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The Ferret

Ferrets are playful, mischievous, entertaining little animals who can bring endless enjoyment to a family. They are cuddly, interactive, spunky pets that can be great for owners who have time to take them out of their cages every day and play with them. Ferrets are social and many ferret owners choose to have multiple ferrets to help meet this social need.

Nails

Clipping your ferret’s nails is also a simple, yet important step in keeping your ferret healthy. The best way to do this, is to distract your ferret with a tasty little treat, like rubbing a little bit of Furo Vite or Furo Tone on its tummy so he can lick it while you clip his nails. You may find it easier to have another person helping you. We recommend having a styptic pen or powder on hand to stop bleeding if it occurs.

Fur

Keeping a ferret’s coat shiny and smooth is relatively simple since ferrets naturally have an oily coat. The key is to not over cleanse your ferret – that could lead to dryness, itching and a dull coat. Realistically, ferrets only need shampooing once a month. Over-bathing strips the coat of essential oils and can actually cause a ferret’s musky odor to increase! Brushing your ferret’s coat is important, not only because it makes the coat brilliant and glossy, but it also aids in the prevention of hairballs by removing loose fur. This is especially important during shedding season. Ferrets do not cough up hairballs like cats and they are prone to getting hairballs; so always keep some Lax or petrolatum on hand to help those hairballs move through their system smoothly.

Ears/Ear Mites

Although we wouldn’t call ferrets a high-maintenance pet, they do require some special care to keep them in tip-top shape. For example, a ferret’s ears are prone to ear-mites and infection, especially in warmer temperatures. They are preventatively treated before they leave our farm. We suggest using Tresaderm. Before using Tresaderm you will need to apply Marshall Ear Cleaner for ferrets to get rid of the wax. Put some of the cleaner in the ear and massage. Let it sit for a minute. The ferret will probably shake his head and the wax will come out. Use a soft cloth to gently clean the rest of the wax out. A ferret’s ear canal is L-shaped so you won’t hit the eardrum, just the vertical part of the canal. After the wax is cleaned out, put the Tresaderm in every day for a week to 10 days.

A ferret doesn’t need to go outside to contract ear mites — they can be transmitted from other pets or bedding.If you notice your ferret is scratching his ears a lot or that he has little specks of black “dirt” in his ears, this may be due to ear mites. A vet visit is recommended for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • All Marshall ferrets are fully vaccinated for Distemper and need a rabies vaccine after 12 weeks of age.
  • Ferrets, especially babies, are susceptible to upper respiratory infections so it is extremely important to shield your ferret from sick humans or other sick pets. Prevention is key, but if your ferret contracts a cold or the flu, you will notice sneezing and you may see a nasal discharge. Cleaning your ferret’s nose is a good step since ferrets have a hard time breathing with URIs. In addition, make sure your ferret is well hydrated – solutions like Duk Soup are particularly helpful and soothing. Your ferret, like a sick child, should start to get better in a few days. If that isn’t the case, you should take him to a veterinarian, because he may need antibiotics.
  • Ferrets could develop upper respiratory infections and/or influenza that are related to stress and introduction to a new environment, both of which can be transmitted through human contact. If the ferret is sneezing, pay close attention to the color of mucus and check to see if its eyes are clear. Certain types of litter can cause sneezing. We recommend Marshall Recycled Newspaper Pellet Litter. If the discharge is yellow or green, it may be time to take your ferret to a vet.  A vet will often treat with an antibiotic for the infection. Using Marshall Ferret Rx for congestion along with the antibiotic is an effective treatment. A very wet (soupy consistency) of Marshall Premium Ferret Diet should be given. Mixing in Marshall Furo-Vite high-calorie vitamin supplement is a great way to build up ferret health after stress experienced during shipping. Also make sure to keep the ferret hydrated by adding Pedialyte to the water.
  • Ferrets will benefit from annual veterinary care and monitoring.  Schedule your ferret rabies vaccines shortly after acquiring your pet ferret and have a well-check performed by the vet at the same time.

 

Ferrets are very different than other domestic animals when it comes to dietary needs. They require a much higher protein diet than a cat, for example. That is why it’s extremely important to feed ferrets food that is specifically formulated for them. Marshall Premium Ferret Diet is the optimal ferret food – high in fresh meat proteins and omega 3s, plus it’s one of the easiest diets for ferrets to digest.

Ferrets are considered free-feeding animals, which simply means that they should always have fresh food and water available to them. This is due to the fact that ferrets have an extremely fast metabolism and digest their food every two hours. It also means that they use the litter pan more frequently than other pets, so fresh litter is a must.

