The Ultimate Cost of Owning a Ferret

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Pets do not come cheap, especially those pets that serve as companions such as dogs, cats and yes ferrets. If you are thinking about getting a ferret then you should definitely consider the cost of keeping one. It’s never bad to be prepared.

The ultimate cost of owning a ferret? The purchase cost of a ferret can vary between $65 to even more than $250. But buying the ferret is actually just part of the whole cost. You can expect to pay $160 to $360 for vaccinations and other things that your ferret needs.

There are lots of things other than just the vaccinations and the food you give to your ferrets that you have to pay for. Let’s know more in the rest of the article!

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Ferrets actually have the following expenses

  • Health care
  • Purchase
  • Set up
  • Supplements and food
  • Other costs

Purchase

Ferrets from pet stores cost around $120 to $300. The price for a younger ferret is much more different than that of an older ferret. Marshall Farms is actually the largest ferret breeder in the United States of America and most of the pet shops in America get their ferrets from there. Marshall has a monopoly when it comes to ferrets, but it does help to keep the cost of ferrets relatively low.

All the ferrets from the Marshal farms are spayed, neutered and de-scented. This means that the cost of surgery is also included in the purchase price of the ferret.

If you chose to buy a ferret from an independent breeder then it will most probably cost you more and that would be usually over $300. Later you might also have to additionally pay to neuter or get your ferret spayed and de-scented.

Set Up

If you want to keep your ferret healthy and happy, then you need to provide it with some basic equipment.

A cage

A cage is very important if you want to keep a ferret. A cage comes in handy when you do not have time to supervise your ferret or if you have to go outside. You can put your ferret in a cage and not worry about its safety. A cage also gives the ferret a place that is just his, his territory.

Ferrets are very active animals and they jump and move around a lot. That’s why ferrets require a lot of space and so you need to get your ferret a large cage with plenty of space to move around.

If you have multiple ferrets then you need an even larger cage. Small spaces make ferrets miserable and you do not want an unhappy ferret. A very large cage will cost you around $100.

And for ferrets, you need a cage that has metal wires that are not far apart. Ferrets have slender bodies and they are escape artists. They will try to get out from anywhere they can, your ferret even ends up being stuck and injure itself.

You need a cage that has limited space between the bars and one that has a solid horizontal floor not a wire floor in order to protect the paws of the ferret from getting hurt.

Multi-level cages are ideal for ferrets as they provide the ferrets’ ample room to move around and they can easily carry all the essentials the ferrets need such as litter boxes, food, and water dishes and bedding. Such a cage will cost you around $200 to $300 at the very least.

Do not keep your ferrets in aquariums or tanks as those are very unsanitary and unhygienic for ferrets. The cage will probably cost you more than the ferret itself.

If you do not invest in a good cage, you will have a lot more to worry about as ferrets cause havoc if they are left unsupervised and you will obviously not have the time to watch them every second of every hour of every day. So it’s best to just buy a solid cage to protect yourself as well as your fuzzy little friend.

Litter box

The litter box is very important. If you want your ferret to stop making a mess and pooping everywhere, then you need to invest in more than one litter box. Buy a litter box that is large enough to fit your ferret and has lower sides so that your ferret can easily go in and out of the litter box.

A good litter box will cost you around $10 to $20. You can even use puppy training pads for the corners of the rooms that the ferrets are allowed to roam around in, each costs $20.

You have to be very careful in choosing the litter. Get a litter that is unscented and not does clump up. Shredded paper and newspaper are actually the best kinds of litter and they will also cost you absolutely nothing. This kind of litter is also safe for your ferret and very easy to clean.

Bedding

Bedding is very important for ferrets if you want to stick to a budget then just go ahead and use shredded newspaper as bedding and not wood chips.

You can also just use old rags, blankets or towels as bedding, if you want to go a little fancy, then you can purchase bedding from pet stores such as hammocks. They might cost you a little more.

Food dish

A food dish does not need to be something very special. Just pick up a small ceramic or metal bowl but remember to attach it to the cage as ferrets tend to kick the dishes around and spill all their food thus making a mess. A fish dish that easily screws into the cage bars will cost you around $5 to $20.

Toys

Ferrets love rubber toys just like the ones dogs play with; those will cost you around $5 to $20 each. Cat toys with strings are also good and will cost about $5 to $20 each and the knotted toys will be around $5 to $20.

