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Ferret health and welfare

Read our advice on how to care for your pet ferrets so that they're happy and healthy.

Buying a ferret

  • Do your research before you buy. How have they been bred, what have they been fed and how have they been cared for?
  • Ask the breeder if they have any health or behaviour problems.
  • Check with a vet if you're unsure of anything.

Once you've got your new ferrets, it's best to have them neutered unless you intend to breed from them. Ask your vet about the best neutering and contraception methods for your ferrets.

Ideally, you should also get them microchipped in case they get lost and can be treated quickly if they're injured.

Caring for your ferrets

Ferrets need a proper diet to help prevent lots of common diseases. They'll also need regular grooming to keep their coat in good condition.

If their eating or drinking habits change, ask your vet for advice straight away, as it could be a sign that something's wrong. You should only ever treat your ferrets with medicines that have been recommended for them by a vet. Prescribed medicines for other animals can be very dangerous to ferrets.

Ferret health checks

  • Check your ferrets every day for signs of illness or injury. Stressed ferrets are more likely to become ill.
  • Ensure their nails aren't getting too long
  • Check the condition of their coat and skin. Get someone else to do this if you're away.
  • Annual checks by a vet for diseases and for vaccination against canine distemper (a contagious viral disease)

Ferrets are vulnerable to many infectious diseases, and some (such as flu) can be passed between ferrets and people. Your vet will also advise on treatment for external and internal parasites.

Remember, ferrets feel pain in the same way we do and changes in their behaviour can be early signs of illness or pain.

Finally, it's worth taking out pet insurance to ensure your ferrets are covered for vet treatment if needed.

Find out more