Essential Ferret Supplies and Ferret Accessories

New ferret owners are sometimes overwhelmed by the sheer number and variety of ferret supplies and ferret accessories they are often told they need. Still, you will, unfortunately, likely need to make a significant outlay to get everything you need to keep your ferret healthy and happy. So it pays to found exactly what you really must have, what you don’t necessarily need, and ways to save money on the essentials.

The absolute essential ferret supplies and accessories you’ll need are:

  • A wire mesh cage with at least two square feet of floor space per ferret.
  • Pet carrier. Your ferret will need to see a veterinarian at least once a year and probably more often in that critical first year. You’ll need a sturdy pet carrier to transport your fuzzy.
  • Ferret bedding. Because ferrets love to burrow and snuggle up when they sleep, they need cozy bedding. Whether it’s an old blanket or t-shirt or a swinging hammock, comfort is the key here.
  • Ferret food. Whether it’s canned, dry, or even whole prey, it’s best if you choose food specifically intended for ferrets so that it meets their needs for a high-protein, high-fat, low-fiber diet.
  • Food and water containers. These should be heavy and durable to resist tipping. Many ferret owners prefer to use non-drip water bottles.
  • Litter box and non-clumping, dust-free litter. Remember that ferrets love to dig, so choose a corner-fitting box with high sides. Non-clumping litter is essential to protect ferret health as the clumping variety can play havoc with the digestive system.
  • Hygiene items. Shampoo, brushes, combs, nail clippers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, ear washes, vitamins, and supplements are every bit as important for your ferret as they are for your own health.
  • Harness and leash. Your ferret needs to be out of the cage for several hours each day. One way to keep her busy is to take her for a walk in the great outdoors. The harness and leash will help her explore the world safely.
  • Protective devices. Pet gates, electrical-outlet covers, door latches, and similar products are frequently overlooked by new owners, but they are essential for keeping your ferret (and your belongings) safe.
  • Ferret toys. While many new owners consider pet toys frivolous items, they areFerret Toys Book necessary for keeping your ferret entertained and active – and away from your stuff. (Pet ferrets are incorrigible thieves.)

These are the essential ferret supplies and ferret accessories. Soon, we’ll talk about the best places to get said supplies.

If you’ve seen those articles that detail how much it costs to own a ferret, keep in mind that they usually list the top-of-the-line models of each item. As with most things in life, there are ways to get ferret supplies at fairly low cost – yes, even for free.

New Ferret Book – “Ferret Toys”

Here’s a quick announcement about our new ferret book, published as a Kindle e-book and titled Ferret Toys: Keeping Pet Ferrets Happy. Check it out – we think you’ll find some useful information in this book.

Ferret Toys possesses two main virtues. It’s not too long, and it contains some ideas and plans for homemade toys for pet ferrets. Here’s how the blurb goes:

We ferret owners are all a little “crazy” when it comes to our fuzzy kids. Just as we do for our human children, we want the best, most-stimulating toys we can afford for our pet ferrets. But how do we wade through the thousands of choices and the many manufacturers. And where is the best place to get ferret toys? And what about homemade toys?

These are the questions this little book will answer. You will find out:

  • How to choose ferret toys wisely, both ferret-wise and money-wise
  • How to choose toys that will engage your ferret’s senses and keep him active and interested
  • How to know whether a toy is safe for your ferret
  • The top ferret-toy manufacturers
  • The best places to buy ferret toys
  • How to create inexpensive and fun homemade ferret toys (with step-by-step directions)
  • How to take care of your ferret’s toys so they will last longer and be safer

Our aim is to simplify – and make less expensive -  the daunting task of choosing and making the best toys for your pet ferrets . . . with Ferret Toys.

 

 

 

Traveling Ferrets

A site visitor switches houses every other weekend and wants to know if she can take her pet ferrets with her.

I don’t know if this person is house sitting every other weekend or whether there is some other reason why she changes houses. But if it was me, Rikki and Possum would definitely go along with me. It would be a hassle at first, of course. But if you think about it, it really wouldn’t be all that different from taking your human baby with you wherever you go.

So here’s what I would do.

