New ferret owners will have a few unusual things to contend with. Whilst you might have heard about the smell they can produce; you might not be so aware of how often ferrets poop.
Whilst it’s not the most glamorous of topics, it is important to know about their bathroom behaviors to help keep them clean and healthy.
How often do ferrets poop and pee? Adult ferrets will poop on average 3 to 4 times a day. You can expect a poop every 4 hours when they are not sleeping. Ferrets will often pee at the same time they poop too, so the two will often happen at the same time.
When you buy your first ferret, they don’t tell you about the pooping. Here’s everything you probably never really wanted to know, but now you must know.
How often do ferrets poop? (the gritty details)
We’ve established that ferrets should poop three to four times a day. But other considerations include their litter tray, potty training, and what do when the ferret isn’t pooping as much as you would expect.
Can you potty train ferrets?
You can potty train a ferret, but it will take a long time and requires patience. Ferrets are no easier to train than other small animals. Depending on the effort and time you put into potty training your ferret, it can take up to 6 months for them to be completely trained.
But don’t despair, with continued effort, it’s possible to take less time – lower down the page I’ve laid out instructions on how to potty train a ferret.
Do ferrets poop in litter boxes?
Yes, ferrets can poop in litter boxes. It’s the best place for your ferret to poop indoors as makes cleaning a lot easier. It’s also part of the ferret potty training routine I explain further down the page.
The trick to getting your ferret to understand the concept of using the litter box is to place him (or her) in the litter box the very moment they wake up from their nap so they can poop.
Ferrets will often take a poop upon waking up. This makes it a good time for teaching them to understand the significance of a litter box in their environment.
Don’t allow your ferret out of its cage until they’ve gone for a poop in the litter box – and here’s the type of cage that’s best for a ferret.
The litter pan or tray should be big enough for the ferret but doesn’t have to be too deep. Since ferrets don’t bury their poop, a thin layer of litter is sufficient.
Ferrets also tend to dig around in their litter, so an unscented, dust-free type of litter is better. This will prevent your ferret from developing an irritated respiratory system.
Do ferrets pee and poop at the same time?
Like most other mammals, ferrets don’t always pee and poop at the same time. Generally, ferrets’ poop between 3 to 4 hours after eating. For the most part, it takes about three hours for food to pass through their GI tract.
Since they eat so much and have a fast metabolism, and as their food digests, they need to poop. This is the reason ferrets seem to poop more than the average small mammal. To be clear, ferrets poop every three hours, about three to four times every day.
How to potty train a ferret
If you’re new to owning a ferret, you may not be 100% sure how the potty-training steps work. Having some sort of guidance will get your furry little friend potty trained in no time.
Here are a few straightforward steps to make the process simpler:
- Buy litter boxes, litter and vinegar and bicarbonate of soda for cleaning. Cleaning the litter box with a mixture of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda will not only remove bacteria but also eliminate residual odor in the box.
- The litter box should be bigger than the ferret especially if your little creature is a male. Male ferrets have their penises situated on their tummies, so when they pee, it’s in the middle of the box.
- You can place denatured wood pellets, alfalfa pellets or recycled newspaper pellets in the litter box. Never use scented litter or any type of pellets with a scent such as cedar or pine. While you might think it’s perfect for masking odor, the reality is, it’s harmful to your little creature’s respiratory tract.
- Start training in the cage where the ferret sleeps. Training must be done as soon as the ferret wakes up.
- To keep your ferrets from peeing or pooping in corners, place some of their toys in the corners where the litter box isn’t. This will train the ferret to use the litter box only.
- Place a few pieces of old poop inside the litter box to get the ferret to associate poop with the litter box. That way they’ll learn that pooping happens in the box.
- When your ferret uses the litter box, reward them with treats to encourage them to poop there again. As with dogs and cats, positive reinforcement with treats is amazingly effective.
- Keep the litter box clean and don’t move it to a new place.
Why is my ferret not pooping as much?
Many ferret owners’ biggest grip is that these little furry creatures’ poop too much. This is because they eat a lot and have fast metabolisms. If you’re accustomed to a ferret who poops a lot, you’ll immediately be concerned when they start pooping less.
As with other small mammals, ferrets not pooping as much as normal could be a sign of illness. Ferrets could be prone to parasites or GI issues. Sometimes the type of food is to blame.
Always ensure you feed your ferret only vet recommended food. If your ferret doesn’t poop as much as it used to, check for other signs like lethargy and loss of appetite. Consult your vet and be sure to give them all the necessary details about the food they eat as well as their usual pooping habits.
Handy Hint: Here are signs to watch for if your ferret has become malnourished and skinny.
Can my ferret get constipated?
Ferrets like any mammal can experience constipation. Infrequent pooping, rejection of food, abnormal poop color or inability to poop can all be symptoms of an underlying health issue. You’ll also notice your ferret’s coat isn’t as shiny as usual.
Your ferret’s constipation isn’t something you should try and fix with a home remedy. Always take your little creature to the vet for the best and safest treatment.
Your vet will usually provide an antibiotic as well as a liquid therapy treatment. A mild laxative might also be prescribed as treatment.
Do ferrets poop in one spot?
Ferrets prefer to pee and poop in the corners of their enclosures where they feel safe. They do this to deter predators from entering their space. The best way to prevent your ferret from peeing or pooping all over the place, spend some time training it to use the litter box.
Place the litter box in the furthest corner from its bed. Ferrets don’t like to poop where they sleep, so placing the litter box in the furthest corner is the best option.
As I’ve mentioned in the potty-training steps, place toys in the other corners to keep the ferret from pooping there. The same applies to the corners in the room where your ferret spends the most time.
If you find your ferret pooping outside its cage or enclosure, place another litter box in the room and follow the potty training steps. Place toys in the corners to prevent the ferret from turning your living room into a giant litter box!
How long after a ferret eats do they poop?
Ferrets will poop about 4 hours after they eat. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t see them poop straight after eating, because the poop they do then, could be a result of the food they ate four hours previously.
Not everybody is a dog or cat person. Some people prefer the company of cute and cuddly ferrets.
However, it’s important to know that ferrets do have a few quirky habits and personality traits that make caring for them slightly different from the usual ways of caring for puppies or kittens.
Having the right setup in place will make taking care of your ferret so much easier, particularly when it related to how often they poop and where!
You might also like…
- Why ferrets smell so bad
- The key to getting ferrets and dogs to live together
- The strange noises that ferrets make
Image in header via https://unsplash.com/photos/iVliB6Rsvvc