the commitment, a ferret could be the right pet.

FAQ

Do Ferrets Need To Be In Pairs?

No, ferrets do not need to be in pairs. However, they are social creatures and do best when they have another ferret to play with.

Can A Ferret Sleep With You?

Yes, a ferret can sleep with you. However, it is important to ensure your bedroom is ferret-proofed first. This involves keeping any electrical cables out of reach and removing anything fragile or dangerous from the area.

How Much Does A Ferret Cost A Month?

The cost of owning a ferret varies depending on your country. In the United States, the average cost is around $50 to $100 per month. This includes the expense of food, litter, toys, and vet costs.

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