First, I would find a large bag like a diaper bag. Then, I would round up the following items:

  • Extra food and water dishes
  • A large container for their food
  • Plenty of toys
  • A couple of hammocks
  • GoodBye Odor (which, to me, is almost as important as their food)
  • Vitamins
  • Various other items that may be needed, such as harnesses and leashes

I would also make sure I had a very large fuzzy-kid carrier to keep Rikki and Possum in while I am mobile. You certainly don’t want anything to happen to your fuzzies while you are driving or otherwise transporting them.

If you have your own vehicle or if someone picks you up in their car, I would suggest purchasing and using a collapsible ferret cage that you can take down and re-assemble in minutes. That way, you’ll have a cage you can easily pack up and transport and which, on arriving, you can keep your ferrets in while sleeping or while they are sleeping. This will keep your woozles safe when you are unable to give them your full attention.

You can find such ferret cages on the Amazon and Marshall sites, as well as in a Doctors Foster and Smith catalogue. Honestly, though, I don’t know much about these cages. The Folding Mansion looks as though it could serve the purpose, but I don’t like the fact that the shelves and ramps are made out of wire. If I got one of these, I would purchase covers for the wire shelves and ramps. If you don’t do this, your ferrets could get a foot caught in the grills or wire, which could lead to a broken leg or even something more serious.

Another possibility is an exercise pen. I would just make sure I had a mat or cover for it. Got to keep our little woozles safe!

So definitely take your babies with you! It may seem like you’re moving every time you go back and forth between houses, but your ferrets are worth the effort.

Our book on ferret care has a section packed with tips on traveling with ferrets.

More and More Ferret Beds – Easy Ferret-Bed Rehabilitation

I am one of those people who think their little fuzzies cannot have enough ferret beds.

Rikki and Possum have seven beds, two sleep sacks, and a hammock (but not all in theirCollapsing Ferret Bed cage at the same time, of course).

Two of these beds I bought from Doctors Foster and Smith – the Fuzz-E-Tree Sleepers set (two pieces). One of the set is a tunnel that resembles a log and hangs in the cage. The other piece is a round house, and it is supposed to resemble a small tree stump. But it doesn’t hang – it just sits on the floor.

I sweet talked my husband into ordering these beds for me. When they finally arrived in the mail, I got so excited, just like a kid at Christmas.

I grabbed up the package and hurried into my bedroom where my fuzzy kids live. I just had to show Rikki and Possum their new beds.

The “log” tunnel they loved – but the “tree house” kept collapsing on them. My pet ferrets didn’t like that, so they soon ignored it and wouldn’t have anything to do with it. It ended up just lying on the floor beside their toy box. (Yes, my fuzzy kids have their own toy box. Actually, it’s a basket that holds their smaller toys.)

I thought about putting this tree-stump bed in the bottom of their cage, thinking maybe they would eventually use it. But I soon scratched that idea because that’s where they have two of their litter boxes. And, besides, it still wouldn’t hold its shape.

So I got to thinking: “Surely there is a way to put straps on that bed and hang it in the cage.” And this is what I came up with.

I went to the Dollar Tree store (a chain in this part of the country that everything is on sale for just a dollar) and purchased a dog leash that matched the bed’s pattern and color scheme. Then, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought four small hooks (or snaps) from the jewelry section.

Having done that, I took a seam ripper and unsewed the top corner seams of the bed. I next cut the leash into four pieces (straps) about eight and a half inched long. Then, I inserted the end of each strap through a snap, doubled over the end of each strap, and sewed the loop shut. (These would be used to hook onto the top of the cage.)

I then turned the bed inside out and pinned the straps onto the corners, making sure that the longest part of each strap was on the inside. That way, when the bed was turned right side out again, the straps would be outside the top of the bed. 

After I got the straps thus pinned, I sewed them into the corner seams using my sewing machine. And then after securing the straps in this manner, I turned the bed right side out again.

I now have another hanging ferret bed for Rikki and Possum – one they actually like.Hanging Ferret Bed

This was a bed that just sat on the floor unused. Previously, they wouldn’t have anything to do with it, but now they love it! This collapsing bed now keeps its shape because it is hanging. So Rikki and Possum have both a “log” and a “tree house” hanging in their cage.

