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SMALLPET / new pets

A Set-Up Guide for New Ferret Parents

Tips for home, health and fun


Six things to know about your new ferret

  • Ferrets can live from seven to nine years
  • They can grow up to 20 inches long
  • Ferrets are more active during the day
  • They sleep soundly, sometimes even while being picked up and carried around
  • They may have a very strong odor; particularly unaltered male ferrets.
  • They’re best for experienced pet parents

Your ferret’s home

Social and inquisitive, ferrets can live happily in pairs or groups. Your ferret will need a well-ventilated cage that’s at least 30 x 29 x 18 inches (bigger if it houses multiple ferrets). It should be large enough to hold a food dish, a water bottle and a hiding house. The habitat should have separate areas for ferrets to exercise — a multilevel cage will help them get their workout — sleep and do their business.

Keep the habitat out of direct sunlight in an area with low humidity; its temperature should range between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ferrets can be litter-box trained; just put a triangular litter pan in a corner of the cage, far from their food and water. It is best to use pelleted litter, such as recycled paper pellets.

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Playing and grooming

Ferrets love to have a little private area of their own. Get each of your ferrets a hammock or tent for sleeping and hanging out.

Ferrets like to chew on hard plastic or cloth toys; they also enjoy, um, “ferreting” out the best route through play tunnels.

For exercise, you can put ferrets in an escape-proof playpen or even walk them on a leash.

As friendly and smart as ferrets are, they don’t mix well with cats and dogs, so keep these species separate.

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Help keep your ferret healthy

Try not to handle new ferrets for three or four days after bringing them home to give them time to adjust.

Don’t let ferrets play on mattresses or foam cushions, because they may be tempted to chew and swallow pieces of these soft items. For the same reason, never give ferrets toys made of soft rubber or foam.

Whether your ferret is new or settled-in, if you notice any of these signs of stress or illness, contact a veterinarian with small-animal experience:

  • Cloudy, sunken or swollen eyes
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Bare patches in fur
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Weight loss; not eating or drinking normally
  • Sneezing; discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth
  • Diarrhea or discolored droppings


Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured ™ program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets. Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.

The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.