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Ferret Playpens–What to Look For

Ferret Playpens--What to Look ForFerret Playpens–What to Look For

Playpens are not just for toddlers and puppies!

If you have a ferret (or 2 or 6) you know that they can get into lots of trouble when left unattended. However, it may not always be practical to keep an eye on your ferret while he is out of the cage–especially if you have more than one. Ferrets are often bored in their cage and just sleep. Or they may get determined to break out. One of my ferrets, Toby, likes to grab onto the rungs of the cage door and pull and shake it with all his might–trying to escape.

Ferrets need plenty of time out of their cages in order to be happy and healthy.

One way to provide your ferrets with playtime is to use a ferret playpen. Although a ferret playpen is not a substitution for one-on-one playtime for you and your ferret, it can add a new and fun experience for your ferret. The right playpen can provide a safe and confined area for your ferret to play, relax and nap. Ferret playpens can serve a variety of functions such as a portable, confined area when traveling and a safe way to be outdoors. Continue reading Ferret Playpens–What to Look For

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How To Trim Ferrets Nails – Step By Step Guide

How To Trim Ferrets Nails - Step By Step GuideHow To Trim Ferrets Nails – Step By Step Guide

I have been often asked how I keep my ferret’s nails so neatly cut and trimmed. 

Many ferret parents leave it to the Vet to take care of this grooming necessity. However, it’s not that difficult if you know a few tricks.

Ferrets cannot  keep their  nails at the proper length on their own. They don’t get worn down much naturally and grow quickly. If left untrimmed too long, a ferret’s nails will start to curl and grow under her paw and even into it.

When your ferret’s nails are too long, they can have tears, sharp points and ragged edges. She can easily catch them on bedding, furniture or carpets. This could break the nail, tear it, or rip it off completely. Your ferret could further injure herself from trying to free her paw.

I know of a ferret mom who found one of her ferrets dangling from her cage hammock by one nail! She caught her nail in the fabric when she tried to get out of the hammock. I can’t imagine how how much that must have hurt. She was lucky no permanent damage was done. Continue reading How To Trim Ferrets Nails – Step By Step Guide

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How to Clean Ferrets Ears Safely

How to Clean Ferret's Ears

How to Clean Ferret’s Ears Safely

Cleaning your ferret’s ears should be a regular part of caring for your ferret. To keep your ferret healthy, it is important to make sure her ears are free of debris and discharge.

A ferret’s ear wax should be red, brown, or gold colored. If you notice very dark brown or black debris or discharge, be sure to take your ferret to your Vet. Your ferret may have an ear infection or ear mites. Left untreated, these conditions can turn into severe health problems for your ferret. Continue reading How to Clean Ferrets Ears Safely

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How to Train a Ferret to Come

How to train a ferret to comeHow to Train a Ferret to Come

Can you really train a ferret to come?

You may not have thought it possible, but you can train your ferret to come when called!

This “trick” is actually very handy and could help get your ferret out of harm’s way. What if your ferret got behind the stove, crawled into an opening in the back of a cabinet you didn’t know was there or got outside? What would you do?

If you could train him to come when called it would save a lot of time and anxiety.

However, as you know, ferrets are not like dogs. You can’t expect a ferret to just come to you when you call his name just because you want him to. He has to have a really good reason. Unlike dogs, ferrets are not motivated by praise, attention and the desire to please you. A ferret is only interested in one thing–a tasty treat. Continue reading How to Train a Ferret to Come

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Brushing Your Ferret’s Teeth–A Guide

brushing your ferrets teethBrushing Your Ferret’s Teeth

Although it may seem like a difficult process, with the right tools brushing your ferret’s teeth can be doable.  Most Veterinarians recommend that you brush your ferret’s teeth twice a month (at least) to keep your ferret’s teeth healthy.

Why Should You Brush Your Ferret’s Teeth?

Dental disease.  More and more it has been determined, that like people, pets need dental care to prevent dental disease and to keep them healthy overall.  Brushing a dog’s teeth has been recommended by Vets for a long time. As this has become common practice, Vets have been recommending dental care for other pets as well–including ferrets.

Dental disease in ferrets, as well as in other pets and in people, starts with gingivitis. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. This inflammation is caused by bacteria that live in the mouth and invade the pockets surrounding the teeth. Untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a disease involving the teeth and gum pockets. Eventually these oral bacteria also invade the bloodstream and can cause infections in the kidneys and even the heart valves. The severity of gingivitis is partly determined by the strength of the ferret’s immune system. It occurs in middle-aged to older ferrets. Periodontal disease, luckily, is uncommon in ferrets. Continue reading Brushing Your Ferret’s Teeth–A Guide

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Ear Mites and Ferrets–Diagnosis and Treatment

Ear mites and FerretsEar Mites and Ferrets–Diagnosis and Treatment

Unfortunately, ear mite infestation is very common in ferrets. It is also common in cats and dogs.

Otodectes cynotis, or ear mites, live their lives inside an animal’s ears. Otodectes cynotis is contagious and spread by direct contact among ferrets, cats, dogs and other animals.  Many kits already have ear mites before they are brought home. Because of the highly contagious nature of ear mites, if you have more than one ferret, or have other pets, all pets in your home need to be treated.  Even those pets who do not show obvious signs of ear mite infestation need to be treated, because the treated pet may be reinfected immediately after the end of treatment by those pets who were not treated.

