Posted: May 22, 2009, 2 p.m. EDT
Save money to pay for ferret emergencies before they happen. Consider the savings as your ferret's allowance.
Ferret Care Tip #6: Train your ferret to come when called or to answer to a police whistle. Why is this important? Because if your ferret gets free-roam time in your home, having it trained to come when called could save its life if you need to evacuate quickly. It’s also handy if your ferret goes missing.
The threat of disasters brings up another point. "I would establish an emergency plan for a major disaster for both myself and the care of my ferrets,” Mitchell said.
Ferret Care Tip #7: Provide darkness for your ferret. It’s theorized that ferrets do best if they live in an environment that mimics outdoor lighting. Sukie Crandall, a longtime ferret owner from New Jersey and a moderator for the Ferret Health List, said that decades ago British ferreters advocated giving ferrets as much darkness as they desired.
”Years later we know that too much light exposure lowers the body's natural melatonin production, and that can help to set the stage for adrenal disease,” Crandall said.
Mitchell also believes ferrets need darkness. “Provide adequate amounts of complete darkness, varying with the seasons to mimic outdoor day length."
How can ferret owners provide this darkness indoors? “Be sure that any cage includes sleeping places like boxes, dark tents or other ways for a ferret to get out of the light, but also keep your home cool enough that the ferret will not overheat [in] there,” Crandall said.
Ferret Care Tip #8: Provide regular veterinary care. Ferrets need regular veterinary care, just as dogs and cats do, but finding a ferret-knowledgeable veterinarian can be difficult.
The payoff is that by finding a ferret-knowledgeable veterinarian and building a relationship through annual visits, your ferret’s health history is documented, and possible problems might be detected earlier. You can also discuss the possible need for distemper vaccinations or rabies vaccinations (many states require rabies vaccinations).
If you wish to travel with your ferret, regular veterinary care provides another bonus. “Keep copies of veterinary records and vaccinations for traveling out of state and for away vacations,” Drakiotes said. She added that ferret owners should always keep their veterinarian’s contact information by the phone, so it’s handy in case of emergency.
Ferret Care Tip #9: Create a savings account for your ferret. Unexpected expenses always come up with ferrets. Usually these involve veterinary care above and beyond regular visits. Ferrets seem to be prone to adrenal gland disease and insulinoma, both of which are cancers that usually require surgery.
In addition to veterinary needs, your ferret might require a new, big-ticket item like a cage.
Having a savings account earmarked for your ferret ensures that you can respond quickly when a need suddenly arises. Just think of it as paying a monthly allowance to your ferret!
Ferret Care Tip #10: Continue educating yourself about ferrets. The more you know about ferrets, the better your care will be. Many years ago, milk and bread was advocated as a diet for ferrets. Today we know better. Education and life experience will make you a better ferret owner.
Drakiotes urges all ferret owners not to stop there. “Educate others,” she said. This helps combat some of the misinformation about ferrets that still gets passed around.
Do you have a great ferret care tip that wasn’t covered? Leave a comment below and share your knowledge with everyone!