What’s The True Cost of a Ferret?

What’s The True Cost of a Ferret?

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How much do ferrets really cost on average? What’s the annual cost of a ferret? How much is ferret food? How much does a ferret cage cost? This is the most detailed cost breakdown you will find! After doing all these calculations, even I was surprised by how much these little guys can rack up a credit card bill.

In this article, I will go over every cost associated with ferrets that I could think of. And in addition to sharing my personal numbers, I also asked my global community of over 1,000,000 ferret enthusiasts to share how much it costs to own a ferret per month, including initial upfront costs, monthly costs, regular vet visits, surprise vet bills, the cost of common illnesses, and end of life considerations to give you guys the complete picture. Here are some of the answers I received! 

How Much Do Ferrets Cost?

First let’s see how much a ferret costs to buy. How much does a baby ferret cost? How much is a ferret at Petco? Ferrets are no different as prices continue to rise in almost every industry. However, the cost does vary according to where you get them. 

The cheapest ferret you can find is a free one from a previous owner looking to provide a better home for their pet. That’s how I got my current ferret, one-eyed Eli! 

The next option would be to adopt a ferret from a shelter. Based on the feedback I got from the online ferret community, this currently ranges anywhere from $45 to $100. You can also get bonded pairs this way.

After that, you’d be looking at buying a ferret from a traditional pet store. The last time I went to Petco, ferrets for sale were around $300 a piece, which is crazy because they were half that price only a few years back! These ferrets will most likely come from a large breeding mill.

Then you’ve got privately bred ferrets, ranging from $450 for a standard ferret to $475 for a hybrid European polecat/ ferret mix, up to $600 for a full Angora ferret.

Some of you might wonder, ‘What the heck are hybrids and angoras?’ This question is valid, but I’d rather cover it in-depth in another article. Subscribe to our weekly Ferret Feature Newsletter so you don’t miss it when it’s released!

To summarize, ferrets can cost between $45 to $600, depending on where you get them and what you want!

How Much Do Ferret Cages Cost?

Cages can range in price anywhere from free for an old used one up to thousands for something large or extravagant. The current cage I recommend is the Ferret Nation by Midwest Pet, and it’s around $300 new right now, but always make sure to check for flash sales 

Other cages, like the Kaytee cage, are around $160, and the Prevue cage is $200. I have a really in-depth video reviewing each of these ferret cages at length that I recommend you check out. You get what you pay for, and the higher-priced cages are worth the extra spend.

Here’s what our community is spending on ferret cages:

Also, remember that many people, like me, free roam their ferrets in several rooms of the house, and therefore the cage is just more of a nighttime shelter and a place to store food, water, and a litter box.

How Much Do Ferret Toys and Accessories Cost?

You need a few essential items to provide adequate enrichment for your ferret.

Tubes are their #1 favorite item; ask any ferret owner you know! These run about $10 a piece; I’d recommend getting at least three. You can also invest in PVC or garden drainage pipes for about $30 if you have room for them, as I do.

Stash-able plush toys can be $1-20 each, and you’ll want several. Inside the cage, you’ll want a couple of hammocks, about $15 a piece, a bed, around $15-30, and a blanket, which can be as cheap as $5. A leash and harness typically cost $15-20 for the set. The litter box I recommend is around $20, plus potty pads at $37 for 100. You can also use litter pellets for about $15 for 18 lbs.

How Much Does Ferret Food Cost?

Like the ferrets themselves, there is quite a range in the cost of ferret food.

For traditional kibble, I’ve seen prices as low as $18 for 4 lbs. What I feed is about $26 for 4 lbs. Many people that provided feedback when I asked about food had multiple ferrets, so make sure to keep that in mind when looking at their numbers.

There is also the option of freeze-dried raw, which is about $26 for half a pound (although it’s important to remember freeze-dried food is much lighter per serving because the water content has been removed). People often feed this in addition to kibble or raw prey meat.

Quite a few people in the ferret community have opted to feed their ferrets a raw prey diet. This can be more expensive if you source it from a company, or you can get the materials yourself and do it by hand. It takes a bit of time but has a lot of long-term health benefits, which can lead to savings in the long run.

When I had 3 ferrets before Elijah, I transitioned them all to raw meat. That meant regular visits to the local butcher and hacking up around $40 worth of cow tongues and animal organs into a meat grind I’d freeze once a month. I recently found 2 lbs of butchered rabbit meat, bone, and organs for sale online for about $8 per pound.

