Posted: August 11, 2012, 4 a.m. EDT
Ferrets Ferris and Nico/Courtesy Seth Vermilyea
Ferrets are individuals that might like different treats and may or may not want to sit on someone's lap.
Q: I am a new ferret owner. I just got them a month ago. My 1.5-year-old old boy doesn’t like any treats except Ferret Lax. Is there any way I can get him to eat other treats? My 11-month-old girl eats Ferret Lax and also bananas, but that’s it. I’ve tried meat baby food, chicken, steak and other fruits. Also, my girl hates being held and goes crazy trying to get down. She’ll try to jump out of my arms even when I’m holding her up very high. Is there any way I can get her to enjoy being held? I’ve tried giving her treats while holding her but as soon as she’s done eating, she escapes. My boy likes being held and will fall asleep on my lap.
A: Ferrets don’t require treats in their diet, but it is always fun for the owner to give their pet something they think their pet likes. You can continue to just give your ferret the Ferret Lax as a treat. Just don’t give him too much or he may get the runs. You can also try smearing a little of the Ferret Lax on a regular treat, or even on a piece of his kibble, and he may then take the treat offered. If he takes the treat with the Ferret Lax on it, then keep giving it to him that way for a few days. Eventually put less Ferret Lax on it until you think he is ready to try it with no Ferret Lax on it. If he refuses to eat it, then go back to step one and try again.
As far as the type of treats you offer your ferrets, avoid giving fruits and vegetables, because ferrets cannot digest them. If your ferret truly loves them, offer him or her only about ¼ teaspoon a couple of times a week. Never give your ferret hard pieces of vegetables, like carrots, unless you grate them very finely. Ferrets have very narrow intestines and even a pea-sized piece of hard fruit or vegetable can form a blockage.
As far as your little girl ferret becoming a cuddler — some ferrets cuddle and some don’t. Try sitting with her on the ground on your lap first. Offer her a treat while you hold her, but don’t give it to her right away. Make her wait a little bit before rewarding her. If she learns to associate getting a treat while being in your lap, she may be more willing to sit with you. After she has mastered your lap, then try kneeling and holding her to get the treat. Each time wait a little bit longer before giving the reward. If that works then try standing with her. She may also be more willing to sit with you when she gets older, so give her time, but keep trying.
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