Since I came up with this idea for my pet ferrets’ “tree house” bed, I’ve been wondering what other ideas I can come up with. I don’t think seven ferret beds are enough. They’ve got to have a wide selection, don’t you think?

Ferret Clothes and Ferret Costumes for the Well Dressed Fuzzy

For some people, the best part of owning a ferret is dressing it up. Manufacturers know this, and they’ve made it easy to find a seemingly endless array of hats, T-shirts, hoodies, and other garb. But what ferret clothes do you really need?

The answer should be obvious: ferret clothes are not needed at all. Mother Nature providedFerret in Bumble Bee Costume your ferret with all the clothing it really needs – a nice warm coat designed to protect it from the elements. The only time your ferret may actually need ferret clothes is if it recovering from surgery or an injury. In that case, ferret clothes can provide a little added protection to help the site heal.

Still, there are many ferret owners who just enjoy dressing up their pet ferrets whenever they go out.  Ferret clothes can make it easier to distinguish their pet when socializing with other ferrets. They can also make it easier to find a ferret if it goes wandering off.

But, face it, most of the time ferrets wear clothes because the owners find them cute. Thus there are ferret clothes for just about any occasion: sweaters, hoodies, and T-shirts are available for just about every interest, including sports, holidays, and so on.

There are also many types of ferret hats on the market, including baseball hats, Santa hats, Cat-in-the-Hat stovepipes, and countless others.

Often, ferret-related organizations, such as rescue groups, will host a ferret fashion show as part of their regular meetings. These are great places to meet other ferret owners while having fun and raising money for an excellent cause.

Naturally, ferret clothes are available from a variety of vendors – and at a variety of prices.Ferret in Lady Bug Costume The largest supplier is, not surprisingly, Marshall, which produces many other ferret products as well. Because the ferret world is a clothing-optional one, only buy the outfits you can afford and will actually use. If possible, check the quality of the items – usually less expensive items will be of lower quality and be more likely to tear or shrink. If you buy online, be sure to carefully read the vendor’s return policy and get a receipt.

If you want to save money, you may be able to find used ferret clothes and other supplies at online classified advertising sites. As with any other purchase, you need to know exactly what you’re buying and that the seller is being honest. Check each clothing item to make sure it is intact. If the item has been worn by another ferret, find out about its health to ensure your ferret won’t “inherit” a skin disease or other health problem.

Surprisingly, while there are a variety of ready-made ferret clothes, there are seemingly few patterns for them. A crafty ferret owner may be able to adjust patterns for dog or doll clothes to fit, but it takes a certain amount of know-how to do it.

If you choose to make ferret clothes, watch out for dangling parts that could get caught between cage bars or on other obstacles. Remember, your ferret loves to chew things and could easily gnaw off and swallow that cute bell or button. Drawstrings can become knotted and easily strangle your pet. Wool clothing can be chewed and swallowed, obstructing the digestive tract. Ferret clothes can be dangerous for your pet.

Also, remember that ferret clothes should not be worn all the time. Your ferret’s skin and fur need to breathe. If clothes are kept on constantly, your pet ferret’s skin will dry out, and his fur will become matted. So take off the clothes and let your fuzzy kids run free. Be sure to wash the clothes regularly to remove any germs or bacteria they may have been picked up along the way.

You may discover that as much as you love that adorable winter coat, your ferret will balk at putting it on. In that case, you have two options. The first is trying to persuade your ferret to sit calmly while you put the item on it. Set the ferret on your lap and feed her a favorite treat or gently stroke her fur while you carefully put the item on.  No matter what you do, your ferret may or may not fight you every step of the way.

The other option is to simply accept your ferret’s answer and try again another day or send the item back to the retailer who sold it to you. (You did keep the receipt, didn’t you?)

Ferret clothes are not for everyone or every ferret, but they can be a fun part of pet ownership. Have fun with your fashionable fuzzy. And find out more about the many aspects of ferret “parenting” here.

Litter Boxes for Pet Ferrets

What kind of litter boxes should we use in our fuzzies’ cages? Here are a few suggestions –Ferret Litter Pan some things I’ve learned from (sometimes not-so-pleasant) experience.

