Are you interested in owning a pet ferret? Generally, ferrets are legal in all states in the United States except for California and Hawaii. However, your city or county may have laws against owning one. For example, while ferrets aren’t illegal in the State of New York, they’re banned in New York City. So, it’s best to check with your local government on whether or not you can keep a ferret as an exotic pet.
The price of a ferret at Petsmart or Petco can range between $60 to $250, depending on its sex, age, size, and health condition. Other independent pet breeders may ask for prices higher than that range (starting at $275), while adopting ferrets from a pet shelter may cost around $100. But aside from buying the pet itself, you can expect to spend more to keep it healthy, thriving, and happy. Here are the other costs of owning a ferret.
Vaccination Shots & Medical Checkups
In most cases, if you’ve already purchased a ferret in the pricier range, it should already have had its shots. If you’ve purchased a baby ferret, you’ll need to go to an exotic animal veterinarian to administer three distemper vaccinations between 8 to 14 weeks old, as well as a rabies vaccination anytime at 3 to 4 months old. Vaccinations won’t end there, though. You’ll need to take your ferret back every year for annual distemper and rabies vaccinations.
The cost of checking-up with your exotic animal vet can depend based on their fees and where you live, though based on experience, it can cost around $55 per visit. The vaccine itself can cost up to $20 per shot. And given that ferrets have a life span of 8 to 10 years, the cost of vaccines alone can be as much as $440, not including the costs of a check-up.
The best-case scenario money-wise is that your ferret lives a healthy life and doesn’t need to visit their vet outside of these check-ups. However, you may end up bringing your ferret to the vet for check-ups due to a change in behavior or something to suggest that they are not healthy, which means more visits. Signs you have to look out for include:
- Abnormal weight gain or loss
- Hair loss
- Increased bowel movement
- Difficulty breathing
- Questionable discharge
- Skin wounds and lesions
- Overgrown and ingrown nails
- Dental conditions
Emergency visits can cost between $100 to $160, depending on the time of the day and not including the medicine and other tools used on your ferret.
Food & Treats
Ferrets are strict carnivores and will eat animals or animal products. As much as possible, you’ll want to feed them human-grade raw meat and bones (human-grade meaning it can be served to humans if cooked) because pet meat products contain preservatives that are unhealthy to ferrets. However, if this is too expensive, high-quality kitten food is also a good alternative, but at moderate amounts. This may cost you around $15 a month since ferrets do not consume a large amount of food.
Ferrets will also need fresh clean water. You can place your ferret’s food and water in stainless steel bowls that will cost up to $20, depending on the pet store you go to.
Cages & Carriers
Your ferret will need time outside its cage. However, that doesn’t mean you should buy your ferret a small cage just because of its size. Ferrets can be stressed in overcrowded or tight spaces, which can make it prone to several diseases. Large cages can reach up to $250. You’ll also want to consider getting a carrier for your ferret for when you’re traveling with it. This can cost you another $200.
Sleeping Place & Toys
Your ferret’s cage will need a hammock or somewhere for them to sleep comfortably since they can sleep for up to 18 hours every day. This can cost you around $30, depending on whether you buy a hammock or a pet bed. To stimulate them, they will also need different kinds of toys that can cost up to a hundred dollars. This includes toys that they can bite on.
Litter Box & Litter
The average litter box (the flat pan type) can cost less than $35, but special types of litter boxes can range between $15 up to $500. For hygienic purposes, you’ll want to clean your ferret’s litter box every day, which could mean spending as much as $20 worth of litter every month.
Neutering pets greatly reduces the risk of diseases from the reproductive system. It also removes the excess hormones that make them in the heat on certain seasons, leading them to want to escape your home to find another ferret to mate with. Aside from the cost of taking a trip to your local exotic pet vet, the cost of neutering your pet can cost between $150 to 300.
The cost depends on the fees your vet provides and your ferret’s sex. Female pets are generally more expensive to neuter than male pets. You may also need to pay for other fees for the medicine and other things needed while your pet recovers from the surgery.
Keeping your pet clean will require a lot of supplies, including:
- Cleaning tools for your pet’s habitat ($10-20)
- Pet grooming services ($25-50 per visit, recommended once every 2 weeks)
- DIY Grooming
- Ferret shampoo & conditioning spray ($5-$12)
- Nail trimmer ($5-$7)
- Ear cleaner ($7)
- Fur brush ($5-$6)
If you’re planning on buying a ferret soon, take a look at the costs of owning a ferret and see if you are financially capable of providing for its needs. Also, make sure your home is ready for a pet like this that requires a lot of space and attention.