OK, we’re about a week early (fall officially starts Tuesday, September 22), but we’re really excited about ferrets. So excited, in fact, that for every ferret we sell between now and October 8, The Animal Store will donate $25 to the Greater Chicago Ferret Association.

On October 8, the Greater Chicago Ferret Association is sponsoring the Greatest Ferret Show on Earth. Held at the Kane County Fair Grounds (525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles), tickets are $7 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under, and $14 for the family. Proceeds go to the Greater Chicago Ferret Association’s no-kill shelter. Look for one of our favorite vets from Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, who will be giving a speech about heart disease in ferrets in the late afternoon.

For every ferret we sell between now and October 8, The Animal Store will donate $25 to the Greater Chicago Ferret Association

Speaking of our favorite vets, here they are to offer answers to some of your most frequently asked ferret questions.

Ask the Vet … about ferrets

Q: What does a first time owner need to know about ferrets?

A: Ferrets are true carnivores. This means they need meat-based protein, such as Marshall ferret kibble or even whole prey. The majority of pet ferrets (including those at The Animal Store) come from a place called Marshall farms. These ferrets have already been spayed or neutered, and are de-scented (which means the glands that produce strong smells have been removed). Ferrets typically live 7-9 years, and both females and males reach maturity between 8-12 months.

Ferrets are very friendly and active, playing often, but they also love to sleep on and off throughout the day. Like cats, ferrets can be litter-box trained fairly easily. Simply keep the litter box tidy and empty it daily. If your ferret is not using the litter box, pick up the feces and place them in the litter box. This helps ferrets understand the idea of where to defecate. Be sure to empty the box at the end of every day.

Young ferrets are commonly rascals, getting into things or trying to eat things they should not, so always be aware of where your ferret is and what he or she is doing. Ferrets can get a gut upset that causes soft, slimy stool and is a serious illness. If you notice this, see a vet trained in exotic pet care as soon as possible. 

Q: What routine vet visits are needed for a ferret?

A: Plan on seeing an exotic pet vet twice a year with your ferret: once for an annual exam and a distemper booster, and once for a rabies vaccine. Young ferrets may also require more visits that initial year if any irregularities are noted. At the annual exam, we recommend a fecal assessment to check for bacterial upsets and parasites. If your ferret goes outdoors, we also strongly suggest heart-worm testing and prevention. Lastly, for ferrets three years and older, we highly recommend blood work to assess organ functions and signs of infections or other abnormalities.  

Ask the Vet is a regular feature on The Animal Store Blog. We have teamed up with the great veterinarians at Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, who will answer your most pressing pet questions right here! Do you want to see your question answered on the blog? Leave a comment below or submit it on our contact form.
Photo credit: GaborfromHungary via