You really do not have to buy several of these and just a few of them will do. You will also have to replace the toys at least once a year.

If you are on a budget then ferrets love playing with balls, cardboard boxes, old shoes, socks, and empty toilet rolls. Ferrets are very easy to entertain. You can even make tunnels for them using PVC pipes or soda cans and bottles.

Water bottle or water dishes

Just like the food dish the water dishes are also not very expensive. You can also buy water bottles for around $5 to $15, but ferrets actually prefer to drink water from a dish.

A ceramic or metal water dish that you can screw onto the cage bars will cost you around $5 to $20 each. You need to ensure that your ferret has access to fresh clean water at all hours of the day. It is vital for the health of the ferret to be hydrated throughout the day.

Things to hide in

Ferrets hate to sleep in the open and they always end up going into small spaces. Inside their cage, you need to add things that they can hide in just like a shoebox. You can buy a lot of things which go from $5 to 40 dollars. Or just choose the simple old shoe box which will cost you absolutely nothing.

Kennel or Carrier

Taking your ferret places is not the easiest thing. As mentioned before they are notorious escape artists. You can use a carrier or a kennel to take your ferret from one place to another. It is best to invest in a high-quality carrier even before purchasing a ferret. A good durable and safe carrier will cost you around $20 to $50. A carrier is a much better mode of transportation than a cardboard box.

Supplements and Food supplies

Food

The cost of food actually depends on the kind of food you want to feed your ferret and what quality it is. The more in bulk you buy, the cheaper it is. You can even buy food packets as large as 50lb at some of the pet stores. The 7lb bags of food cost around 30 dollars in pet stores and if you buy them online, then you can get them for as less as $19 exclusive of the shipping cost. For an adult ferret, a 7lb bag will last for about 2 to 3 months, but kits eat much more.

Most of the pet owners buy in smaller quantities as it is much easier to store and it is less likely to go bad. But if you have a lot of space, then you can get a large, sealed plastic pet food container that will cost you around 20 dollars to store about 10 to 50lbs of ferret food at one time. This will help you get food at a much cheaper rate.

The quality of food will also have a deep impact on your budget. Naturally more quality food will cost you much more but if you want to keep your ferret healthy, then do not sacrifice the quality of food you provide your ferret to save a few dollars.

You can also find things at your home that you can feed your ferrets, such as raw eggs, raw chicken and raw turkey. You can also feed your ferret fish, but that will make your ferret smell even worse.

Do not feed your ferret vegetables and fruits as the ferrets do not have a digestive system that can easily digest fiber. Also remember to steer clear from chocolates, grains, dairy products, and human leftovers. The food for a year will most probably cost you about 120 dollars.

Supplements

Ferret Lax or a cat hairball remedy

This is something that you might not end up needing right away. You cannot even give the ferret Lax to ferrets that are less than 6 months of age. But you will surely need it later. Like cats, ferrets also end up getting hairballs. But ferrets cannot regurgitate the hairballs as the cats can. So the hairballs just end up staying in the intestine of the ferrets which causes the ferret to lose its appetite, stop eating and ultimately die. Products such as Ferret Lax save your ferret’s life by helping it get rid of hairballs. A 3oz bottle of ferret lac will cost around 15 dollars at your local pet store and you can get it online for as low as 8 dollars exclusive of shipping. If you feed the ferret regularly to get rid of hairballs, then one such bottle will last you around 3 months.

Vitamin supplements

If your ferret does not get the vitamins from the food it eats, then you need to provide it with vitamin supplements. There are many different kinds of vitamin supplements available in the market. The vitamin supplements will help to keep your fuzzy friend healthy, but they can also be used as treats.

The vitamin supplements actually cost around $8 to $16 for a 3oz bottle. It is very vital that you know that vitamins should not be overfed to your ferret as they are supplements, not meals. A 30z bottle should last your adult ferret at least a month and a half and maybe longer. Per year the supplement will cost you about 120 dollars.

Other costs

Litter

The cost of the litter will also depend on the kind and quality of litter that you use. The litter can cost you anywhere from 3 dollars to 30 dollars. The only thing you need to be cautious about is to purchase a litter that is unscented, non-toxic, does not clump and has absolutely no dust at all.

