Ferret Depression Symptoms. What To Look Out For

  • By: FerretGuides
  • Time to read: 8 min.
Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Ferrets are happy and friendly pets. In fact, if you are looking for a companion who doesn’t need a lot of space, getting a ferret is a great idea. However, as with other pets, once you adopt a ferret, you are responsible for them. This article will highlight ferret depression symptoms as well as other emotional disorders.

Ferrets are happy and friendly pets. In fact, if you are looking for a companion who doesn’t need a lot of space, getting a ferret is a great idea. However, as with other pets, once you adopt a ferret, you are responsible for them. This article will highlight ferret depression symptoms as well as other emotional disorders.

Well, before I get right into it, I must mention that ferrets will rarely become neurotic. At the same time, they are also prone to emotional upset. So if you are wondering whether ferrets can get depressed, the answer is yes.

There are three circumstances that are likely to cause depression for your ferret;

Change of ownership

Absence of a playmate

Neglected ferrets


Ferret Depression Symptoms

Change of ownership


Well, I usually term this as temporary depression. It happens to almost all ferrets when they change ownership. When you bring a ferret home, he might start acting up. This might go on for the next few days until he is comfortable around the new surroundings.

It could happen especially when you adopt an older ferret. He is already used to a certain routine and with different people. At home, he might seem distant and lethargic until he is comfortable. It should not take long to get him back on track.


Absence of a playmate


This could be a serious emotional issue when your ferret is separated from his companion. For instance, if you had two ferrets and one dies or gets separated from the cage, the remaining ferret will suffer the loss.

While ferrets are self-sufficient, they get along pretty well with other ferrets. They will play, sleep and feed together in the cage. It creates an attachment for each other which might cause depression once one is gone.

Well, this might need a lot comforting especially when a companion has a diet. I will outline how to deal with ferret depression later in this article.


Neglected ferrets


You see, getting a pet is demanding. You must be able to commit to serve your ferret and provide care for him. Failure to do so will only create emotional issues for your ferret. For instance, if you never leave enough food or water for your ferret, you are putting his emotional and physical health in danger.

I have written multiple articles about ferret care before. You must provide good housing, quality feeds and also playtime for your ferret. Not only is it harmful but it is also unfair and abusive to neglect your ferret’s needs.

At the same time, you should ensure that he is living in a clean environment.

Without much delay, let us look at some of the symptoms of ferret depression to watch out for.


Ferret Depression Symptoms

Ferret depression symptoms


Now that we have established that ferrets too can suffer from depression, what are the symptoms? Well, before I outline them, I must say that some of these symptoms could mean that your ferret is ill. Thus, you must observe him closely and consult your vet if you are concerned.

The symptoms of a ferret depression include the following




Depression in ferrets does not differ much from human depression. It is only that it is difficult to tell when your ferret is depressed from when he is sick. However, if he seems a little blue, and without energy, something is amiss.

Now, the reason I say this is because I have experienced it. During the first few days of our ferret at our house, he was lethargic. I honestly thought something was wrong as he would spend the day sleeping. Well, our vet examined him to rule out any other illnesses.




Well, a depressed ferret will not associate with you or anyone. If your jovial ferret has suddenly become despondent, then you might have a problem. This means that he does not want to engage in any activities, not even his favorite games.

If he does not want to play and is unresponsive to everyone, it could be that he is depressed. Now, this is one of the symptoms that represent serious depression in ferrets. As I have mentioned above, sometimes your ferret could suffer serious mental distress as a result of losing a companion.

Determine the reason why your ferret is suffering from depression and console him.

In the next section of this article, we are going to look at how to handle depression in ferrets.


Retarded appearance


Yes, depression will change your ferret’s appearance, especially when it goes unnoticed. For instance, he might shed his fur excessively, and untimely. Other ferrets will gain a lot of weight while others will have a recognizable loss of weight.

Once again, this is a symptom that your ferret has serious depression. You will need to address this as soon as possible.

However, this can also indicate that your ferret is medically sick. For this reason, I suggest you visit your vet to examine your ferret.