Otodectes cynotis is often unnoticed in ferrets.

One reason is that the mites are very tiny and can only be seen under a microscope. Another reason is that ferrets rarely show signs of being infected with ear mites. Ear mites in cats and dogs can often be suspected due to ear scratching and head shaking when they have an ear mite infestation.  Ferrets rarely show these signs. A third reason is that, although a thick, reddish brown to black, waxy discharge is commonly observed in ferrets suffering from ear mite infestation, it is also normal for ferrets to have a brown ear wax.  Therefore, a diagnosis of ear mite infestation cannot be made by merely observing the color of a ferret’s ear wax. The diagnosis must be made by a veterinarian. Continue reading Ear Mites and Ferrets–Diagnosis and Treatment

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How to Bathe a Ferret–Important Steps

How to Bathe a Ferret–Important Steps 

When to bathe your ferrethow to bathe a ferret

Before we get into how to bathe a ferret, it is important to know when to bathe a ferret.

Many ferret owners love their pets but get frustrated by their smell, which can be quite strong. Bathing ferrets can be a good way to combat odor. Ferrets should not be bathed more than once every 3 months. Bathing a ferret too often can actually make the smell worse. Bathing strips oils from a ferret’s skin and oil glands go into overdrive to replace it. This result in even more odor! Ferrets can become itchy and uncomfortable when bathed too often, as well. If your ferret is scratching frequently, you might want to cut back on how often you’re bathing her.

Ferret smells are actually more often related to a ferret’s bedding, cage, and blankets than to the ferret himself. Try washing these items before bathing your ferret to rule them out as the primary cause of odor. For more info on ferret odor, see this article.

How to Bathe a Ferret–Important Steps

Before starting the bathing process, you may find it helpful to get her used to water first. If your ferret doesn’t like water, first let her play in the sink or tub without water, so she gets used to being in the place where she will be bathed. When she seems to feel comfortable in the tube or sink, turn the faucet on just a little bit and let her explore the water. Give her licks of Ferretone, or another healthy treat as you gradually get her wet. Many ferrets love to play in the water, and some even like to swim! Continue reading How to Bathe a Ferret–Important Steps

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Ferret In Cage Ferret Out of Cage–How Much Time Should a Ferret Spend In and Out of Cage?

How Much Time Should a Ferret Spend In and Out of CageFerret In Cage Ferret Out of Cage–How Much Time Should a Ferret Spend In and Out of Cage?

Ferrets have a knack for making you feel guilty when you put them in their cage. One of my ferrets, Toby, was always trying to” break out”. He would climb up to the top door, grab the bars in his paws and push and shake the door, trying to open it.

However, for their protection, ferrets should be kept in a ferret cage, enclosure, ferret-proof room or area when not being supervised.

A ferret’s cage not only acts as his home–a place he should feel comfortable in–it is also a place to keep him safe. There are endless  dangers around your home–wires, appliances, cleaning supplies, etc.– it’s simply not safe to permit your ferret to roam free without supervision. Even if you think you have ferret-proofed your home, there is no limit to what a ferret can find to get into. Continue reading Ferret In Cage Ferret Out of Cage–How Much Time Should a Ferret Spend In and Out of Cage?

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The Key to Getting Rid of Ferret Smells

The Key to Getting Rid of Ferret Smells

As ferret parents, we all know ferrets smell. While some people don’t mind the musky odor, and a few actually like it, most of us could do without it. This characteristic of ferrets unfortunately leads to many ferrets being left in cages or in need of a new home.

As ferret lovers, we try to keep the odor under control but accept it as being inevitable with having a ferret or ferrets as part of the family.

If you are willing to put forth the effort (which is not as much as you may think), you can be surprisingly successful at getting rid of ferret smells. The key is to attack odor at all the sources with the appropriate methods and products.

The Key to Getting rid of ferret smells is getting rid of ferret smells everywhere. The more areas and sources of odor you treat on a regular basis, the less odor there will be. If one area smells like a ferret, it will transfer to other areas. Continue reading The Key to Getting Rid of Ferret Smells

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Flea Treatment For Ferrets

ferret flea treatmentFlea Treatment For Ferrets

What are Fleas?

Fleas are tiny, usually dark-colored, insects.  Fleas attach themselves to animal and human skin–including ferrets. They bite and feed on the animal’s blood.  

Each female flea may produce 50 or 60 eggs a day!  Flea eggs hatch in about 4 days. 

Larvae eat the droppings of mature fleas for about 2 weeks, then spin cocoons and become pupae. Inside the cocoons, the pupae turn into fleas that emerge in 3 or 4 weeks as a new generation.

While most ferrets are not overly sensitive to fleas, some may develop skin irritations, allergies and even anemia.  Fleas reproduce quite quickly, laying batches of eggs on the ferret or other animal. The fleas can then spread to the animal’s surroundings.

Causes of Fleas in Ferrets

When the weather gets warm and humid, the fleas come out. Ferrets that go outside can pick up fleas from the environment. Ferrets can also get fleas from other pets or even people.

Flea eggs can remain dormant for up to two years waiting for victims.  Not only lying in wait outside, they can hide in furniture, carpets, bedding, clothes… Continue reading Flea Treatment For Ferrets