When nature calls and our little fuzzies have to run to the bathroom, they run to a corner. Then they turn around and back up to the corner where the walls meet and do their business. So my advice is to get a ferret litter box with a fairly high back. Or you will find “surprises” on the floor in the bottom of the cage.

The litter boxes I have for Rikki and Possum are triangle shaped so they will fit nicely into a corner where my fuzzy babies like to do their business. These litter boxes also have high backs (two sides of the triangle) with a much lower front side to allow easy access. They work very nicely in the corner of the cage.

I would also advise getting locking litter pans. If your pet store is out of locking kind or doesn’t carry them, then I would highly recommend that you tie the litter pans down in some way. You can use C-clamps, twist ties, or small bungee cords. Just make sure they are secured in the cage, usually to the bars of the cage wall.

You can also purchase suitable ferret litter boxes from Amazon or form the Marshall site. And you can order them from Doctors Foster and Smith.

I have three litter boxes in Rikki’s and Possum’s cage. They are not the locking kind, so I tieFerret in Litter Box them down with twist ties.

If you don’t use locking litter boxes or if you don’t secure your non-locking litter pans, you will soon find them turned upside down. And you will also find litter and unwanted surprises all over the bottom of the cage.

I have learned through experience to make sure Rikki’s and Possum’s litter boxes are securely tied down. That way, we are all happy.

You can find out how to litter train your ferrets in Getting Started with Pet Ferrets.

More on Ferret Beds – Location Matters to Pet Ferrets

If you’re a new ferret owner, you may think that all ferret beds are just about the same. But what you use as a ferret bed and where you put it will make a difference in your pet ferret’s wellbeing.

First, the sleeping area in the ferret cage should be roomy enough for your ferret to stretchPet Ferrets in Pirate Ship Bed out in and sleep. But also keep in mind that your fuzzy kids will also need room to burrow, dig, and create “nests” for themselves. These are instinctive behaviors in ferrets, and you need to provide for them.

Ferret bedding materials can be something as simple as an old T-shirt loosely draped in a corner of the cage. Others like to use old comforters, blankets, rugs, sweatshirts, towels, etc. Anything of that nature can be used to make a secure, dark, comfy sleeping space and would make a great ferret bed. (Just one caveat though: Do not use items that have stuffing or fibers that your ferret could chew up. They could become lodged in your pet’s digestive tract and create health problems down the road.)

If you’ve spent any amount of time researching ferret supplies, chances are you’ve fallen in love with the many cute ferret hammocks, sleep sacks, and other similar items available online or in many pet stores and magazines. They are undeniably fun to have, and ferrets love to curl up (or, in the case of many ferrets, pile up) in them. Before you buy, make sure they are made of machine-washable fabric and that they can be adapted to your cage. The cutest hammock won’t do any good if you don’t have a place to hang it.

If you’re on a budget, you may find it less expensive to make your own ferret bed. There are many patterns available online that will show you how to make your own sleep sacks and hammocks.  Making your own ferret beds will allow you to personalize them somewhat. For example, you can use fabric from your children’s outgrown clothes. Or you can go to a fabric store and select materials that would go with your home’s décor.

Whatever you use, make sure that it will withstand ferret wear and tear and (especially in the case of used items) that it doesn’t have any buttons or other things that your ferret could chew off and choke on. When you do create the item, be careful to make all seams secure. You’d hate for your fuzzies’ hammock to suddenly collapse with the whole gang inside it.

Once you have your ferret bed completed, you need to place it correctly. It’s best to put it as far as possible from your pet’s food, water, and litter box. Not only will this make it easier for you to clean, but ferrets tend to avoid sleeping near their toileting areas.

Most ferret experts advise letting a ferret explore his cage. That way, you can see where it chooses to toilet. Place the litter box there and then choose another spot for the ferret bed. Some savvy ferret owners will place the litter box and food/water bowls on the lowest level of a cage and reserve all the upper levels for sleeping/nesting/play areas. Such an arrangement confines the greatest possible ferret mess to the lower level, making it easier to refill the bowls, empty the litter pans, and so on.

A multi-level or multi-compartment ferret bed also allows your ferrets a chance to get away from one another for privacy. While ferrets are social by nature, they also need a chance to be alone. If you have more than one ferret, you may need more than one bed/nesting area.