Ferret Depression Symptoms


Lack of appetite


Well, some ferrets will not eat their food when depressed. He will refuse to eat his regular meals and also reject his favorite treats. Again, this indicates a serious case of ferret depression. When your ferret refuses to eat completely, you should take him to the vet immediately.

Some ferrets refuse to eat completely and it could lead to ferret death. I mean, ferrets have a short digestive system which means increased metabolism. As a result, these ferrets need to keep eating throughout the day.

There have been cases of reported induced starvation in depressed ferrets. You should, therefore, consult your vet if your ferret refuses to eat completely.


Sleeping with a favorite toy


Have you observed your ferret holding their favorite toy while sleeping soundly? Well, tell you what, you cannot get that toy out of his hands, can you? While it is not always an indicator that your ferret is depressed but usually an indication of distress.

One of my friend’s ferret passed away a few months ago. The remaining ferret was sad and pretty much inconsolable. He would look around, climb up and down his cage in a frantic way, trying to look for his playmate. Eventually, he adopted a habit of sleeping with the dead ferret’s toy.

Well, if your ferrets seem to exhibit other signs of depression as I have highlighted above, it could be that he has severe depression.


How to treat ferret depression


Whenever you see a loved one sad and distressed, the initial response is that you want to help. It is the same with pets. You want your ferret to be happy, and run around like he is supposed to. So if your ferret has depression, what do you do to help?

Below, I am going to outline ways in which you can help your depressed ferret.


Find pleasurable games to engage in


For whatever reason your ferret might be depressed, you should try as much as you can to ensure that he gets better. As with depression in humans, this is not going to be an easy road. It can be pretty difficult to get your ferret to play when he feels depressed. Now, you must work to come up with activities to engage in.

For instance, you could take a 15-minutes’ walk with your ferret. This should expose him to interesting sounds, views, and scents.


Provide proper care for your ferret



As I mentioned earlier, some ferrets become depressed because they are neglected. Therefore, you must provide proper care for your ferret. This includes providing enough food, playtime, and clean environments.

Clean his cage at least weekly and scoop his litter at least daily. The key is to provide safety and comfort since your ferret will spend most of his life in the cage. At the same time, you must show attention to your ferret. Take him out of the cage for at least four hours a day.


Don’t replace a playmate


As I have indicated above, it can be devastating for your ferret to lose a playmate. As much as it hurts you to have lost your pet, your remaining ferret suffers the loss. He could get depressed from the loss. However, do not think about replacing the one who passed away.

While ferrets do well with each other, it can be even more depressing to have another new ferret share a cage with him. You should help him get over the depression by consoling and comforting him. For instance, you can offer him nice treats and let him feed on your hand.

Also, you can pick him up and hug him for consolation. Spend as much time with your depressed ferret as it will help. Do not introduce another pet in the household while your ferret is still handling depression.


Our Final Thoughts on Ferret Depression Symptoms


To cure your ferret of depression, you must understand the reason behind it. However, do not ignore the above-outlined symptoms of depression. If you cannot seem to understand why your ferret seems to be in distress, you should talk with your vet. Through thorough examination, your vet will be able to rule out the possibility of medical issues and give you a conclusive diagnosis.

I must mention that ferrets will rarely become neurotic. At the same time, they are also prone to emotional upset. So if you are wondering whether ferrets can get depressed, the answer is yes.


Our Ferret Care Guide.


My son Bobby and I hope you have some valuable information in the article we have written for you.

Being life long ferret owners and breeders we are passionate about sharing our knowledge with you and we write on this website every day to help our fellow ferret lovers.

Some time ago we wrote a complete and definitive guide to keeping ferrets. It has been used by thousands of ferret owners whether old or newbies. It is an absolute must for you.

So, JUST GO HERE, have a look and gain immediate access to our guide now.


Our hand-picked items for you.


We were and still asked for recommendations needed for ferret keeping essentials. So, what we did was just that and you can see our special items and they are all from Amazon. Just go here.



Leave a Reply

Lethargic Ferret

Previous Post

Lethargic Ferret. What Are The Signs

Next Post

Are Ferrets Good Pets for Children? Everything Parents Should Consider