In many ways, ferrets are similar to dogs and cats in that they make excellent pets for people who have the time for them.
Ferrets are naturally intelligent, inquisitive and companionable to the right person and are quick to form bonds with their owners.
They do, however, differ in how to look after them.
So before you fall in love with the next ferret you see at your local pet store, consider a few points about how to care and love your next best friend.
Firstly, ferrets are classified a carnivore and so eat primarily meat-based diets, which is similar to the domestic cat.
They also have needs for particular micronutrients which are usually factored into a high quality commercial ferret food.
You can also very rarely give your ferret very small amounts of fruits and vegetables as treats.
These must be soft and easily digestible (such as melon and pears) and only offered in minute quantities on occasion.
Ferrets are very sociable creatures and require attention in a unique way that may differ to a dog or a cat.
As such, if you are unable to provide quality time for your ferret, then consider getting him/her a partner in crime so that they are not alone for prolonged periods of time.
Enrichment is a great way to liven up your ferrets' life, and it is crucial for proper wellbeing to give plenty of opportunity to play.
Having a large enclosure with enough space for them to run around and hide in boxes or plastic tunnels are good ways to meet that requirement.
It is also important thought to ensure they get time to explore their spaces outside the cage regularly so that they can be mentally stimulated.
But make sure to keep an eye on them, or you may never catch them again.
Finally, getting checked regularly by a vet as well as vaccinations can enable health concerns to be detected at an earlier age.
Ferrets often have signs (such as itching) that can be brushed aside as normal, but may be the start of something.
Fleaing and worming preventions are also important and ferrets are specifically prone to heat stress so always keep that in mind.
Desexing is also recommended, especially for females, to reduce the chances of diseases later on in life.
That being said, recent research is being shown that desexing a male can help bring on an earlier onset of an endocrine disease, but don't fret, there are still options to neuter them.
When in doubt, always contact your local veterinarian clinic and they will guide you every step of the way.
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