It is important to sufficiently moisten the diet for young ferrets (6-11 weeks of age).
• Mix three parts warm fresh water to one part Marshall Premium Ferret Diet (3:1 ratio).
• Allow the mixture to sit 3 -5 minutes.
• Add more Marshall Premium Ferret Diet or water until it reaches a wet oatmeal consistency.

If you’re feeding your ferrets a protein-rich diet such as Marshall Premium Ferret Diet, they are getting a majority of the nutrients they need, but it’s always good to use a daily supplement for optimal health and well being. Supplements help maintain a shiny coat and prevent dry skin as well as boosting immunity. High calorie supplements, such as Furo Vite are particularly helpful when a ferret is recovering from illness and needs to gain weight.

Cat Foods and Treats are not recommended!

A ferret’s digestive tract is much shorter than a cat’s, which results in rapid food passage. A cat’s digestion is approximately 5 hours, where a ferret’s is closer to 2 hours. Because of this, many cat foods don’t have ample time to break down in a ferrets system and valuable nutrients are lost.

Ferrets require high amounts of meat protein and fat. Many ferret and cat diets use meals and grains to substitute for meat-based protein. Ferrets that are fed the Marshall food will normally eat less and receive more nutritional value than other cat and ferret diets.

Ferrets are very curious animals with an instinct that drives them to burrow, dig, and chew.  Baby ferrets will have a higher level of liveliness and will potentially get into more trouble if they are not supervised.  We do not advise ferrets be allowed to roam free in a room without supervision.

Ferrets need a lot of exercise and providing for this need will help prevent them from becoming obese.

Ferrets are also highly social. This is an animal that will enjoy cohabitating with others of its own kind and having a friend (or two!) will keep the ferret more mentally stimulated compared to one that lives solo.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Petland carries ferrets from Marshall Farms.  These ferrets are raised on a diet formulated by this breeder and it should be continued at home.

Ferrets of all ages need to have Marshall Premium Ferret Diet and fresh water available at all times. It is important to sufficiently moisten the diet for young ferrets (6-11 weeks of age).
• Mix three parts warm fresh water to one part Marshall Premium Ferret Diet (3:1 ratio).
• Allow the mixture to sit 3 -5 minutes.
• Add more Marshall Premium Ferret Diet or water until it reaches a wet oatmeal consistency.

Keep some dry Marshall Premium Ferret Diet available at this age, so your ferret will adjust to a completely dry diet by the time it is 12 – 13 weeks of age. Slowly, convert to dry food only. Marshall Premium Ferret Diet is the food that Marshall Ferrets are raised on and it is highly recommended for maintaining good health.

The short answer is yes. If you’re feeding your ferrets a protein-rich diet such as Marshall Premium Ferret Diet, they are getting a majority of the nutrients they need, but it’s always good to use a daily supplement for optimal health and well being. Supplements help maintain a shiny coat and prevent dry skin as well as boosting immunity. High calorie supplements, such as Furo Vite are particularly helpful when a ferret is recovering from illness and needs to gain weight.

We recommend treats that have little or no sugar and are protein-based. Safe and natural treats, such as Bandits treats are a great option and they come in different flavors to appeal to a wide range of tastes.

A ferret’s digestive tract is much shorter than a cat’s, which results in rapid food passage. A cat’s digestion is approximately 5 hours, where a ferret’s is closer to 2 hours. Because of this, many cat foods don’t have ample time to break down in a ferrets system and valuable nutrients are lost.

Ferrets require high amounts of meat protein and fat. Many ferret and cat diets use meals and grains to substitute for meat-based protein. Ferrets that are fed the Marshall food will normally eat less and receive more nutritional value than other cat and ferret diets.

We don’t feed dog food to cats or rabbit food to dogs, so why feed cat food to a ferret?

Ferrets are considered free-feeding animals, which simply means that they should always have fresh food and water available to them. This is due to the fact that ferrets have an extremely fast metabolism and digest their food every two hours. It also means that they use the litter pan more frequently than other pets, so fresh litter is a must.

Although your ferret has already been de-scented, you may still notice a slightly musky odor. You can minimize the odor by following a few simple rules:

  • Keep the cage and litter pan clean
  • Add Marshall Goodbye Odor to ferret’s food or water daily – this is a safe and natural product that works inside the ferret’s digestive tract to eliminate body and waste odors
  • A few pumps a day, in their food or water, will reduce their odor from the inside out
  • Shampoo and condition your ferret as needed

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