The Cost Of Owning A Ferret

Ferrets Apr 27, 2020
Written by Kate Barrington | Updated May 17, 2021
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The Cost Of Owning A Ferret

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If you’re looking for a cute and entertaining pet, the ferret might be one to consider. These furry little friends are full of energy and they can be quite affectionate with people.

Though ferrets make wonderful pets, they do require a significant amount of time and space. Ferrets like to climb and play, plus they’ll need to spend time outside the cage to get their exercise.

When it comes to the cost of keeping a pet ferret, there are a number of factors to consider.

Purchasing a ferret itself may cost as little as $75 or as much as $300. On top of this cost, you also have to consider additional costs for your ferret’s cage, supplies, and veterinary costs including descenting and having your ferret spayed or neutered.

Before you bring home a new pet, it’s important to think through the costs to make sure you can handle them. Your ferret will become your responsibility and it’ll be up to you to make sure he has everything he needs for a healthy and happy life.

Bringing Home A New Ferret – One-time Costs

Bringing home a new pet is a big responsibility but it’s also a significant investment of time and money. In addition to purchasing the pet itself, you also need to buy everything to keep it safe and healthy.

Your ferret may only cost $100 in some cases, but you’re likely to spend hundreds more to buy and supply his cage and for initial vet visits.

When purchasing a ferret, factor in the one-time costs such as the cage and supplies. It’s also important to think about other initial costs like a vet visit, vaccinations, and spay/neuter surgery.

These costs aren’t required for every pet, but it’s worth thinking about them as part of your decision.

Here’s what you need to know about one-time costs for pet ferrets:

Buying A Ferret

If you’re considering a pet ferret, your first question is probably how much it costs.

Ferrets are very popular pets, but you may not find them in every pet store. In addition to checking pet stores, consider purchasing directly from a breeder to check your local animal rescue.

The cost to buy a ferret varies depending where you get it. Shelters are usually the cheapest option and the ferret may already be spayed/neutered and have its shots. You may also be able to adopt a bonded pair from a shelter.

The benefit of purchasing from a breeder is that you may get more information about the animal’s genetic history. They may also have some of their initial vaccinations.

Ferret Cost Average

SourceAverage Cost (Low)Average Cost (High)
Adoption$75$150
Pet Store$100$250
Breeder$200$300

Supplies And Setup

Ferrets are fairly active animals, so they need a cage that provides a decent amount of space. The more time you can give your ferret out of the cage, the better but his cage still needs to be big enough that he’s comfortable when he’s in it.

The best cage for ferrets is one that has multiple levels because ferrets love to climb.

A wire cage is fine for your ferret as long as you line the bottom and the platforms with something that won’t hurt your ferret’s feet. You should also provide hideouts and hammocks where your pet can sleep.

Other supplies to include in your initial purchase are food bowls, a water bottle, a litter box, toys, and cleaning supplies. You may also want to purchase a carrier for trips to the vet.

On top of the supplies needed to set up your ferret cage for the first time, you’ll also want to consider starting veterinary costs.

When you bring your ferret home for the first time, it’s a good idea to have him checked out by a veterinarian and to continue with annual exams. You’ll need to find an exotics vet or someone familiar with ferrets and should expect to pay about $50 per visit.

Another cost to consider is having your ferret spayed or neutered.

Ferrets are social animals that like to be kept in pairs or groups, so having your ferret altered is the best way to prevent accidental breeding. Some ferret owners also like to have their ferrets descented. The other option is to stock up on shampoo for your ferret.

Descenting is a surgery that removes the ferret’s anal glands – the source of its smell. If you plan to have your ferret altered and descented, plan to pay about $300 for both.

Ferret Supplies and Setup

Cost TypeAverage Cost (Low)Average Cost (High)
Cage$100$200
Cage Supplies$30$100
Carrier$20$50
Food, Litter, and Bedding$20$50
Spay/Neuter Cost$50$100
Descenting Surgery$100$200
Initial Vet Visit/Vaccinations$80$200
Total = $400 to $900

Cost Of Ferret Ownership – Annual Expense Breakdown

As a pet owner, you need to make sure you can care for your pet properly for the duration of his life. That means anticipating the initial costs as well as the recurring annual and monthly costs.

Once you’ve purchased everything for your ferret’s setup, put it together. It’s a good idea to get everything set up before you bring your ferret home and to then give him time to settle in.

Before you head to the pet store to pick up your ferret, do a final run-through of your annual and monthly costs just to make sure you’re prepared. The last thing you want is to bring home your new pet just to find out that you can’t afford to keep him.

Here’s what you need to know about annual costs for pet ferrets:

Annual Medical Expenses

When properly cared for a ferret, lives 8 to 11 years. Feeding your ferret well plays a key role in supporting his health, but there are still some health problems ferrets are naturally prone to.

