Poop is often, as you may know, the quickest way to find out whether your ferret is in good health. That is why it’s a good idea to be well educated on the subject.
Ferrets have a unique digestive system and a particular diet, so their pooping habits may be slightly different from those of other pets you’ve been in contact with.
So then, how often do ferrets poop? How do we know that our dookers are eating and living as healthy as possible?
How often does a ferret use its litter box?
Ferrets’ digestive tracts are short while their metabolisms are fast. This causes them to use their litter boxes more often than other pets. You should expect their pooping corners to be visited regularly. If this is not happening, there may be some reason to worry, but do not be quick to panic.
The healthy and expected margins for any adult ferret are between 4 and 8 times a day. However, where your ferrets fall within those margins depends entirely on their diets.
Most ferrets eat a little at a time but visit their food bowl often. There are always exceptions to the rule, so don’t worry if your ferret is different. Just make sure they are not over-eating, under-eating, or gaining or losing weight.
Feeding patterns often reflect pooping patterns. You can expect a frequently-eating ferret to use its litter box more often as the food is processed in its body.
A ferret’s age and size determine how often they will eat. A younger ferret would require around 4 feedings a day, whereas an adult one around 8.
As you know, poop is the stuff that the body has decided to get rid of after processing the food. As a result, with ferrets being carnivores, there are many things their bodies cannot process well. Some cheaper foods or anything made for cats and dogs can not only make them poop more but also give them trouble as they will not be getting enough of the animal proteins they need.
Kibble diets that are made up of decent quality ferret foods will have your dookers in their litter box every 4-6 hours. No formula can be equivalent to raw meat, though. If your ferrets are fed actual meat, they should use their litter boxes less frequently as their bodies are able to process more of the food.
When a ferret’s pooping is abnormal, there is a good chance that the ferret is ill. Illness can often be discovered early on through poop. You need to be mindful not only of pooping frequency but also of the color, shape, texture, and consistency of the poop.
How can poop signify of illness
Anything from how often and where your ferrets do their business to the poop’s color, shape, texture, and consistency can serve as an early sign of illness.
Make sure you keep your eye on those things even when your ferrets are well, so you can identify any changes that may take place during illness.
Changes in when and how much your ferrets’ poop can be indicative of an illness, but this is far from a definitive way to find out whether a ferret is sick.
In the case where a ferret is not pooping at all, something could have gotten stuck inside. It’s common for ferrets to eat most things they find, but their digestive tracts have some tight spaces where a bigger, indigestible object could create a blockage.
On the other hand, if your ferret has been running for the bathroom all day, it may have other issues, such as diarrhea. Check the consistency of their poops as quickly as possible.
That said, you need to look for other behavior changes. Pooping frequency is not always a sign of a health issue. If you consider that there might be something wrong, take your pet to the vet.
Pooping outside of the litter box
Another common behavior for a ferret who has issues holding poop is going outside of their designated corners.
Ferrets are clean animals, so they will rarely poop in their playing or sleeping areas. But if they are unable to get to their preferred place in time, you might find poop anywhere else.
If you have the time, try to follow your ferrets after they wake up and while they are awake. Usually, ferrets go 15 minutes after they wake up. If you find that they do prefer their litter box, but are sometimes unable to hold poop in, take them to the vet.
This, just like pooping frequency and the way a ferret’s poop looks, could be a sign of some gastrointestinal problems.
Colour, shape, texture, and consistency of poop
A healthy ferret, on a consistent diet, should not have its poop look sickly or change in color and consistency every day. Any change may indicate that something is different in your ferret’s digestive system.
To make sure you are always on top of your ferret’s health, clean the litter box every day at the same time. If there is anything new or unusual, you will catch it before it’s too late.
If you happen to find one to two weirder or worse poops, don’t immediately assume your ferret is ill. This is not always a sign of a deeper issue, but the reverse is also true. Sick ferrets can have the occasional healthy-looking poop.
Don’t forget to check the ferrets’ litter box regularly as it can provide an early warning for some serious illnesses. The sooner a ferret’s illness is found out, the better.
All that in mind, know that poop is not always a reliable source of medical information. Pay attention to any other signs of discomfort or illness your fuzzies may be showing.
How to follow your ferrets’ pooping habits and take care of their litter box
First, make sure you choose a good litter box; set it up properly. If they don’t like it, they may not use it at all. Try to identify any issues your ferrets may have with it. Make sure it’s big enough and only use ferret-safe litter.
After that, choose a cleaning schedule. You should scoop poop every day, change the litter every week and go in for a deep clean of the box once or twice a month. If your ferrets poop more often or in larger amounts, your cleaning should reflect that. When there is no space in the box, they will do their business next to it.
Monitoring your ferrets’ schedules is often an easy task. You’ll have little difficulty telling when a ferret is going to the bathroom. Ferrets stop what they are doing when they need to go; they may make sounds or try to get away from you if you are in their way.
There are certain expectations of how often ferrets should poop. Those presumptions, however, are in no way a rule you should expect your ferrets to live by. They should serve more as a guideline for you – a responsible pet parent who wants to keep their ferrets healthy.
Track changes and keep in touch with a credible veterinarian who is better suited to identify which abnormalities are actual signs of illness.