Ferret Diet:  Kibble, Canned, or Raw?

Ferret Diet: Kibble, Canned, or Raw?

How important is your ferret’s nutrition to you?  Wouldn’t you agree that it’s easier to just buy a bag of kibble and pour it, then with full confidence be under the assumption that you are doing exactly what you should for your ferret’s nutritional needs?  Importantly and according to 30 year veterinarian, Dr. Susan Brown, DVM, “Ferrets have been domesticated since 350 BC, but it is only in the last 40 years that we have changed their diet from raw foods to commercially processed foods (kibble).  We have made the change primarily because we, the public, have demanded a uniformly easy to feed and hopefully nutritious food that allows us to successfully keep ferrets in our homes.  I think everyone would agree that it is easier to pour little bits of food out of a bag than to go out and find or purchase and prepare meat items to feed.  But the question is are we really providing a healthy ferret diet using processed foods?  Is it really possible to take raw food, grind it up, heat it to high temperatures, add ingredients that are not part of the normal diet, add back nutrients altered or destroyed during processing, press it into amusing shapes, adding vegetables and plant proteins, which mustelids are physiologically incapable of digesting, and have this be the equivalent of the natural diet”?  Dr. Brown goes on to answer that very question.  “I have yet to see one that I believe is completely appropriate for ferrets.  Let’s take a look at the composition of these diets and compare that to what we know of ferret nutrition.  We have discussed that...
Ferret Contribution

Ferret Contribution

So…you’ve wondered or have had the feeling as to how you can reach out and support ferrets generally, not just your own.  You would be shocked to know just how many ferrets are neglected, caged for long periods of time, lack human socialization and enrichment, are abused, and ultimately given up or taken by animal control authorities, or ferret rescues.  Ferret shelters are literally bursting at the seams in the United States. Is donating to help shelters and sanctuaries necessary?  Overwhelmingly, YES!  Ferrets who are not in loving and caring homes, need everyone’s help.  You nay not even be a ferret owner, but simply love all animals, and want to curb abuse and neglect. Whether you help by choosing a ferret charitable organization by adding them as your choice at AmazonSmile or iGive, where a portion of each of your purchases goes to your selected organization (must be 501(c)(3) registered), or you find a cause, shelter, rescue, or sanctuary you wish to support by volunteering, or just ordering, and sending particular items of need to these shelters and sanctuaries, bidding and shopping the ferret sales online and online auctions.  Another way to help is to donate to the organization directly through financial support, whether your donation is directly to the charitable organization or to that organization’s veterinarian. Ferret shelters, rescues, transportation, sanctuary care is expensive and very hard on all those involved.  Corporate assistance is sometimes available, but these organizations mostly run on donations and by holding fund-raisers and auctions.  We must all participate generally speaking by simply giving from our hearts. There is no better feeling than knowing that you have...
Ferret R*E*S*C*U*E… The Bean Story

Ferret R*E*S*C*U*E… The Bean Story

Recently, I had to rescue a ferret. Although all my ferrets are currently recues, I never really put much emphasis on what “Rescue” really meant until I was introduced to Bean. Bean is a long Black-eyed White with a black spot between his shoulders and black tail that was malnourished and dehydrated and very close to death. He couldn’t stand, so, when he could, he urinated on himself and then slowly dragged himself until he reached a drier spot. Bean could barely open his eyes, you could see every bone in his body and his nails looked like something out of a horror story. You could literally see and smell the death consuming him. But he still had that little gleam in his eyes that told me he was a fighter. When I first saw him I was devastated, to say the least. I was also a little scared since I was in my truck (I drive a truck throughout the lower 48 states) and, due to some very expensive repairs done on my truck, I also had very little money to spend on care for Bean. But, I wanted to give this little fella a good life and I’m rather stubborn, so we did what we could, so I called Susie and we discussed what needed to be done asap. Well, as I said, all this got me to thinking about what RESCUE really meant (at least in ferret terms) and I thought I’d share it with you. I’m a lover of words and, as you’ll soon see, enjoy having fun with acronyms. R*E*S*C*U*E React to an Emergency...
Just Ferrets

