TEN THINGS FERRET OWNERS SHOULD KNOW
#9: DECIDING IF YOU SHOULD GIVE YOUR FERRET
It may seem odd to find on a page about ferret ownership information
to help you decide if you should give your ferret up. However, in
this business I have seen so many examples of people who own ferrets
but probably shouldn't. Many times, the people don't even realize
that they are not good ferret owners. Additionally, many ferret
owners find this site while trying to make this decision, and we
offer this section for that reason.
home is different, and in this space I can't cover every sign that
ferret ownership isn't for you. But the following is a very general
list of things that ferrret owners should not do; if you
are guilty of even one of the following items, you either need to
change your behavior or consider giving up your ferret.
- If it would cost you serious financial strain if tomorrow your
ferret became ill and needed a $300-$400 surgery, plus follow-up
treatment. Ferrets can and do suddenly have medical emergencies
that can't wait until the end of the month for you to scrape up
some extra cash.
- If you do not have time in your day, every day, to spend interactive
time with your ferret for at least a few hours. This can be as
simple as letting your ferret out while you watch TV, do chores,
etc. (provided you can supervise your ferret at the same time).
You should still play with your ferret, cuddle him or her, and
generally let your ferret know you still love him/her. If your
ferret has ample run time daily, but doesn't get much interactive
time with you, you may want to consider getting a second ferret.
Ferrets MUST have love and attention given to them regularly.
It really doesn't matter if this attention is provided by a human
or another ferret, but be warned that if you have only one ferret,
and he is generally affectionate and loving to you, if you get
a second ferret it is likely that he will transfer those feelings
to the new ferret and become more distanced to you. However, ferrets
that are not shown some form of daily attention and love from
some source will become "lovesick" and their health
is likely to decline; the lifespan of ferrets that are not bonded
to a human or another ferret tend to be much shorter than those
that are shown love.
- If there are young children in your home that tend to "manhandle"
your ferret too much or who do not understand the proper way to
treat a ferret. The PFRA took possession of a ferret from a home
where little adult supervision was provided to the children in
the home that played with the ferret. There were reports from
the neighbors of this family that the children would take the
ferret outside and swing him by his tail or neck. They would occasionally
throw the ferret into the air, terrorizing the poor animal, and
sometimes they did not catch him when he fell. When the mother
was confronted about this behavior she denied it, but after investigating
the PFRA saw the behavior firsthand. If you have children who
are capable of this behavior, perhaps you should wait a few years
before getting another ferret.
- If you are expecting a baby and do not have any way of ensuring
that the ferret and the baby will be separated. Do not alter your
ferret's lifestyle by decreasing his or her runtime or interactive
time. The only truly safe way to have a baby and a ferret at the
same time it to have a designated "ferret room" where
your ferrets can run freely but not have access to your baby.
You will still need to have interactive time with your ferret
daily, perhaps while your baby naps. NOTE: this is not only the
case with ferrets; no pets should be allowed access to a baby
except under the strictest of supervision!
- If you do not believe that ferrets need, or are unwilling to
provide, annual distemper vaccinations or annual vet checkups.
- If you cannot properly ferretproof your home to the dangers
that ferrets may be exposed to. If you regularly find your ferret
in a potentially dangerous location, and for any reason you cannot
prevent your ferret from having access to this place, don't endanger
- If the natural mischevious behavior of ferrets causes you to
become frustrated or angry with your ferret. If you constantly
feel as though all you do is follow your ferret around and keep
him from getting into things, and this causes you to feel stressed.
Ferret ownership should be fun and enjoyable; pets are supposed
to help us relieve the daily stresses of life. If your ferret
causes you stress, you cannot properly provide love and warmth
to your pet.
- If you travel very frequently and cannot or do not take your
ferret with you.
Again, these are only a few danger signs that perhaps it is time
to surrender your ferret to a better home, or make changes in your
home and lifestyle. If you find that you are guilty of any of the
above, but still wish to keep your ferret, please contact us, and
we will offer suggestions how you are able to better take care of
your ferret. If you decide that you can no longer keep your ferrets,
please contact your local ferret shelter; they will be able to properly
care for your ferret until an excellent home is found.
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