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Posted on 02-27-2012

I have three "fur babies" that call my house home. They are energetic, curious, and affectionate. Wolverine is a big snuggler and loves to cuddle. Sable and Fabreeze will both give kisses but watch out for your rings (the pretty shiny things are fun to chew). The following information is just an overview of some of the care that goes into owning a ferret. They are a lot of work, but it is well worth theiStock_000000370521Small_ferret_1.jpg time.

Ferrets average lifespan is 5-7 years. However, they can (with the right veterinary  care, diet, exercise, and love) live up to 14 years! Ferrets are strict carnivores. The should never be fed carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, or grains. They have a very short GI tract and because of this, are unable to digest the protein and fiber found in these foods. Keep in mind that just like other pets, ferrets should never be given sweets or other "junk" foods. If you choose to give treats, then make sure you stick with meat based one's.

Most of us know that our cats and dogs need to see a veterinarian but what you may not know is that our other "furry" friends do as well. As with any pet, early detection is key. Ferrets need yearly visits for their first two years but after two they should be seen twice a year. They can start to develop any number of problems after this age. Routine vaccines are also needed to keep your ferret healthy. It is recommend that rabies and the ferret distemper vaccine be started when you ferret is 10 weeks of age. Fleas are also a problem we need to worry about with our ferret and that is why we at Eagle Animal Hospital recommend Revolution.

Ferrets should be allowed to exercise (out of their cage) in a supervised, ferret-proofed exercise area a minimum of 2 hours a day. Time out of their cage is needed to develop strong bones, muscles, and is also important for their mental health. Play time can also be a great time to bond with your furry friend. There are many types of exercise pens available that are large enough to accommodate both you and your pet. Ferrets love to burrow and tunnel type toys are great for that. Mailing tubes, paper bags, or even PVC piping can give your inquisitive friend hours of enjoyment. Stay away from toys that can be swallowed or easily pulled apart.

FERRETS_001_1_1.jpgCages should be made of waterproof material that is easy to clean. Multilevel ferret homes are great because it will give your ferret extra space. Always keep in mind that the ramps are not too steep. A steep ramp is harder to climb and may cause injury from falling. Ferrets love to sleep in and under almost anything. A sleeping area can be as simple as an old shirt or towel. Other options are tubes, tents, or hammocks found in pet stores. Ferrets can be litter box trained but it is best to start when they are young. Ferrets like to have their "bathrooms" in corners. Corner litter boxes that have high backs and are low in the front are great for this and can be found at most pet stores.

My family has had many hours of enjoyment watching our three ferrets play. They are a small pocket pet that is inquisitive and interacts well with people, other pets, and one another. If you are considering owning a lovable ferret we would be happy to educate you regarding the care and feeding of your new pet. Just call our friendly staff at Eagle Animal Hospital and make an appointment. Our number is 610-458-8789. We serve Chester Springs, Exton, Glenmoore, Downingtown, and Phoenixville.

Written by Harriet Band, Head Receptionist

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