You need to be very careful while buying a litter because ferrets dig around in it, put their noses in the litter and the particles can wreak havoc on the poor ferret’s respiratory system. Ferrets also have a tendency to rub their bottoms on the floor of the litter pan, which causes the clumps to cement against their skin as well as blockages in their anus.

The best kind of litter for your ferrets is paper or shredded newspaper as it is unscented, does not clump up and has no dust at all plus it is very easy to clean.

The marshal Ferret litter is made up of recycled paper and is non-toxic plus great at the absorption and it also does not produce dust that can harm your ferrets. A 10lb bag of the Marshal Ferret Litter will cost you around 20 dollars and it will be enough for a month.

You can also just invest in puppy training pads that you can get for 20 dollars each and place them at the corners of the rooms that the ferrets roam around in. Never use these for the cage of your fuzzy friend as the ferrets will most probably begin to use them as bedding rather than for doing their business in. The litter will cost you at least 20 dollars a month.

Shampoo

Ferrets should only be bathed once in a month. This is because too much bathing can cause the water to strip away oil from the fur of the ferrets and the ferret’s body will begin to produce more oils in order to bridge the gap which makes the ferrets smell even worse than they formally did.

There are shampoos made just for ferrets that will cost you around $5 to $15 for an 8oz bottle. You can use the bottle for years as ferrets should not be bathed often or more than once a month.

Health Care

If you want your ferret to stay healthy and happy, then you need to take it regularly to the vet. Vets are anything but cheap. Your ferret needs to get vaccines for distemper and rabies which will most probably cost you around $20 to $50 each. These vaccines are not that necessary, but it is better to safe then sorry especially if your ferret goes outside a lot.

You also need to get your ferret checked yearly, which will cost you around 70 dollars. If you end up purchasing your ferret from a pet shop, then it is most probable that your ferret will already have been given vaccine shots.

Your ferret might also need to be neutered, spayed or de-sexed. All these will also put a hole in your pocket. Many people who are tired of the ferret odor get their ferret’s glands removed surgically. That costs a lot too.

Repeated Questions

  1. Do ferrets recognize their names? Ferrets are highly intelligent animals and are rather social as well. Ferrets are known to respond to their names and also to visual as well as verbal commands. You can even teach your ferret to do lots of different tricks, but this all requires a lot of patience from your part. You can train your ferret to do its business in the litter box and not go anywhere but the litter box. You can encourage your ferret by positive reinforcement as well as rewarding good behavior with treats. Never scold or shout at your ferret, this will not help to discipline your pet but rather make it scared of you. Ferrets have relatively short attention spans and if you scold your ferret for something that it has already done, then it will not understand why it is being scolded.

How can you punish your ferret? There are many ways by which you can teach and train your ferret or in simple words just punish it. Most people get tired of their ferrets biting them. The ferret bites just to get attention from you. The best way to discourage the ferret from biting you is to immediately distract it by using a toy when it bites you. You can also put the ferret back in its cage when it bites you as time out and then keeps it in the cage for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not let your ferret in the cage for a longer period of time as the timeout will turn into nap time. You can also apply apple cider vinegar in areas that ferret tends to bite a lot. The taste and smell of apple cider vinegar repel ferrets.

How do I know that my ferret is happy? Every owner wants to keep their ferrets happy and healthy. If your ferret is happy, it will definitely let you know. When happy, ferrets tend to dance with joy which is called the weasel dance. Jump around, chase each other or you. They Wagg their tails like dogs and they begin to stalk their toys on you. The exterior of the ferret also indicates if your ferret is in top-notch health. Bright eyes, pink nose, and a shiny coat are all signs that your ferret is happy and healthy. In order to keep your ferret happy you need to provide it with the highest quality food, fresh clean water, a clean spacious cage, lots of toys, human interaction, attention, a companion, cozy bedding and a clean litter box.

Do ferrets like to swim? Most of the ferrets are actually natural swimmers. They tuck in the paws in the front under their chin, poke out their nose and then paddle using their back feet. They use their tail as a rudder. Ferrets just look like they are gliding over water effortlessly. Taking your ferret swimming by offering it a tub occasionally can serve as a good treat and helps to stimulate them physically, but ferrets do not like to put in so much work all the time. They are not huge fans of swimming. You should always supervise your ferret when they are close to bodies of water in which they can drown. Ferrets might not like swimming a lot, but they love to splash around and make messes. Just give your ferret a tub filled with water. Place the tub on a towel in order to avoid a mess when water spills over.

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