L. Vanessa Gruden
Posted: November 7, 2014, 2:40 p.m. EST
© Ferret Association of Connecticut/FerretTreasures.com
Some ferret shelters/rescues sell products to help them make money to keep the shelter going. These furballs and luxury sleepers are from FACT's FerretTreasures.com website.
Last month I wrote about the annual cost of owning a ferret, and I arrived at an estimate of $420 to $740. This month I’m offering tips to save money while still giving your ferret great care.
Food: Simple math shows that the price per pound drops significantly when you buy larger packages. Dry kibble lasts a long time, but only if you keep it in an airtight container. So a one-time investment in a good food bin will save you hundreds over your pet’s life span.
Litter: Many small animal litters are available, and the choice often comes down to individual preference. My ferrets are trained to use newspaper, instead. It’s quick to clean, can be found free, and I don’t need to haul heavy bags or boxes. I also know some people who use litter alternatives, including wood pellets, rabbit food pellets or chicken feed. Note: If a pelleted food is used, it must be stored in a secure, clean, metal trash bin or the local mice will think they've hit the jackpot!
Cleaners: Mix vinegar and water for a great general cleanser, safe for pets. If you want to disinfect, use straight vinegar. Hate the smell? Add a couple of drops of pleasantly scented essential oil.
Vet/Vaccinations: Medical bills are a ferret owner's biggest expense. But there are ways to save. As a public service, towns may offer low-cost rabies vaccination clinics. Many pet stores also sponsor vaccination clinics, though not all treat ferrets (Tractor Supply Store clinics do).
When you choose a veterinary hospital, call and ask about their services and compare rates. Ask the operator of a local ferret shelter, if you have one. He or she will know who treats ferrets locally and is reasonably priced.
Cultivate a good relationship with your veterinarian. He or she may be able to discount some services for valued clients. Don’t be afraid to ask about lower-cost treatment options. Late-night crisis? Emergency hospitals are often state-of-the-art, with proportionate costs. Have your ferret moved to your regular vet if possible once stabilized, and ask that test results be transferred.
Bedding/Toys: Many ferret shelters sell affordable supplies to support their work. If you need help finding a ferret shelter, search my Ferret Shelters Directory website. Purchasing supplies from ferret shelters means you also save homeless animals. Also, baby toys are great for ferrets — safe and washable. Thrift stores sell them cheap.
Don’t think "cheap” equals "bad”! Saving where you can may mean you have funds for veterinary needs, a ferret-friendly apartment, or to adopt another little furry friend. And that’s never a bad thing!
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