Ferrets are magnificently social and need to be played with quite frequently. They strive for interaction and crave attention. These animals may be small, but they are not hand pets that are happy in the confines of a cage, no matter how large. They will want to come out and play with their owners and snoop all around the home.
Ferrets require more out of cage time than they do inside. So be prepared to watch your pet explore the house with vigor and find things you forgot you even owned. This is extremely amusing and entertaining. If you cannot provide the constant play time and interaction that your furry friend needs, it is important to get him or her a companion. Ferrets enjoy each other and will play with each other often.
Ferrets are amazingly smart creatures, which can be very dangerous. They will get into things that once could never dream of. They have a special ability to get into what they are not supposed to and out of what they should be able to. They are little guys and can quickly dodge being seen by following along walls or hiding under furniture. Your pet may even sneak past you when you open the door for a quick second. One must be very cautious with a loose ferret around the house in order to keep him or her safe. Everyone in the home should be trained on keep a watchful eye out.
It is also a good idea to ferret-proof your home. This will have to include some very ingenious maneuvers. Ferrets have very flexible bones to go with their wit. They can get into spaces that defy all rationality, so this can be very tricky. Not to mention they are avid climbers and will manage to get into something you think is out of reach. With their smart nature you will find your pet will drag other objects into position to make climbing to the desired location easier. You can also expect your pet to explore any cabinet without a latch as well; they can open them with ease.
Ferrets can be litter trained. This is wonderful news for pet owners who let their animal roam freely. Although they may not use it every single time, they will for the most part if trained properly. Ferrets metabolize food quickly and eliminate often, so having many litter boxes at your pets disposal will encourage relief in an appropriate location. It is also a wise idea to have newspapers scattered through frequently traveled areas.
Although there are so many fun things about ferrets that can make them great pets and companions, it takes time and consideration when deciding if they are for you. You do not want to buy such a pet on impulse to find out you cannot handle the responsibility and have to abandon him or her at a shelter. Make sure that you are well informed and know what to expect before bringing him or her into your home.
The Legalities of Owning a Pet Ferret
Many people have questions when it comes to whether or not it is legal to own ferrets as pets in their area. Knowing these laws is very important. It is illegal for people to own these animals as pets in some locations. There are some frequently asked questions about ferret laws and how these laws affect you as an owner or prospective owner. Most of these so-called ferret laws are in place due to misinformation and ignorance.
They claim that ferrets are wild animals and should not be considered house pets. This is very untrue. Ferrets have been living domestically for thousands of years. Many governments will claim there are no rabies shots for them. The truth is that not a single human has ever contracted rabies from a ferret and the IMRAB-3 has been approved as a rabies vaccine for them since 1991.
Another reason it may be illegal to have them as a pet in your area is that ferrets were deemed vicious and dangerous biters. According to the Centers for Disease Control, ferrets are much less likely, approximately a thousand times less, to bite than a dog is. No one has banned dogs as pets. Many also claim that a feral ferret population could spell disaster if they grew too large. The fact that there has never been a feral ferret population in the United States or Canada shows that these animals live and survive under the direct care of their owners. The only ferret that is in the wild today is the black-footed ferret and it is endangered.
As of the year 2000, ferrets are legal in all states except for California and Hawaii. Although the other 48 states have declared themselves ferret-friendly, many local city or county governments can ban ferrets in that particular city or county. There are many places that actually do this, so any prospective owners will need to make sure they check their local laws before bringing a ferret home. Cities such as New York City and Dallas are just two of the major cities that have banned these animals as pets in their city limits. You can also expect that if you live on any military base, you will not be permitted to own a ferret as well. It is always wise to get a copy of your citys animal control ordinance. Just because it is legal to sell ferrets in your area does not mean it is legal to own one. Many larger cities will sell them in pet stores but may also have a ban on them for pet ownership. So it would be people who come from other areas who could purchase and have these animals as pets, not residents where the stores are located.
Many people either do not know it is illegal to own a ferret in their area or ignore the laws completely. Once you try to seek a vet for your ferret you will quickly find out whether or not they are legal. If you find out that it is illegal to have your ferret as a pet and need to get your animal to the vet, it is best to speak with other ferret owners, the local ferret club, or a ferret shelter in your area. They will be able to help you locate a vet that treats ferrets outside your local area. If you are having an emergency, it is best to take your ferret to a vet in person, many vets will not admit to treating an illegal ferret over the phone, but will see your pet if you walk in. It is easiest to just call the next town over from where you reside to get a good ferret-treating vet. Most vets are most concerned with an animals health than the laws, so as long as you are private you will probably get vet care in your town or city.
Train Your Way To An Obedient Pet Ferret
Like many other types of pets, the ferret must be trained if you want to be able to have a good relationship with him or her. One of the first habits that require attention is the ferrets inclination to nip. Ferrets that have been bred as pets should not be in any way vicious or bite hard. The ferret bite or nip is more of a play fighting, which is natural. Babies have no idea that they are being hurtful when they nip at you. Your ferret will need to be disciplined for nipping to train him or her to appropriate play. Like any other pet one must be willing to teach their ferret what behaviors are appropriate and which ones are not.
Many times it is a matter of the owner figuring out what is triggering the ferret to bite. Many normal calm ferrets that hear a very load noise, such as those from squeaky toys, can react with biting. Somehow the noise scares the animal and he or she reacts with an extreme behavior. The best course of action would be to get rid of the toy and the behavior will more than likely disappear.
Another reason ferrets may bite is due to pain or fear. Be sure to know why your pet is biting before disciplining him or her. If your animal was adopted, it is important to know if he or she was abused. If your animal is in pain, it is best to get them to the Vet where they can be thoroughly examined and treated. For those ferrets that have been abused, try different ways of training and have patience. Your pet will have to re-learn to trust humans and that will take time, love, and encouragement.
The best way to train a ferret, especially those who have been abused, is with positive reinforcement. You will use treats and praise to train you ferret to do what you desire. This works much better than punishment does and makes the ferret more cooperative. If you ferret does need some form of punishment a time out works wonders. Ferrets like to be free and roam about, confining your ferret for a few minutes to a cage or carrier directly after the behavior occurs. Make sure to hold fast when your ferrets nips, setting him or her down will only show them that they will get what they want when they bite.
When your ferret nips you, it is best not to use nose flicking or physical discipline, especially if there is a past of abuse. You do not want your ferret associating you as bad. There are plenty of alternatives that work just as well or even better and have great outcomes. Use a signal that your ferret knows when he bites you too hard, such as a high-pitched yip or hey. This noise reminds them of a kit and will make them stop. If that tactic does not work then use a stern, deep voice. This will let your ferret know you are the boss and that is not acceptable. Stop playtime and gently put you ferret down. He will get bored once he knows you are refusing to play, and stop the behavior. Many times if you have more than one ferret the time out tactic works wonders. You can place the misbehaving ferret in his or her cage while the other is playing freely about.
Another great way to keep your pet from wanting to nip at you is to cover your hands with Bitter Apple or No Chew Spray. This will leave your pet with a very nasty taste in his or her mouth and make them think twice before doing it again. To get the ferret off of your hand when he or she does bite, cover his or her nostrils gently with your fingers. This should make him or her release. There are plenty of non-aggressive ways to train your pet how to behave if you just have the patience to try. You will find that with thorough obedience training, your furry friend will be a loving and playful companion for all family members to enjoy. A happy ferret is a well-trained ferret. Your companion wants nothing more than to please and play with you.