A ferret bed is a perfect example of “doing unto others as you would have done unto you.” You yourself probably love a bed that is comfy, soft, warm, and that provides a certain amount of privacy. Provide those same qualities in your ferret bed, and you’ll have healthy, happy pets.

For more information on ferret beds and ferret care, take a look at Getting Started with Pet Ferrets.

Donna Cartwright – An Artist from Wales and Her Pet-Ferret Paintings

Okay, so we all know ferret lovers are a little “crazy” when it comes to our fuzzy friends. We do many things the outside world just can’t seem to understand – like having ferret pictures painted on a custom-made wooden chair.

I’ve seen a lot of searches lately for ferret gifts for humans. Well, now, I have a great idea for all the ferret lovers who visit this site . . .

Donna Cartwright, an artist from Wales – yep, that’s the UK Wales, land of unpronounceable names and misty mysterious legends – recently contacted me. She explained her work and told me about how she had been commissioned by a woman to paint ferrets on a . . . chair.

When Donna contacted me, I immediately went to her website – Ferret Paintings on Chairwww.donnacartwrightcreates.com – to look at her artwork. At the time, the ferret art wasn’t done, but I totally fell in love with her other work, especially the painted vases.

When she got the ferret-painting-adorned chair finished, Donna sent me pictures of it. I loved it!

Now, I want a chair with my fuzzies painted on it. I told my husband, and, of course, he said, “No.” But I’m still working on him. I’m the type who doesn’t really take “No” for an answer.

I encourage you to go to Donna’s site – www.donnacartwrightcreates.com – and take a look at her very impressive painting. You will love her work!

You can also contact Donna Cartwright here. I’ll keep you posted about Donna’s work (hopefully, more ferret stuff) as information and pictures become available.

Christmas Ferret Toys and Ferret Gifts – Commercial or Homemade?

Guest Post by Michael Hearing

Pet ferrets absolutely must have daily play time, as well as something to play with. Pick up any ferret magazine or check out any ferret website, and you will likely see countless ferret toys for sale. You may also find directions for making your own ferret toys. Is there an advantage to commercially produced toys over homemade ferret toys or vice versa?

Commercially produced toys:

  • Are designed specifically for ferrets to play with. They use materials that are safe forFerret Playing in Tube System ferrets and made with ferret safety in mind.
  • Are produced in bulk so they are generally less expensive than they would be if you made them at home using identical materials.
  • Can be returned if they break (if you keep the receipt).
  • Often come with instructions for games you can play with your ferret.
  • Can be of better quality. A manufacturer does not want to deal with hassle of shoddy workmanship.
  • Can lead you to resources for other ferret information if you order them from a catalog, website, or magazine.
  • Will look exactly as they are pictured in the ad, on the box, in the catalog, or on the site.
  • Can be enjoyed the day of purchase (if bought at a brick-and-mortar store).

On the other hand, commercial toys:

  • Can be more expensive than homemade toys because a commercial manufacturer has to price the item to make a profit and also cover packaging and other costs of doing business. Also, if you purchased them online or via a catalog, you may have to pay significant shipping and handling fees.
  • Can be a hassle to return for a refund or an exchange.
  • May expose you to increased “junk” emails and surface mail if the company manages to get your contact information during the sale.

If you choose to buy a commercial product, look for a toy designed specifically for ferrets made by a company that has expertise in and knowledge of ferrets. If necessary, carefully read the specifications to be sure the toy will fit your ferret’s situation. Check out the company’s return policy and save your receipt.

Homemade toys:

  • Can be virtually free if they are created from items you already have around theFerret Playing in Box house.
  • Can be fun to create.
  • Encourage you to develop your own talents.
  • Are unique. No other ferret will have exactly the same toys yours does.
  • Can become a source of income if you develop a toy that others may wish to buy for their ferrets.
  • Are a labor of love for your pet (or as a gift for a fellow ferret lover).

On the other hand, homemade toys:

  • May be unsafe because the materials used may not be healthy or safe for ferrets.
  • Take time, money, and skill to produce.  Your ferret won’t be able to play with them until they are done.
  • Can’t be returned to a store if the item just doesn’t work well for your ferret.
  • May require the sacrifice of a favorite item (such as a T-shirt or blanket) for your fuzzy’s pleasure.

