This month we’re talking about all things ferret health-related. To start off with, this week’s video and blog are all about the ferret’s digestive system. Let’s jump in!
Ferrets have a really short digestive system, which means they need to be eating and pooping every three hours. So for instance, if we had our breakfast at eight, our lunch at one and our tea at say 6 o’clock, for ferret, you’d be looking at something like eight o’clock for breakfast, 11 o’clock for elevenses, 2 o’clock for lunch, 5 o’clock for afternoon tea, and so on.
But these wouldn’t just be elevenses and afternoon tea. These are actual big meals like breakfast, lunch and dinner. So they need to be eating a lot more regularly. And for that reason, they also need to be drinking just as regularly, as you might imagine.
And they need to be pooping and weeing just as regularly. To be able to know when your ferret’s poorly you have to know when your ferret’s well. So I strongly encourage you all to start weighing your ferrets on a regular basis.
Weighing your ferrets
We weigh all of our ferrets once a week. We’ve been doing that for over a year, and it means we know exactly what to expect throughout a year in terms of weight fluctuations. This way, we can see very quickly when there’s a downward spike for one of our ferrets. If we haven’t already picked an illness up through the poo, that is a massive indicator that there’s something wrong and we can catch it quite quickly. So I encourage you all to start weighing your ferrets so you know what the normal weight and normal range of weight is.
Monitor their behaviours
Watch the behaviour of each individual ferret as well as keeping an eye on their poop. How their poop looks will depend on what you’re feeding them We feed ferret kibble. That means our ferrets’ poop is quite bulky and brownish in colour. It’s quite dense, and there can be quite a lot of it depending on the size of the ferret.
If you are feeding a raw diet, you might find that there’s a lot less in bulk because there isn’t as much going through their system. It’s in all being used up and the poop might be a lot darker if it’s on a raw diet because the darkness will be a lot of the blood from the raw meat.
Know your vet
Make yourself familiar with your ferret’s behaviours. Take note of what a typical poop looks like and track their weight. Also, register with a vet, get to know them and have them on speed dial.
Work out in advance how much you’re willing to spend on your ferret. That might be a lot or a little, but insurance is quite often a good idea. It could be a great idea to have a trust fund set aside for your pet so that when they start costing a lot of money you have that covered.
Things to be watching for:
👀 Is your ferret normally lethargic? Is he/she becoming more lethargic?
💧Is he/she eating or drinking normally? They should be drinking every three hours. ⚖ Have they lost weight? As
🐾 Has the condition of their fur changed?
😷 Is their skin ‘normal’?
😡 Are they starting to show aggression when they never did before?
🤦🏻♀️ Are they starting to show signs of sexual behaviour when they’re actually neutered? This can be an indication of hormone change, which can be an indication of an illness.
😩 Are they looking weak in general?
How to treat a poorly ferret
So you’ve had your ferret looked at by the vet. You’ve brought them home and they’re in a small, single animal cage. You want an area for bedding. You want water and food as you normally would, and a litter area for them. You’ll need to isolate that animal so that other animals don’t hassle it, but also so you can monitor how much it’s eating and how much it’s pooping.
And also, if you’ve got a poorly ferret, ferrets need to eat every three hours. They don’t stop eating at night time, which means if you’ve got a poorly ferret and it’s struggling to eat on its own, you are responsible for helping it feed, which means you should be there. Have it next to your bed and feed it every two or three hours as necessary.
If you have a poorly ferret now, please do not get in touch with us. Go to see your vet. I cannot stress how important that is. But if you’ve got any other questions around that for future, do get in touch. I’m more than happy to answer your questions or to show you or talk to you through a setup that we have.