Ferrets are very popular, active, smart, and playful small mammal pets. These so-called pocket pets are a great alternative to a larger, louder pet like a dog, especially if you have limited space.
In this article, we discuss how to plan ahead and budget so you can be sure you are able to afford your pet ferret’s care.
How Much Does a Ferret Cost
There are three main costs of owning a ferret. The first is the cost of the ferret. The second is the one-time setup cost of getting a suitable cage, food and water dishes, and basic supplies.
The third cost, which many ferret owners forget to calculate, is the ongoing cost of ferret ownership, feeding, cleaning, and veterinary care.
We will talk about all three cost categories in this article.
Learn From a Ferret Owner About the Real Costs
In this YouTube video, you can learn about the major expenses of owning a ferret, including both big one-time expenses like a proper cage and ongoing expenses like food and bedding.
It can be very helpful to hear from other ferret owners about their preferred products so you can make an informed decision about what to buy for your own ferrets.
How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Ferret for a Pet
As PetMD so rightly points out, the size of the pet isn’t always a good indicator of how much the animal costs.
As well, it often works out that what you pay for is what you get in terms of pet quality and health.
If budget is a real concern when choosing your pet, it is smart to find out if there are any adult ferrets or kits that may need a new forever home. You can contact local animal charities and pet shelters to find out about availability.
So let’s take a look at your different options for purchasing a ferret for your pet.
Adopting a rescue ferret
For many people, adopting a ferret from a rescue organization may be both the most humane and most economical option.
You give a needy ferret a new forever home and in turn, you may get a cost break on the price of your new pet.
Ferret rescue organizations typically do charge a rehoming fee, which may be anywhere from $25 to upwards of $100.
But you will often get other free perks such as a “well ferret” veterinary check, neutering or spaying, required vaccines, a cage and supplies, food, and bedding.
These perks can add up to several hundred dollars of savings to make sure you bring home a healthy pet and have everything you need to start caring for your new pet.
The American Ferret Association maintains a helpful list of rescues and pet shelters that accept ferrets for rehoming. You may be able to find your new pet ferret by using this list.
Buying a pet store ferret
Ferrets are popular pets and are readily available from most major chain pet stores.
Having said this, however, you won’t always know where your new pet came from or whether the breeder ran a clean, high-quality operation.
As the Houston Area Ferret Association explains, purchasing a ferret from a pet store may cost anywhere from $99 to $300.
However, there is always a risk that your new pet ferret came from a ferret mill (think puppy mill but with ferrets instead).
Buying a pet ferret from a private breeder
Reputable breeders will typically allow you to visit their kennel to verify that their operation is clean and safe and will often give you an initial guarantee of good health.
This helps to guard against purchasing a pet ferret from a ferret mill.
However, private breeders also tend to have a higher price for their kits (young ferrets) especially if the ferret of your dreams has a rare coat color or color pattern.
As the Holistic Ferret Forum points out, breeder ferrets may also be healthier from the start than pet store ferrets (although there are always exceptions).
Expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $500 for a young ferret from a private breeder.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Ready for a New Ferret Pet
Your costs for getting your new ferret set up for success will vary depending on which of the options you choose in the previous section here.
As we mentioned, there can be some perks to rescuing a ferret that needs a new forever home. Ferrets may be adorable and fun, but they are not the right pet for everyone and are often relinquished for this reason.
Vet Babble offers this basic list of supplies you will need to get ready to welcome your new pet ferret.
We will talk about each one and any potential costs you will incur to get set up. Some of these costs will be one-time while others will be ongoing.
In some places, it is illegal to own or keep ferrets. The American Ferret Association maintains a list of current regulations by state and territory along with current vaccination requirements for each.
If you need to purchase a license, this may be a one-time or annual fee of up to $100 or more.
Ferrets are small, smart, and quick and are natural escape artists. You will definitely want to get your ferret a microchip!
Expect to pay around $50 to have a veterinarian microchip your pet. You may find discounts by calling your local Humane Society or ASPCA.
“Well ferret” initial veterinary visit
It is always smart to take your new pet right to the veterinarian for an initial “well ferret” examination. Not only will this help you establish a good relationship with a veterinarian but it will give you a baseline of health for the future.
Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $200 for a basic checkup.
PetMD states that vaccinations (distemper, rabies) typically cost about $20 each and will be needed annually.
Ferret spaying or neutering
Ferret jills (adult females) should be spayed if you keep both genders and baby ferrets are not in your future plans.
Fixing your pet ferret may not be necessary unless you purchase your ferret from a private breeder who requires this as a condition of purchase.
Expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $300 for this one-time surgery (females are more expensive than males).
Ferret cages do not take up a lot of square footage but they need to be quite high and sturdy. Ferrets love to climb and play and need a lot of room to move about.
High-quality and sturdy ferret cages can cost upwards of $200.
Ferret food bowls
You will want to purchase sturdy food and treat bowls that your ferrets cannot easily tip over. Find a bowl that has an option to attach to the side of the cage to keep it in place.
Expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $15 for a sturdy food bowl.
Ferret water bowl or bottle
Ferrets often like to bathe or swim or play in their water bowl, which is why experienced ferret owners advise offering drinking water in a bottle.
You will want a sturdy water bottle with an equally sturdy attachment.
Expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $15 for a quality water bottle.
You will want to have a safe travel carrier for veterinary visits. Carriers generally cost between $15 and $20.
ferret harness and leash with I.D. tags
Having a ferret harness and leash with I.D. tags makes it easier to allow your ferret outdoors for playtime and gives you some protection in case your ferret escapes.
Expect to pay around $15 for a leash and harness plus personalized I.D. tags.
Ferret litter boxes and litter
Ferrets will need a little box inside their main cage and another one for their playtime area.
Expect to pay about $15 each for a litter box and about the same for a bag of litter.
Ferrets find nearly anything fun to explore and play with, so toys will probably be the least expensive part of ferret ownership.
Most ferret toys cost between $10 and $20.
Ferret-proofing for your home
Ferret-proofing may not be too expensive but can be time-consuming. Be sure to do this before your ferret comes home to avoid heartbreak!
A bag of commercial ferret food can range from $10 to $25. Pre-killed whole prey can vary in price depending on how much you order and where you live.
Ferret emergency fund
Finally and perhaps most importantly, experienced ferret owners advise keeping an emergency fund of $1,000 to cover any urgent health issues that require emergency veterinary care.