How to tell if a Ferret is Depressed

Victoria Tiegert's image for:
"How to tell if a Ferret is Depressed"
Image by: 

Ferrets are, by their very natures, some of the most social and fun-loving of all pets that a person can have. They love nothing more than a spirited time of play and being with the owners that they love. This is normally the way that a ferret will behave, in a fun and friendly manner, but there may be other times when you will notice that your ferret seems to be acting in a different way than this. Ferrets have feelings and they have distinct personality traits, just as dogs, cats, and other household pets do. One of the things that ferrets can experience is depression. This is a very sad circumstance and one that should be addressed by you, the owner that is responsible for providing your ferret with a happy and healthy life.

The following are some signs that you can watch for to see if you have a ferret that is going through a period of depression:

*Despondency, ferret will seem sluggish and unresponsive to you or other stimuli even when you are trying to have fun or show affection to him or her. Even getting out the favorite toy of the little guy or gal won't get a good response when your ferret is very depressed and not much of one when the ferret is in a milder depression.

*Changes in appearance, such as hair beginning to shed excessively or sudden weight weight gain or loss. These types of signs can also indicate a medical problem, so be very cautious as you assess your ferret. If you are seeing physical signs, it is recommended that you take your pet to the vet for a check-up to see if there is something going on medically that needs to be treated.

*Loss of appetite, rejecting feedings and even favorite treats when they are offered. If the ferret is still eating, even if it is not in the same amounts as usual, you are alright to take a "wait and see" approach, but if the ferret stops eating entirely, he or she needs to be taken to the vet quickly. Ferrets have died from self-induced starvation, so this is a serious issue that must be addressed quickly to prevent this from happening.

*Extreme lethargy, the ferret will want to sleep the majority of the time. Although ferrets do naturally sleep a good deal of the time, there is a problem if you can't seem to rouse the ferret with any amount of coercion.

Ferrets are sensitive little animals and can get depressed. This most often happens in one of two instances. The first is when a ferret is brought into a new home with unfamiliar people and is usually a temporary time of depression that will wain as the ferret becomes more comfortable with you and your family. The other circumstance that can lead to a very depressed ferret is when the ferret is being neglected or otherwise treated poorly. In this case, the ferret's depression can be long-term and it is unfair for the ferret to remain in the home where he or she is not receiving adequate care.

More about this author: Victoria Tiegert

From Around the Web