Just Ferrets

– By Brian Carr, WWFS Educational Director and Blogger – Mustela Ferrets ( Putoris Furo), a domesticated, direct descendant of the European Polecat (Mustela Putorious) who is native to the European Nations. There is a lot of false thoughts and data ‘out there’.  For example, the domestication of ferrets was NOT began, nor has never been a part of Egyptian culture, secondly ferrets do not bite unless in fear, abused, come from bad breeding, or are forced to do so as a manner, they perceive to be threatened and they will do so as a protective measure.  Did you realize that the majority of ferrets in the United States are Marshall Farm (which is the largest ferret breeder)?  If you (and I hope  you don’t) purchase a pet store ferret, it’s a Marshall.  Marshall breeds primary for labs and scientific research, and those ferrets, for whatever reason, don’t make the selection process, are sold as pets.  The large amount of money received by Marshall is from labs, not the pet sales.  It’s always best to find a Small and reputable breeder to get your pet ferret, or simply adopt/or re-home.  Never “shop”, rather adopt. NOTE:  NEVER MISTAKE A MUSTELA PUTORIOUS FURO WITH THE HIGHLY ENDANGERED NORTH AMERICAN BLACK-FOOTED FERRET (Mustela Nigripes).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-footed_ferret#mediaviewer/File:Mustela_nigripes_2.jpg Ferrets are great household pets because they are not elusive as cats are and do no have the extreme demands of dogs.  Domesticated ferrets are ideal and playful, energetic, and simply go in every direction at the same time.  They’re like kittens who just never grow up.  But keep in consideration that in the United States, ferrets have...
FERRET BITING AND NIPPING

FERRET BITING AND NIPPING

I have had several posts regarding this subject lately on the sites that I moderate, so I believe an article is in order. Ferrets should never place their teeth on anything but food, toys, or during play with other ferrets (this is instinctual).  There is a difference between nipping and biting.  Nipping is something that’s done as a part of playing.  Also, the younger of kit, the more likely he is to be nippy.  Just like babies of other species, ferrets have teething pain.  It feels good to them to bite, but it’s important they learn as early as possible that it’s never okay for them to put their teeth on anything but food, toys, or in play, with other ferrets.  Ferrets have extremely tough skin, unlike humans. Biting, however, is a different matter.  This is normally to be the cause of fear.  But additionally, contributions include poor breeding, anxiety, pain, and if startled.  A bite to humans is usually painful, and a bite is far different that nipping.  For example, of my four, my hybrid nips at my feet only if I’m wearing socks.  He’s called a carpet shark.  But the good news is that ferrets don’t bite nearly as often as people believe they do.  Dogs far exceed and hold the biting record, more often than not, putting people in the Emergency Room and if a ferret does bite children, that is solely the parents’ fault, not the ferret’s. Bite prevention is the best way you can handle any aggression…regardless of it’s reason.  Some guaranteed methods are: Let your ferret know that it’s you before you try...
FERRETS AND FLEAS

FERRETS AND FLEAS

VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING FLEAS AND FERRETS     Infestation of the Ctenocephalides felis, the cat flea, is the most common flea that affects ferrets. However, ferrets that are allowed to go outside, especially grassy areas, where the fleas reside, will most likely become a host ferret. Fortunately, all fleas are susceptible to the same treatments. Flea droppings which have dissolved into a red color on a wet, white paper, However, fleas bite and suck blood from the wounds they make, causing anemia. They cause itchy skin and sometimes allergies that make the hair fall out. Ferrets are such small animals that they can be seriously debilitated by a heavy flea burden. It is easy to prove to yourself that fleas ingest blood. Simply comb out of the animal’s coat some of the black fecal droppings left by the fleas, and sprinkle them on a damp paper towel. Immediately the paper will turn red with the pet’s partly digested blood. Some species of fleas transmit bubonic plague in the south western United States. When your ferrets and other pets have been infested for a while, most of the fleas will be in your house (they are even known to breed and multiply inside of your vacuum cleaner), not on the animals. Any flea control program has to kill not only fleas on all pets that spend any time in the house, but also everywhere the animals can go. The most intense effort should be concentrated on the areas where the ferrets, cats, or dogs sleep. Eggs will hatch into larvae in these areas. Larvae eat the droppings of mature...

PRODUCT REVIEW: LITTER

In this article, it’s really necessary to tackle the litter topic for litter box trained ferrets, as there are so many varieties available as well as name brands; all claiming to be the “best” with most label claims that are misleading and/or just are not true. I am constantly being asked to provide advice on which litter works best and which one I recommend or use, and in 23 years of keeping ferrets, trust that I’ve seen and tried them all, and I am very aware that each ferret owner has his/her preference and budget. It goes without saying that there are a few things to consider when considering a litter for your ferret(s), such as cost, their composition (i.e., clay vs. corn cob), scoopable versus non-scoopable, absorbancy, ease of cleaning up, odor control (despite label claims), and most importantly, the ferret’s health (i.e., respiratory). First let’s categorize the litters into individual groups: Pelleted Wood Stove Pellets Non-Scoop Dried Clay Scoopable (Clay and Otherwise) Corncob or other Plant and Wood Materials (*** NEVER use cedar products around ferrets ***) Newspaper It’s fairly safe to say that most caregivers prefer a litter that is scoopable and no matter which of these general products you decide is best for you, being virtually dust-free and perfume free is mandatory for ferret health. Though all litter will have anywhere from a large amounts of dust to very minimal. However, the absorbency is where odor control comes into the equation, not perfumes or scents. One of the first things you may very quickly learn is that ferrets prefer to use the bathroom in corners.  They have...

