Are you going to be bringing a new ferret into your home soon? You’ll be happy to hear that ferrets tend to live a lot longer than most other small pets.
There are times when a ferret might only live for 5 years. But there are also instances in which a ferret will live for well over a decade. There have even been a few ferrets that have come close to hitting the 15-year mark.
You can make sure your ferret is a healthy ferret by putting the right ferret care practices into place. As a pet owner, you’re going to need to create a hospitable home for a ferret and see to it that it gets all the food and water it needs.
Ferrets also tend to be very social and affectionate. So whenever possible, you should try to bring home two ferrets rather than just one. It’ll be what’s best for the ferret health of both of them.
Here are 13 signs you’ll see when you have a healthy ferret on your hands.
1. Bright Eyes
When you have a small pet living in your home, you’ll usually be able to tell a lot about its health simply by looking into its eyes. If its eyes look dull and lifeless, there is a good chance it isn’t in the best health at the moment.
If, on the other hand, you see that your ferret’s eyes are bright and wide, that will be a fantastic sign. It’ll indicate that it’s likely doing well from a health perspective. You shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
2. Clean Eyes, Ears, and Nose
In addition to sneaking a peek at your ferret’s eyes to evaluate its health, you should also check to see how clean its eyes, ears, and nose are. Your ferret will often take care of cleaning itself. Ferrets like to be clean, so they won’t hesitate to do some grooming to keep up their best appearance.
With this in mind, you should look at if your ferret’s eyes, ears, and nose are clean. If they are, this most likely means you have a healthy ferret. But if it’s beginning to look a little unkempt, that might not be the best sign in the world.
3. Shiny Coat
Once you’re done inspecting your ferret’s eyes, ears, and nose, it would be worth taking a gander at the rest of its body. When a ferret is healthy, its coat will shine like no other and give it a great appearance overall.
If you see that your ferret’s coat is glistening, you should feel good about its health. But if you don’t see your ferret’s coat shining at all, that’s when you’ll need to be a little concerned.
This might just mean that you need to take the time to bathe your ferret. Although ferrets will groom themselves for the most part, they will need baths from time to time.
But if you bathe your ferret and you notice its coat still doesn’t have much of a shine to it, this should suggest trouble. You might want to do some more digging to see if your ferret is experiencing health complications.
4. Very Soft
While you’re seeing how your ferret’s coat looks, why not touch it to see how it feels, too? A healthy ferret is going to have more than just a shiny coat. It’ll also have a coat that’s very soft.
This is a big part of the reason why people fall in love with ferrets in the first place. Since ferrets are so affectionate by nature, they enjoy snuggling up next to people with their soft coats.
If you touch your ferret’s coat and find that it isn’t as soft as it normally is, this won’t be a good sign. You might want to give thought to bathing it to see if it brings back the softness. If even that doesn’t do the trick, it might be time to take your ferret to see a veterinarian.
Unfortunately, they are a few parasites that might try to set up shop in your ferret’s coat if they’re ever able to do it. For this reason, you should keep a close eye out for any parasites you might see hanging out in your ferret’s general vicinity.
Ear mites are some of the most common parasites found on ferrets. There are also some ferrets that’ll struggle with flea infestations.
If your ferret stays inside for the most part, you might not need to be too worried about it being impacted by parasites. But you should still look closely at their coats from time to time to see if you’re able to spot any potential parasite problems manifesting.
6. Consistent Weight
The average ferret will typically be anywhere from 1 to 5 pounds. When your ferret is all finished growing, you should have it weighed so you know how much it should weigh on any given day.
From there, you should continue to monitor your ferret’s weight to see if it goes up or down dramatically. If your ferret either gains a lot of weight or loses a lot of weight in a short period of time, it could be a cause for concern.
If your ferret gains too much weight, this could simply be a sign that you’re feeding it too much. Scaling back on how much food you’re giving your ferret could help it come back down to a more acceptable weight.
But if your ferret loses weight and you know you’re giving it enough food, that could be a bad sign. You should look into talking to a vet about this since it could indicate any number of health issues.
7. Eating Enough
Unlike other small pets, ferrets love to eat meat. Any time you provide them with meat, they should chow down on it without any problems.