If you feed your ferret raw prey meat as their primary diet, could you comment and let your community members know how much you typically spend per month per ferret on food? Are there companies you would recommend? I had one community member say that feeding raw costs about $1 per ferret daily. Do you agree with that? Let me know in the comments.

I should also mention that some ferret owners mix kibble, freeze-dried raw, and raw prey meat, so that’s also an option.

Regarding treats, I like to give the occasional bit of my favorite salmon oil, which currently costs $15 for an 8oz. bottle. 

Here are some numbers and feedback from the community to look at:

How Much Does Ferret-Proofing Cost?

There are great ferret gates you can buy to block off entire rooms. There are two specific ones that I’ve found to be the best. One is $135 and the other is currently $144. Eli hasn’t been able to climb or get through either one in almost a year, proving their reliability!

How Much Do Ferret First Aid Items Cost?

There are four basic ferret first aid items I recommend getting. That includes Carnivore Care for emergency nutrition and Flavorless Pedialyte for emergency hydration. Together those are about $20. A carrier to take your ferret to the vet is necessary, ranging from $35-50. The book Ferrets for Dummies is $15 (which provides great concise health information in one place).

A random item I recommend is ferret nail clippers, which are around $10.

In the next section, we will add all this up to give you some exact numbers on the total upfront costs to bring a ferret home so you can start saving for it.  

What Are the Total Upfront Ferret Costs?

Now that we’ve gone over all those initial upfront costs let’s tally up what it would cost to buy a ferret and all the items required to keep them safe, happy, and healthy.

On average, the ferret costs $300. You opted for a good solid cage for another $300. You furnished it with two hammocks for $30 together, one bed for another $30, and a discounted blanket for $5. You grabbed 3 litter boxes totaling $60, a box of potty pads for $37, a leash and harness for $20, and 5 plushies on sale for $25.

You grabbed him some dried food for $26 and then some treats for another $15. You gathered the basic first aid items I mentioned earlier for another $100.

Then to outfit your home properly, you bought the two ferret gates I recommend, for $180.

Lastly, you took your new ferret to the vet for his first-ever appointment at $44, which is what my vet charges.

This would put your initial upfront costs for a ferret at a grand total of $1,172. Not exactly a cheap pet or a good choice for an impulse buy! Let me know if this number surprised you, and if you are a current ferret owner, how it compares to what you spent. 

Upfront costs of owning a Ferret
Ferret itself $300
Cage $300
Hammocks $30
Bed $30
Blanket $5
Litter Boxes $60
Potty Pads $37
Leash + Harness $20
Ferret Gates $180
Toys/Plushies $25
Vet $44
Total $1,172

 Here’s what some community members had to say. 

What is The Average Monthly Cost of Ferrets?

The average monthly cost of a ferret includes regular items like food, treats, litter, and toys.

For me, it takes about 2 months to go through my single bag of kibble for Eli, which makes it about $13 per month. For the salmon oil, it’s about the same, so about $7 per month. Potty pads take me about 3 months to get through one box of 100, so $12 monthly. I like to grab Eli the occasional toy or cage accessory, so that’s $10 more. After all the upfront costs are covered, having Eli costs me about $42 per month (not including vet bills, which I’ll cover in the next section).

Monthly cost of owning a Ferret
Food $13
Treats $7
Potty Pads $12
Toys/Accessories $10
Total $42

What are Annual Ferret Costs?

Typically a healthy ferret should be seen by their vet at least once a year. My vet charges $44 for an exam. They charge $27.50 for an annual rabies vaccine. Ferrets also need a distemper vaccine every three years, which costs $44.

Some owners give their ferrets flea medication during the summer months, which is an additional cost.

Based on these numbers, assuming your ferret has all the supplies they need and has no major health problems, annual vet expenses are around $80-100.

How Much Do Ferret Illnesses Cost?

If your ferret gets a common illness like insulinoma or adrenal disease, it will need more check-ups and routine tests.

With insulinoma, your vet must check their blood glucose levels regularly during treatment.  At my vet, this test costs $13, and she likes to do it regularly as the illness progresses. There is a medication called prednisolone that is used to treat insulinoma partly. I say ‘partly’ because the medication doesn’t cure the disease. With my last ferret, it cost $20 per month and then $40 when he needed a higher dose as the disease progressed.

