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All about Ferrets as Pets

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Ferrets are true carnivores with a keen hunting ability and predator mentality. They are inquisitive, playful and constantly on the move when awake.

They need devoted and educated owners.

Feeding your Ferret

*Ferrets are carnivores and require regular and high levels of dietary protein and fat to develop strong muscles, healthy bones and to prevent illness.

*They have little need for carbohydrate and fibre as they produce most of their own glucose and therefore do not need to eat much carbohydrate.

*Ferrets feed throughout the day eating small frequent meals, this is due to the fact that they have an extremely short digestive tract and food passes through within 3 - 4 hours. In order to fulfil their nutritional needs and energy levels, they must feed regularly.

*The average ferret will eat 5 - 7% of its body weight on a daily basis. This is about 50-75 grams for a ferret weighing 1kg.

*These are approximate levels and will differ from animal to animal and according to lifestage.

*Ferrets will require larger amounts during growth, gestation and reproduction.

*Reproducing females require a minimum of 30% protein from their diet, and kittens require high levels of protein and fat throughout their growth phase.

*Feed levels may drop during later life and should be adjusted based on intake, demand and physiological changes, such as weight gain. Some people choose to feed dried cat food which is adequate for a ferret, but choose a good quality food such as Hills or Iams.

*Do not feed your ferret dog food as its protein levels are not high enough. *Feeding a complete dried food provides all the nutritional requirements your ferret needs.

*Feeding fresh food requires supplementation of vitamins and minerals and may result in deficiency or more commonly, poisoning, resulting in a range of avoidable illnesses and conditions.

*Snacks that can be given include cooked chicken pieces, raisins, grapes, broccoli or other fresh fruits.

*Never give dairy products or chocolate. Chocolate and caffeine are poisonous and cereals or sugary treats affect the pancreas so must be avoided.

*A fatty acid supplement should be given if not feeding a balanced ferret food.

*Always ensure that fresh water is available at all times, as eating dried food will often lead to higher demands of water on a daily basis.

Canine Distemper

Ferrets are very susceptible to Canine Distemper which often lead to fatality. Signs of the virus include: discharge around the eyes, nose and chin (eyes may be closed) loss of appetite a rash lethargy It is highly infectious and can be picked up from dog or rat urine on the soles of your shoes. To prevent infection, have your ferret vaccinated by us at 12 weeks. It is a single vaccination and needs to be given yearly.

External parasites

*Ear mites are common and will be apparent if your ferret shakes his head and scratches his ears often. It can lead to inflammation of the area and a secondary infection with discomfort to your pet.

*Regularly check your ferret for fleas and flea dirt. If fleas are found, you will need to treat your ferret with a product specific for ferrets..

*Do not forget to treat their cage and environment too if you notice fleas.

*Apply Vitamin E cream to your ferrets' pads to prevent dry cracked pads in centrally heated homes.