If you decide to make your own ferret toys, read and follow all instructions carefully. Use only materials safe for ferrets (e.g., no cedar chips, no Styrofoam peanuts, etc.). Make sure all openings are at least 4 inches in diameter and that all toys are at least 2 inches in diameter.  Make sure all seams are thoroughly sealed and all rough or sharp edges removed. Don’t hesitate to discard or remake an item if it appears unsafe for your ferret.

It’s easy to see, then, that there is no one-size-fits-all answer about which kind of ferret toy is best. Most ferret households have a mixture of both commercially produced and homemade toys.

Safe Ferret Toys for Happy Pet Ferrets

New ferret owners often have many questions about ferret toys. It’s easy to think that justPanda Ferret Playing with Ferret Toy any small object will work as a ferret toy, but there are some important safety features to consider. Here are some guidelines to follow.

Chew toys – Ferrets were built to gnaw, so they really like chew toys.  Your best bet is to buy chew toys made specifically for ferrets because they are made to withstand those sharp teeth. There are several brands of chew toys on the market that can be readily found online.

Chew toys not made specifically for ferrets are acceptable IF they are not made of soft rubber, which can be broken off into little pieces that your fuzzy could choke on. This is especially true if the toy houses a jingle bell or some other noise-maker.

Rawhide chew toys made for dogs are also dangerous for your ferret.  As with soft rubber, a rawhide toy could break into pieces that could become embedded in your fuzzy’s throat. If the rawhide is swallowed, then it becomes an even bigger danger as your ferret would not be able to digest it. While a ferret laxative or hairball medication might help, you may need a veterinarian to remove a rawhide piece.

You may also be tempted to make your own ferret chew toys. Some people have done so by using large pieces of leather or even sewing together pieces of Velcro. However, be sure the pieces are large enough and sturdy enough for your active pet. And never connect them to wood, plastic, or other flimsy materials. If you fill the toys with a jingle bell or other small objects, make sure they are securely in place. Discard the toy if you find that it is wearing out.

Tubing – As you know, ferrets love to run through and around tubes. Any tubing that is at least 4 inches in diameter and made of sturdy plastic or other strong materials will make a fine toy. But be sure all edges are smooth and that there are no nails, screws, wires, or other objects protruding from the ferret tunnels.  If you link tubing pieces together, make sure the joints are secure and so your fuzzy won’t get caught in the spaces between them.

Water toys – Some ferrets, but definitely not others (like Rikki and Possum), love to play in the water, so it is great fun to watch them romp in a dishpan of water. Do supervise them at all times, and be sure the pan you use has at least one side that is no taller than 2 inches so your ferret can get out safely.  Put a washcloth or a hand towel at the bottom of a pan with a smooth surface. The water should be warm but not too hot or too cold. If your ferret is skittish at its first few attempts at water play, hold it and gently put its feet in the water, just as you would with a toddler.

Play yards – Some ambitious ferret owners build ferret runs and play yards. These allow their pets to run around freely without disrupting the rest of the household. If you decide to build one, make sure the walls are securely attached to each other. If you use fencing, make sure the holes are no more than 1 inch in diameter so your fuzzies won’t escape and predators can’t get in. The flooring should be solidly built of linoleum or some other hard surface. If you use a bedding material, do not use wood chips (splinters) or old newspaper (which your fuzzy could use as a litter box).

People and pets – Ferrets are very social beings, so their favorite toys are people and animals, especially other ferrets. Even these toys have an element of danger however. A toddler or anyone who has not been around ferrets will not know how to handle them correctly and may drop or otherwise endanger them.  They also may not know how to keep a ferret from becoming a little nipper.

Supervise your ferret in these and other circumstances until you are certain everyone is safe and respectful of boundaries.

No matter what you use as ferret toys, be sure they are inspected regularly.  Repair or replace any toys that have become worn out or are missing pieces. Make sure people or pets are completely comfortable with your ferrets – and your ferrets are comfortable with them.

For a more through treatment of ferret safety and ferret toys, both commercially produced and homemade ferret toys, take a look at Getting Started with Pet Ferrets.