If you notice that your ferret seems apprehensive when it’s time to eat, that should raise a big red flag for you. There aren’t very many ferrets that will naturally be able to hold off on eating meat that’s presented to them.
If your ferret stops eating like normal, that could contribute to weight loss and other issues. It could also be an indication that your ferret’s health is quickly declining. You will need to figure out how to get your ferret to start eating again if it doesn’t snap out of it within a few days.
8. Drinking Enough
Your ferret will need to do more than just eat enough food to remain healthy. It’ll also need to drink its fair share of water each and every day.
You should provide your ferret with fresh drinking water and encourage it to drink. You should also replace this water a few times per day if you can to make sure it’s always as fresh as can be.
If you ever sense that your ferret isn’t drinking enough water, you’ll need to spring into action and do something about it. Your ferret might begin to get dehydrated before long and suffer health-wise because of it.
9. Extremely Active
It isn’t uncommon at all for some ferrets to sleep up to 18 or even 20 hours each day. If you notice your ferret is sleeping this much, you won’t need to be alarmed.
But when your ferret is finally awake, it should more than make up for the lost time. Most ferrets will be very active, especially at both dawn and dusk.
You should provide your ferret with a place to run around and burn off all its energy. You should also sit up and pay attention if you ever see your ferret acting lethargic. This could be a sign that your ferret isn’t in the best health.
10. Extra Playful
Ferrets won’t just run around without a care in the world when they’re being active during their waking hours. They’re also known to be very playful small pets.
If you have two ferrets, you’ll probably see them playing around a lot when they’re both awake. If you only have one ferret, it might try to bring you into the mix and get you to play with it to keep it entertained.
Whatever the case, you won’t have to worry about your ferret until you see that it isn’t playing as much as usual. A ferret that doesn’t wish to play is sometimes a ferret that isn’t feeling its best.
11. Naturally Curious
Outside of being very active and playful, the average ferret is also going to be as curious as it gets. If it hears a strange sound or senses that something might be different with its surroundings, it’ll often explore to try to see what’s going on.
To you, this might just look like your ferret running around without a care. But it’ll be serious business to your ferret. It’ll be determined to find out what’s happening around it.
If you look at your ferret and it doesn’t seem curious, that’s when you’ll want to start worrying. It may mean that it doesn’t have enough physical or mental energy to explore like it might want to.
12. Always Social
As we’ve alluded to a few times now, ferrets are just about as social as it gets. They love socializing with other ferrets, and they also love socializing with their pet owners once they feel comfortable with them.
As a result, you’re going to find that your ferret will want to come out and play with you any time it notices you walk into a room. If you happen to have a second ferret, it’ll also want to be near this ferret as much as it can be.
There aren’t too many things that can cause a ferret to choose to isolate itself from other ferrets and people. But if your ferret isn’t feeling well, that might be one of the reasons why its social battery will run out.
If your ferret seems to be avoiding other ferrets and even you, you should raise an eyebrow at this type of behavior. It could very well suggest that there’s something wrong with your ferret’s health that’ll need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
13. Loving and Affectionate
When ferrets are being social, they won’t just follow other ferrets and people around. They’ll also aim to get as close to them as they can because of how affectionate they are.
With that being said, you might worry if your ferret suddenly stops wanting to come close to you to snuggle. You might also worry if your ferret loses interest in canoodling with another ferret living in your home.
Your ferret might just be tired and need to take a break for a little bit. But it might also be showing signs of health troubles.
Make it your mission to monitor your ferret whenever it isn’t being social and affectionate toward others. There is a decent chance that its ferret health could be declining. You might even need to arrange to take your ferret to a vet to see what might be happening.
Work to Keep Your Ferret Healthy for Years to Come
Other small pets like hamsters and gerbils aren’t going to last as long as you might like. You might only be able to keep them around for a year or two due to their relatively low life expectancy.
But ferrets are different. When you take good care of a ferret, you shouldn’t be surprised if it sticks around for a decade or even more than that.
Look for each of the signs of a healthy ferret listed here and be sure you always see them. If you don’t, you’ll know it’s time to do some digging into what could be wrong with your ferret.
Read through more articles on our blog to get other great tips on taking care of small pets.