Ferrets are from the weasel family; they’re known as pets that are affectionate, intelligent small animals that are curious and love to play and explore. They’re inquisitive, happy and quite silly.
As domesticated pets, they have the tendency to scratch and burrow because ferrets are born diggers. It’s in their nature; they will dig in their food bowls, litterboxes, waterbowls, and sleeping areas. You will find once they’re comfortable in their environment, they may scratch at carpet, doors or posts and may even dig up houseplants.
Should You Declaw A Ferret?
You can declaw a ferret but it is cruel and an unnecessary practice. They are natural diggers and as a pet owner, their tendency can be changed by working around that behavior.
Ferrets claws are not retractable. When you declaw a ferret, each toe is amputated at the first knuckle. Declawing may also affect the way your ferret walks as it will change the weight distribution on their paws and will cause extra stresses to tendons and muscles.
Their urge to dig is natural and not something you can stamp out by removing the growth of their claws. The procedure is terribly painful, and leaves the ferret at a disadvantage in running, climbing, or walking.
As a pet owner, you should always consider then effects of your decisions on your pet and never do unnecessary procedures to hurt your pet unless absolutely important. Those that opt to declaw are more often than not looking for a quick solution to a problem that can be corrected with training, grooming, or a further protection of the ferret’s play area.
Ferrets are intelligent creatures that are able and quick to learn. Remember that they are fragile creatures and extreme trauma may greatly affect the demeanor as well as physical attributes of your pet.
How to Address Scratching and Burrowing
Owners may try redirecting the behavior through the following remedies:
- To create a dig box [storage container] filled with non-instant rice, dried beans, dirt or hay.
- Training your pet and removing their access from the area
- Using some plastic carpet runner, plastic floor protector, linoleum.
- Spraying the area with alcohol, vinegar or bitter apple
- Using a “play pen” that will minimize the roaming space of your pet
- Emphasizing proper grooming and nail care
- Hang up your plants or put items where they cannot be reached
Grooming and Caring For Your Ferret
Make sure to check your ferret’s paws regularly and keep their paws and nails clean from any dirt and other foreign objects with a moistened cloth.
Clip your ferret’s nails every two to three weeks to avoid potential paw problems, damage to floors and furniture, scratches when you handle him, and the danger of a nail being caught and torn off.
Do NOT declaw your pet under any circumstances. Unlike a cat, your ferret’s nails are not retractable and needed for basic tasks such as walking and grasping and climbing.
Before beginning to cut your ferret’s nails, look carefully to locate the “quick”, which is the pink line inside the nail. The quick is a blood vessel that will bleed and cause pain if it is nicked. Ordinarily, you want to trim the nail a little bit longer than the quick. Make sure that you will clip a little ahead of this vein.
For some ferrets, nail growth is fast, while for some it may be slower. It can also depend on how much exercise they receive on a daily basis; more exercise means the more worn their claws can get.
An easy way to trim claws on ferrets is to get a bottle of ferretone. Put a few drops on their belly and while they are busy licking it up (they love this stuff), you will now be able to trim claws with no trauma to them or yourself.
There are special ferret nail clippers in the market but you can also use regular nail clippers to clip, especially the smaller ones you would use on a young child. The best nail clippers would be those that have replaceable blades so as not to crush the nail. Make sure the blade is sharp and replace it if it’s not. If the cutter is sharp, the nails won’t be pulled or cracked.
Use an emery board or nail file after you’ve trimmed the nail to help prevent splitting and to keep the nail from catching on cloth surfaces and carpeting.