Hair Balls

Ferrets get hairballs. Ferrets cannot throw up like cats, so the hairballs must pass through the system. Ferrets will also eat ANYTHING off the floor and can get a blockage from it. This can cause life threatening blockages in the stomach or intestines.
Signs of a blockage:
Thin, stringy stool
Coughing / hacking
Loss of appetite and weight
Lack of interest in food
Vomiting or dry heaves
Pawing at mouth
Rubbing face on the carpet (not like cleaning the face after eating)
Dehydration (can pick up skin on back of neck and it goes down slowly)
Bloating
Swollen belly that is painful to the touch
If your ferret shows these symptoms, take him to a vet right away. Even if the symptoms come and go, the ferret should be seen by a vet. There could be a partial blockage or a floating blockage that, if not taken care of right away, could kill the ferret.

Some things that can cause a blockage can also tear the stomach or intestinal tract if it moves or it can cause the intestines to twist and kill the ferret within a couple of hours. It is important to not give the ferret anything that will make the blockage move. This makes it more important to get the ferret to the vet fast because it must have food in the system every few hours due to their high metabolism.

To prevent hairballs, give a hairball remedy at least once a week. There are over the counter hairball remedies, like what is used for cats. Many people make their own with petroleum jelly mixed with salmon oil, FerreTone, coconut oil, FerretVite, etc. If you feed a soup mixture, you can add canned pumpkin to the mixture. This will help move hairballs through as well.

During the spring shedding season, you should give hairball remedy several times a week. If the ferret has ‘blown’ his coat (shed all of the long guard hairs and only has the soft undercoat), give hairball remedy every day. If you have more than one ferret and only one of the ferrets is shedding, they should all get the hairball remedy several times a week because they groom each other.

Other ways to prevent hairballs is to wash the ferret bedding frequently and vacuum your house often. This gets rid of loose hairs that can stick to and then be ingested by your ferret. I shake out my bedding outside really well before washing it to get as much hair off of it as possible. This helps in washing it. Bedding should be washed every week to two weeks. Brushing your ferret helps a lot too.