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How To Know If A Ferret Is Getting Enough Sleep

Do all ferrets need to go into the dead sleep stage in order to get enough sleep?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: December 1, 2010, 5 a.m. EST

Q: Is it normal for my ferrets to never be in that "dead sleep" stage? I want to make sure they're getting the rest they need.

A: That’s a good question. It is not unusual for pets, especially ferrets, to have different sleep patterns that are unique to that particular animal, the same as it is in people. And the amount of sleep and the deepness of sleep may change over the life of the ferret.

If a ferret were actually not sleeping enough, you would see a change in your ferret’s behavior during the day. Your ferret might sleep more, might seem tired or might be lethargic. Of course, when we see a ferret that appears tired during the day, the first thing we consider is insulinoma disease but giving your veterinarian a detailed history might help your veterinarian determine if this is a problem with sleep or a metabolic disease like insulinoma.

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Reader Comments
It is perfectly normal for some ferrets not to do dead sleep; it is most common in kits and less common in adult ferrets; if your ferret is a healthy adult, not having him or her do a dead sleep is not at all unusual. The reason that you hear so much about dead sleep is most likely due to the fact that finding a ferret in such a deep sleep is alarming if you have never seen it before and something that new and less experienced ferret owners need to be aware of - after all, you don't want to have them accidentally burying their sleeping pet, or rushing the animal to the vet because of a nap! If your ferret has plenty of dark beds to choose from around your house, then don't worry - he or she will ensure that they are getting enough sleep on their own.
Ferrets North, Prince George
Posted: 12/2/2010 2:42:57 PM
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