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Pet Vets Specializing in Exotics: Medical & Preventive Care for Domestic Ferrets


Ferrets are intelligent and delightful companions, but require an educated owner and a veterinarian skilled in the care of these special pets. They require more attention than some smaller pocket pets and have unique needs that may not appeal to everyone.

Your Acacia veterinarians are well trained in the care of domestic ferrets and are supportive in educating the ferret owner about the special needs of these animal companions.

Ferrets as Pets

Domestic ferrets are small, furry mammals related to the weasel family. This companion is at the large end of the pocket pet category, weighing from one to five pounds at maturity.

Similar to cats, ferrets are small and quiet. Like dogs, ferrets are affectionate, playful, and independent while enjoying human interaction. Their intelligent curiosity and mischievous nature makes them entertaining and lots of fun.

Ferrets are highly trainable and respond well to positive reinforcement techniques. They can be taught to recognize their name, respond to verbal and visual commands, and even do tricks. Ferrets can also be litter box trained.

Unlike the otter, weasel, and badger, your pet ferret is not a wild animal. Remember: If your ferret escapes outdoors, it cannot survive more than a few days. There is also a chance someone will not recognize that it is a ferret and, out of fear, may mistake it for a gopher and may actually try to harm your beloved pet. Therefore, it is important to ensure a safe, secure home for your pet ferret. While ferrets are not wild animals, they are illegal to be kept as pets in California. However, as veterinarians, we are not required to, and we do not, report these animals or their owners to any government agency.

Ferret Nutrition & Diet

A balanced diet and proper nutrition are essential to a ferret's health and longevity. Ferrets are strict carnivores, requiring a diet of highly digestible animal protein with almost no carbohydrates.

Ferrets imprint on their food during the first year of life. During that time, we recommend a mix of kibble and meats so they become accustomed to different flavors.

  • Raw or whole prey diet—This consists of meats, bones, and organs offered in proper proportions. Whole prey diets rely on feeding frozen mice, chicks, and other small animals much like one would feed a reptile. When feeding raw or whole prey, food does not need to be left available at all times.
  • Dry food diet—This consists of high-quality ferret or cat foods sold by pet shops, feed stores, and veterinarians with at least 36% protein, moderate in fats, and low in carbohydrates. When fed a dry diet, ferrets must have access to food at all times.

Because ferrets have short digestive tracts and fast metabolisms, they generally eat only to caloric need. Typically, they will not gorge themselves simply because food is available.

Ferret Vaccines

Our veterinarians will customize a disease prevention plan that meets the needs of your ferret. Typically, ferrets are vaccinated for canine distemper and rabies.

The American Ferret Association offers this helpful guide regarding vaccinations for your pet ferret.

The following are resources for ferret owners:

For more information click here for Ferrets Anonymous