Ferret or not to Ferret? Pets as Holiday Gifts.

Saturday, November 29, 2008
Bandit (RIP) Adult Male Panda Ferret

With Christmas around the corner, and knowing that many people buy pets for their children as a gift, I wanted to send out a little information to work with.

I have been happily owned by ferrets since 2004. None of the ferrets who've owned me were purchased by me from any store. They were all adopted from shelters and individuals. I have had as many as six at one time. There is as big of a problem with abandoned ferrets as with any other domestic pet. People acquire them thinking they are similar to owning mice, rats or hamsters, but that is simply not the case.

They are loving, adorable, funny, and a joy to have around so it is no surprise that so many people choose them as household pets. I have been privileged with thousands of hours of laughter with my group and wouldn't trade a single one for anything. They socialize well with other animals. All my dogs and cats have a great time with the ferret gang. If you do not own other animals it is probably a good idea to have two or more ferrets at once.

With that said I would like to strongly encourage everyone to research this animal before deciding to add they to your family. You can read more here: (Copy and paste link in your browser)

http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/rabbit_horse_and_other_pet_care/how_to_care_fo...

There is a video included with the information.

And another site

http://www.ferret-universe.com/care/index.asp

Just do a web search on "ferrets" or "ferret care". There is a wealth of info out there.

They are not like mice and rats and hamsters. They are not rodents as most people believe. They are a specie called Mustella and have very different needs and habits that those pets mentioned above. They require socialization and a great deal of care. While they sleep approximately 16 or more hours per day they need regular contact and time to play and romp about. They have high metabolisms so when they are awake they are going full force. If they are not, there is something wrong.

They are also prone to a number of diseases that can become quite costly. Many cancers and abdominal issues are prominent with ferrets. Some of these health issues require surgeries that can cost hundreds of dollars a pop. The should have regular vet visits like any domestic pet and should get yearly vaccinations.

I have lost more than one ferret to a cancer called adrenal disease, a cancer that is treatable though costly, and affects a very high percentage of domestic ferrets. (More than 90 percent of domestic ferrets are affected.) Left untreated they will lose all their hair, become ill, and eventually die. Treated with surgery (about 400 bucks locally, more if you choose a doctor in the city) their lives are prolonged. Sometimes this cancer returns to attack the remaining gland and a second surgery it recommended.

Ferrets are wonderfully loving pets, but please be aware of the pet you are choosing. Make sure you know the ins and outs of ownership before you buy.

And as always, before buying from a pet store, please consider adopting from a shelter or rescue. Check with the local Humane Society first. If they do not have any ferrets in-house, they can certainly refer you to a nearby shelter who will have more than a few "furry friends" to choose from.

Happy Holidays!

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