Regarding the cost of treating adrenal disease in ferrets, your ferret must get a Deslorelin implant every 6-18 months, depending on their symptoms. At my friend’s vet, they cost $252.

Other ferret treatment costs that my babies racked up:

  • When Moose had the end of his tail amputated due to a large Chordoma, it cost $586.
  • Testing what I thought was a tumor on Newt’s neck cost $116.
  • Albert had surgery on his tail to amputate it due to a particularly bloody, inflamed, and recurring mass cell tumor. The grand total for that was $752 -although it did include a dental x-ray and teeth cleaning for $160.
  • When I went to an out-of-state vet center to figure out what to do about Moose’s egg-sized cyst in his belly, I spent $385 on tests, like x-rays, complete blood counts, and a full chemistry panel.

How Much Does a Ferret Emergency Vet Cost?

A lot of times, an emergency vet appointment will cost a lot more than a standard visit. For instance, I called a local 24-hour emergency vet clinic, and their initial exam fee is $180, compared to my regular vet, who charges $44 for a scheduled appointment.

Towards the end of his life, as Moose got sicker, we had to do some emergency appointments and testing. We analyzed his persistent diarrhea and combined it with another test and the recommended medication, which all cost $450. An ultrasound was done around this time which was another $480.

I asked our community to provide their own numbers for various costs associated with vet care (both routine and emergency procedures and costs), so feel free to look at those responses.

How Much Does the End of a Ferret’s Life Cost?

At the end of Moose’s life, there was at least $1500 worth of vet expenses, including numerous tests and medications. When we ultimately decided to put him down, euthanasia was $60, and a  necropsy was $100.

How Much Do Ferrets Cost – Over a Lifetime?

According to Ferrets for Dummies, Ferrets live an average of 7 years, so I will base these numbers on a ferret who lived a full life.

We know that all of the upfront costs totaled $1172. Per month, Elijah costs about $42, which times 12 is $504 per year, and times 7 for a 7-year lifespan is $3528. Now let’s add the cost of likely health problems. For instance, Elijah is three years old and got his first Deslorelin implant from my vet for $300. On average, he will need that replaced every 12 months for another 4 years, which is another $1200 total. He’ll also need to see the vet for regular exams, which would’ve been $308 for seven total (assuming I got him as a baby), at a frequency of one per year. His vaccines will cost an average of $42 per year, or $294 for seven years and a seven-year lifespan.

I hope he doesn’t, but Eli may end up getting insulinoma a couple of years from now at age 5, which, once diagnosed, would be another $30 per month for medication on average for another two years of life expectancy. That would equal $720. It would also mean at least 2 more yearly vet visits at roughly $100 each, including blood glucose and other various tests, totaling an additional $800.

Based on my experience, Eli will likely have at least 3 more emergency vet visits in his lifetime, and with tests and exams, that could easily add another $1500.

End-of-life costs are another $500 for additional tests to confirm his condition and make tough calls. Not fun to think about, but necessary if you are truly considering this pet.

So a ferret’s lifetime cost comes out to a total of $10,022

Lifetime cost of owning a Ferret
Upfront costs 1172
Monthly costs 3528
Medication 1200
Routine vet visits 308
Vaccinations 294
Additional health costs 1520
Emergency vet visits 1500
End-of-life costs 500
Total $10,022

To Sum It Up:Are Ferrets Expensive?

So, are ferrets expensive? According to a recent research by Synchrony, people spend an average of $15,000- $45,000 on a cat throughout their lifetime and $20,000 – $55,000 for a dog. Compared to those numbers, ferrets seem relatively cheap.

However, as you can see, chronic illnesses and surprise vet bills can break the bank. If ‘finding a budget-friendly pet’ is priority #1, there may be a better pet for you!

Were you guys surprised by the numbers I provided? How do they stack up to your personal experience? I’d love to hear in the comments below. Many of us don’t take the time to calculate a lifetime’s worth of pet expenses which is probably why these numbers sound pretty surprising. At least, they were for me!I hope you found this video helpful, and if this was weasily the best thing you’ve seen all day, make sure subscribe to our weekly Ferret Feature Newsletter to enjoy the stories of the many ferret owners in The Modern Ferret community that share their special moments. For more fun ferret stuff, follow our Instagram or Youtube.

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