Ferrets

Rockland is Great With Ferrets

Dr. Freedman is the vet that I go to for my kids’ ferrets.  He is a veterinarian with more than 30 years of experience.  He is not afraid to handle our ferrets and is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to their care.  Under his guidance, all our ferrets (and our two dogs!)  are healthy and annually vaccinated against distemper and rabies.  

Bill H

Ferret owners are typically obsessed with these captivating, funny, and intelligent pets.  Read on for advice on how to keep your ferret healthy and how Rockland veterinary can help.

 

History

 

Surprisingly the ferret is not a wild animal.  It has been domesticated from as long ago as 63 BC and probably goes back to the times of the ancient Egyptians.  They were referenced by a Greek author as being bred and trained in Libya to hunt rabbits and made their way to Europe for the same purpose during the Dark Ages.  They came to America on ships where they were employed as mousers.

 

Annual Vaccinations and Parasite Prevention

 

All ferrets should be vaccinated against canine distemper annually and rabies every three years.  The rabies vaccine is required by law and is critical in the off chance that your ferret bites you, a family member, or visitor to your home. We also recommend the topical application of Revolution for the prevention of fleas, mites and heartworm disease.  An annual stool sample confirms that your ferret is parasite free.  All of these ferret services are available at Rockland Veterinary.

Revolution can be safely used on ferrets. Purchase the size for cats 5 to 15 pounds.

 

Should I Spay or Neuter My Ferret?  YES!

 

Both male ferrets (called hobs) and female ferrets (called jills) must be spayed and neutered.  Females that remain sexually intact will go into a perpetual heat cycle that causes them an excess loss of blood. Typically intact females, that remain unbred, die.  Male ferrets that are left intact will develop an offensive musky odor that will be hard to eliminate from you home.  Rockland veterinarians are experienced at both spaying and neutering ferrets.  The procedure is safe and affordable.

 

Nutrition

 

Ferrets are strict carnivores and require a meat-only diet.  Select a food especially formulated for ferrets or a cat food that contains at least 36% protein and 20% fats.  Your ferret’s food should contain only a minimal amount of carbohydrates.  Do not feed vegetables, fruits, nuts or starches.  A ferret’s digestive system is not designed to break down complex carbohydrates.  As a treat, you can feed meat-based baby foods that contain no vegetables. Freeze dried meats are also fine, but steer clear of preserved jerkies and rawhides.

This is an excellent dry food for ferrets. While your ferret should be introduced to wet food and acclimated to it as a young animal, dry foods are less likely to spoil and attract diseases like Salmonella.

Health Concerns

 

Ferrets live between 6 and 10 years.  They are especially prone to G.I. issues, skin conditions and cancers.  As you handle your ferret, regularly inspect his or her eyes, ears, skin and feet and take note if they appear healthy.  Lumps, bumps and hair loss should also be noted.  If you see problems in any of these areas. use the button below to call us and book an appointment.

Accessories like these are great for inside a ferret cage. They appeal to their tunneling/denning nature.

 

Housing

 

Ferrets should have access to a clean water supply and meat based food. They are denning animals and  should have a private, dark, safe enclosure to crawl into.  Cages should be at least 18 inches long, 18 inches tall and at least 30 inches wide.  Cover the cage floor with a soft, cleanable material like linoleum or a washable piece of carpeting.  Wire cage floors can hurt your ferret’s feet.

Ferrets like ‘level’ cages such as this. Note the cleanable, solid floor that protects the ferret’s feet.

American Ferret Organization

 

Want to learn more about ferrets and interact with other ferret owners?  Visit the American Ferret Organization website!

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