Here are some of the common health problems known to affect ferrets:

  • Adrenal gland disease
  • Lymphoma
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Digestive disorders
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Insulinoma
  • Dental problems
  • Distemper
  • Mites

Unlike many small pets, ferrets require vaccinations.

Baby ferrets should be vaccinated for distemper at 8, 11, and 14 weeks and have a rabies vaccination between 12 and 16 weeks of age. After that, annual vaccinations for distemper and rabies are required.

The cost to have your ferret vaccinated will vary. You may be able to pay for your ferret’s initial exam and vaccinations all at once, or you might pay for each vaccine separately. Vaccines cost about $15 each.

Because ferrets have more annual costs than some pets, you might consider pet insurance.

Some pet insurance plans offer options for ferrets, but many simply have a general plan for exotics and small pets. Compare the cost of your monthly premium to the estimated annual costs below to decide whether it’s worth buying the plan.

Keep in mind that emergency veterinary services cost hundreds of dollars. If your ferret needs surgery, the cost could be in the thousands. Another option is to simply set aside what you’d pay for your monthly premium into a savings account for emergencies.

Estimated Medical Costs for Ferrets

Cost TypeFrequencyAverage Cost
Veterinary CheckupAnnual$50
Dental CleaningOccasional$100
Vaccinations (rabies & distemper)Annual$30
Flea, Tick, and Worm TreatmentsOccasional$15
Emergency ExpensesOccasional$100 and up

Food And Supplies

The best thing you can do to keep your ferret healthy in the long run is to feed him an appropriate, high-quality diet. Remember, ferrets are carnivores so they need a meat-based diet.

To meet your ferret’s unique nutritional needs, feed him a staple diet of commercial ferret pellets. This food can be supplemented with fresh meat, organ meats, and the occasional treat. Just don’t feed your ferret grains or vegetables because he can’t digest them.

In addition to buying food on a regular basis, you’ll also need to stock your supply of litter and bedding.

Bedding is what you put down on the bottom of your ferret’s cage to cushion his feet and to provide some protection against liquid and odor. If you are able to litter train your ferret, litter is what you’ll use to fill the litter box.

If your ferret is litter trained, you may be able to go longer without changing the bedding, but you’ll want to change the litter once or twice a week.

On top of these costs, it’s a good idea to factor in things like special toys and cleaning products – things you won’t need to purchase all the time but should budget for, just in case.

Also Read: What Do Ferrets Eat?

Food and Supply Costs for Ferrets

Cost TypeFrequencyAverage Cost
Food and TreatsMonthly$20
Bedding and LitterMonthly$20
ToysMonthly$10
Additional SuppliesMonthly$5

Total Annual Cost Of Owning A Ferret

Keeping a pet ferret isn’t cheap. These fuzzy little creatures are well worth the time and effort, but they certainly aren’t the right pet for everyone. Unless you’re confident you can cover the cost to keep your ferret well, you may want to consider another pet.

The annual cost to keep your ferret includes everything from monthly costs like food, bedding, and litter to annual costs like vet exams and vaccinations. You should also keep in mind that if your ferret gets sick you’ll need to pay for an additional visit as well as any treatments or medications.

Here’s a quick summary of the estimated annual cost for keeping a ferret:

  • Purchase/Adoption = $75 to $300
  • Cage and Setup = $400 to $900
  • Annual Veterinary Costs = $80 and up
  • Monthly Food and Supplies = $55

Keep in mind that these figures are estimates and actual prices will range depending where you live and how many ferrets you keep.

It’s always a good idea to set aside a little extra money in case of emergencies, just so you’re prepared.

FAQ

How much does a ferret cost?

The cost to purchase a ferret depends where you go. You may be able to adopt a ferret for as low as $75 or a bonded pair for $150. Buying from a pet store will cost $100 to $250 while buying directly from a breeder can cost up to $300.

How much does it cost to neuter/spay a ferret?

Spay surgery is usually more expensive that neuter surgery, so you’re looking at an estimated $50 to $100. If you also plan to have your ferret’s scent glands removed, you should consider doing it at the same time. The total cost should be under $300.

How much does a ferret vet checkup cost?

You’ll need to find an exotics vet or a veterinarian experienced with ferrets. The average cost for a vet checkup is about $45 and your ferret will need two vaccines every year, estimated at $15 each.

How much does it cost to microchip a ferret?

The average cost to have a pet microchipped is about $45 and it is a one-time fee. There’s little point in having a small pet microchipped, but since ferrets are often let loose in the home it couldn’t hurt.

How much does ferret food cost?

Ferrets are still fairly small, so you shouldn’t have to spend more than $20 per month on food and treats. The cost depends on the quality of your pet’s diet and how much meat you feed him.

How much does a ferret cage cost?

The ferret is not an animal that can be kept in a small cage, so this will be a considerable investment. Look for a three-tiered cage made from sturdy materials. You can expect to spend $100 to $200.

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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