What You Need

What will I need to take care of my ferret?

You will need:

  • Food: Ferrets will need a good-quality food (ex. Zupreem, Path Valley, The Ferret Store Superior Choice), a water bowl and bottle (a hard-to-tip bowl for when they are out of their cage).
  • Supplements: Linatone or Ferretone for the vitamins and trimming their nails. Bitter Apple or something similar to prevent them from chewing things. And Petromalt or Laxatone for hairballs.
  • Cage and litter items: You will need a litter box and ferret-safe litter and good bedding for them to sleep in (not wood shavings).
  • Cleaning items: Ferret shampoo or good baby shampoo for bathing. Pet claw clippers (or large human-nail clippers)
  • Toys (ferretproofed)

What should I feed my ferret?

The key ingredients in any food for ferrets are fat and protein, specifically animal protein. Find a quality ferret food that has a high protein content and minimal fiber and ash. Ferrets have very short digestive cycles, so vegetable proteins and high amounts of fiber are not good for them. Use a food that has chicken, turkey, beef, or lamb. Most ferrets don’t like fish and it may make their litter pan smell worse. The food should have 35% protein and 20% fat, and animal protein should be the first ingredient and at least two or three of the next few.

Unless your ferret is overweight, you should just keep her bowl full and let her eat as much as she wants.

What food to use

There are a number of ferret foods available now. Totally Ferret for Active Ferrets was specifically designed for ferrets and is available in most pet stores at this point. In addition, The Ferret Store also has their own brand that many ferrets enjoy.You may want to try some different brands to see which your ferret prefers. Path Valley Farm and Zupreem also offers a super premium formula that is not only high in protein and fat but also super digestible, so your ferret will actually eat less, which means less waste.

Please note that most of the foods with ferret pictures on the bags weren’t designed for ferrets either — they were designed for mink or cats and maybe modified slightly, and priced twice as high. You should check the label to make sure it will be good for them!!!

If you are unable to find a quality ferret food, some people have used kitten food. If you need to do this, you should use only high-quality cat food, such as Innova Evo, Felidea, or ProPlan kitten. High-quality food may cost a bit more than grocery store brands, but your pet will eat a lot less and be much healthier.

Soft cat food is not good for ferrets, partly because it generally contains much less protein than the dry kind and partly because it isn’t hard enough to rub plaque off their teeth and can lead to tooth decay. However, very young kits and those recovering from illness or surgery may need their food moistened with water for a week or two. Note that moistened food spoils much more quickly than the same food left dry, so dump out leftovers every day.

Dog food is NOT acceptable, as it lacks some nutrients ferrets (and cats) need. Among other things, ferrets and cats both need taurine, which is found naturally in poultry; many cat and ferret foods supplement it as well.


Ferretone and Linatone are similar vitamin supplements that nearly every ferret considers a wonderful treat. They are also one of the most common treats, since nearly every ferret loves them. They’re very similar and can be used interchangeably, although their exact composition is a bit different. Both of these contain vitamin A, which can be very harmful or even fatal in excess, though it probably takes a whole lot more than you’d ever give your ferret. Still, some people prefer to dilute them 50/50 with olive oil or vegetable oil (not mineral oil), which shouldn’t hurt. Also, as with hairball remedies, too much Ferretone or Linatone can give your ferrets loose stools. No more than a few drops to one pump a day is recommended, and it’s not thought to be necessary to give them any at all if you’re using a good food.

Bitter Apple is a bad-tasting liquid or paste intended to stop pets from chewing things. The paste will probably be much more effective. You may want an H-type harness and a leash for walks.

Hairball remedies

Many people give their ferrets a small amount of a cat hairball remedy such as Laxatone or Petromalt on a regular basis. This can help them pass the styrofoam, rubber bands, and such that they seem to love to eat, as well as helping to prevent hairballs from fur swallowed during grooming. Even better, most ferrets seem to think of this as a wonderful treat, too. As with all treats and supplements, give them only in moderation. Give them once or twice a week (giving 1/2″-1″) and everday during shedding season.

What are good treats?

Treats containing sugar can be harmful, especially if a ferret has insulinoma (low blood glucose). Totally Ferret makes a very safe, good treat.