We are all familiar with the phrase “A healthy pet is a happy pet” – but there is probably also something to be said for keeping your ferret happy in order to maintain its health. If you know your pet you will probably quickly recognise the signs that suggest it is not well.
What are the signs of good health?
A healthy ferret will have bright eyes, clean ears, eyes and nose and be interested in what is going on around it.
If your ferret’s weight remains constant then they are eating the right amount of food. You should be concerned if their appetite or water consumption suddenly changes or they suddenly start to gain or lose weight. When in good condition the coat should be shiny, soft and free of parasites.
How do I keep my ferret in good health?
Your ferret must be fed a healthy diet and allowed regular exercise.
The closer your ferret’s diet and environment is compared to how it would eat and live in the wild, the healthier and happier it will be. Giving them plenty of enrichment in also hugely important for their mental wellbeing.
What is a healthy diet?
A healthy diet is a balanced diet containing all the nutrients your pet requires.
Ferrets are obligate carnivores, which means they are only designed to eat protein, however very occasionally it is possible for them to eat other food in small quantities as a treat.
How can I maintain my ferret's health?
There are a number of measures that can help prevent your pet developing diseases. You should discuss the special needs of your pet with your vet.
Neutering It is a sad truth that the number of pets born every year is far greater than the number of good homes that can be found for them. As a result, thousands of healthy animals are destroyed and many unwanted ones are abandoned. Having your ferret neutered will help to reduce the number of unwanted animals and can also help to safeguard your pet’s health and welfare.
Vaccinations Ferrets should be vaccinated against canine distemper.
Dental care Ferrets tend not to suffer from dental problems unless they are fed a poor, moist diet.
How do I know if my ferret is unwell?
If your ferret has a poor coat condition, dull eyes, dirty ears, eyes or nose it may indicate that they are unwell. Changes in behaviour (a normally happy and affectionate animal may become grumpy and avoid human contact, preferring to hide away by itself), altered appetite or water consumption should also alert you to the possibility that there may be a problem.
Most animals recover from illness in 24-48 hours – if your pet does not seem to be improving in this time or is getting worse then you should contact your vet.