Our Community Sometimes Seems to be a Ferret Jihad

Being very involved in our community, many times, especially in the past few months, we are so ill-spirited and divisive, it’s very similar to ferret “Jihad”. I know that jihad is very sensitive and a bit over-the-top, but there is SO much bickering.  It is very, very sad. We need camaraderie NOT all the bickering! Some of our most used groups and sites seem to be at each other’s throat.  Why?  I mean I know that when compared to other animal owners, ferret owners are, generally speaking, a very, very compassionate people, but having said that, instead of the direct attacks, banning, and ‘unfriendliness’, we really need to be here for our community members, regardless of whether you agree 100% or not, and I know that no one always agrees, but I have seen over and over again, ferret owners around the globe would rather cut throats than reach out a hand and educate.  Is this really what is good for our beloved ferrets?  NO! We really need to draw ourselves closer and try and share information in order to help ferret owners and when necessary, make our mission to gently educate.  Whether it comes down to ferret diet, litter, caging, free-roam, partial free-roam, and overall ferret husbandry.  Remember, we don’t all post in the same tone.  But that does not give you license to attack the poster.  Like our ferrets, gentleness will go miles more in helping people. Lets say Facebook groups, for example.  If there is a group or site that isn’t a ‘match’ for you, then don’t post there and just simply don’t visit that site....

FERRET HELP IN NYC

** URGENT ACTION NEEDED FOR FERRETS! *** – January 2015 ————————————————————- New York City Ferret Ban: YOUR help is needed! TO VIEW IN YOUR BROWSER, USE:  http://us8.campaign-archive1.com/… Although some news sources have stated the ban on keeping ferrets in New York City, including the 5 boroughs, has already been overturned, it’s not true – YET. Ferret advocate Ariel Jasper and her organization, Ferret Club of New York City, introduced a petition to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to allow ferrets. Everyone who wants to see ferrets safe in the City needs to comment immediately. The hearing at the Department of Health on removing ferrets from their list of banned animals will be January 21. Significant points are: Ferrets only be allowed neutered or spayed; Ferrets must have a rabies vaccination. Additionally, both Ariel and FACT strongly agree that commercial sales of ferrets in the City will NOT benefit ferrets. Experienced ferret lovers know that too often, stores sell animals without proper care information and fad/impulse buys lead to abandonment or worse—ferrets dead from abuse/neglect. If this ruling passes, the NY City Council will issue final regulations in 6 months, but we suggest you also ask right now to not allow pet store sales of ferrets. Please focus on two points: Allow altered ferrets; do not allow pet store sales. All the ways you can comment are listed below. We’ve also included a very simple sample letter you can use. We are urging everyone reach out to friends, family, co-workers—anyone who can be cajoled into signing a letter of support or making an online comment. Share this on Facebook!...

POLECATS AND FERRETS IN MODERN TIMES AND IN HISTORY

Did you know that the domesticated ferret’s direct descendant is actually the European Polecat? The latin name for the European Polecat is “Mustela Puturious” and the latin name for the Domesticated Ferret is, “Mustela Putorious Furo”. The addition of the latin word “furo” to the European Polecat’s latin name is all the more evidence that ferrets are their direct descendants.  “Furo” was added to distinguish the two animals and it actually comes from the Latin word, meaning, “little thief”. ‘Furo’ was added on by the Romans according to the reliable resources. For additional information, the ferret’s scientific classification is: – Kingdom: Animalia – Phylum: Chordata – Class: Mammalia – Order: Obligate Carnivora – Family: Mustelidae – Genus: Mustela – Species: Mustela Putorious [Polecat] and add on “Furo” [Domesticated Ferret] Where does the word “polecat” and “ferret” come from anyway?  Regarding “polecat”, one theory connects the word or name with the French words “poule” (meaning chicken) and “chat” (cat), and we have to admit (especially us raw feeders) that polecats and ferrets alike are partial to a plump and juicy chicken at feeding time. “Ferret”, according to the dictionary means, to drive out, to search out, discover, or bring to light..” It may come as a surprise to a few ferret lovers and owners to learn, especially in the United States that there’s approximately 5 – 7 million household pet ferrets that were recorded in the latest census poll (2013). Their attraction is because they are naturally friendly, brave, fearless, talkative, indefatigably curious, and playful, as well as quite prepared to accept humans. They don’t ‘fawn’ like some dogs and they’re not aloof as some cats. They just don’t complain in any form. Just unconditional love. They’re...