Ferrets and Water – Full Guide

Ferrets tend to be very active when they are awake which can make them very thirsty all the time. This is why you need to keep in mind that they drink a lot of water and never let their bowl or bottle stay empty. Getting dehydrated often can cause various serious health problems for your little furry friend so make sure it has all the water it needs.

In this article, we’ll talk about how much water ferret typically needs to drink and how to avoid dehydration.

Ferrets and Water – How much water do ferrets need?

Grooming Ferrets
Source: DepositPhotos

A ferret alone can go to the water bowl more than 20 times a day. And this isn’t even impressive, they can go up to 30 times a day when it’s hot. They are small animals so they can only drink small amounts of water at a time. So make sure they never run out of water and refresh it as often as you can. You wouldn’t drink from a glass of water that’s been sitting on the counter all day, so change the ferret’s water a few times a day as well.

If your ferret weighs around 3.5lbs, you can expect it to drink anywhere between 175 to 350 ml of water a day. A 4.5 lbs ferret can drink between 200 and 400 ml every single day, and a 4.5 ferret usually drinks between 225 and 450 ml in a 24h span. But this is only to give you an idea of how much water a ferret can drink, it’s not a general rule. Just make sure the water bowl always has water in it.

Signs of Dehydration in Ferrets

If you notice that your ferret’s face has a pinched look, you might want to check if it’s dehydrated. Some ferrets might simply hate the water and refuse to drink while others may have trouble swallowing and would rather avoid drinking water. This can become a very serious problem over time. Take the ferret to the vet if it keeps being stubborn and refuses to drink any kind of water, it might be sick despite acting perfectly normal.

To know 100% that the ferret is dehydrated you can pinch the skin at the back of the neck in a similar way to scruffing. The skin should go back down immediately. But if the skin takes a pretty long time to go down, the ferret is definitely dehydrated and it needs fluids.

Can I give a ferret tap water?

Tap water can contain a pretty wide range of additives. This includes chlorine, fluoride, etc. The water goes through a lot from the source to your kitchen sink and it loses a lot of its minerals on the way while gaining other things instead. And for a ferret, a simple glass of tap water can cause serious problems and some ferrets will refuse to even drink it.

Giving your ferret spring water or filtered water is the best thing to do. They’re the safest options and the water tastes better, which will encourage the ferret to stay hydrated. You should keep in mind that some places have very good tap water that is also safe for ferrets. It’s rare but possible. So make sure you’re checking what kind of water your city has and whether is ferret-safe or not. If in doubt, always go with filtered water.

Tap water from most places has lots of chemicals and heavy metals that can cause serious health problems for your furry little friend.

How to make ferrets to drink more water?

If your ferret is healthy but simply refuses to drink the water it needs, you should invest in a mini pool or a bigger basin. Fill it with drinkable water and add some waterproof toys as well. Ferrets typically love to play in the water and will inevitably drink a lot as well. This is why you should never let your ferret swim in a pool with treated water.

You should also make sure the reason why it’s not drinking is not that his water bowl is dirty. Ferrets are very clean creatures and will definitely avoid eating and drinking if their bowls stink and are very dirty.

Should I give ferrets water in a bowl or from a bottle?

Some ferrets prefer bowls while others prefer bottles. There’s no general rule here as all ferrets have their own preferences. If your ferret has no problem drinking from either of them, it’s highly recommended to use a very heavy water bowl. This is because water bottles are known to ruin ferret teeth and they already have very sensitive teeth. Just make sure the bowl is heavy enough not to be tipped over.

On the other hand, bottles have their advantage as well. A bottle keeps the water fresh for longer since it protects it from debris and other things that fly in the cage when the ferret plays around. But it’s quite hard to clean and it can collect algae.

Why does a ferret gag when drinking water?

If your ferret gags when eating or drinking water, you should take it to the vet as soon as possible. Ferrets are furious eaters and something could have gotten stuck in their throat. If they have access to plastic toys, they could have a piece of plastic stuck in their throat or something similar. Call the vet as soon as you notice the gagging and get the pet ready for a checkup.

Besides having something foreign blocking their throat, ferrets can also develop respiratory problems quite quickly. This can lead to a bigger problem and you might have to get your furry friend on medicine.

Why does my ferret dig in the bowl of water?

If your ferret is closed in its cage for too long, it can become quite destructive simply by looking at ways to keep itself entertained. Ferrets that like playing in the bath tube could switch their attention to the water bowl and start digging around for fun. But that’s not always the case, which is why it’s important to always keep an eye on it.

A ferret that has all the space it needs for playtime but still digs in its water bowl most likely wants wet food. Try adding a bit of food in a dish and then pour just a little bit of water on top. Wait and see what happens and act accordingly.