Can ferrets get bored of their food?
If your ferret is playing with its food dish or water bowl and there is food in there, then your ferret is telling you that it is bored.
If you’re a proud ferret owner, chances are you already know that ferrets have a knack for digging in food. From the occasional spilled kibble bowl to burrowing through the pantry, ferrets can find ways of getting into food you’d rather remain untouched. Unfortunately, when it comes to your ferret’s digging behavior, it’s not just a harmless nuisance — it can also be dangerous. From getting into perishables they shouldn’t be eating to knocking things over that pose a risk to their safety, it’s essential to find an effective way to divert your ferret’s digging behavior.
The good news is that there are several things you can do to help deter your ferret from digging in their food. With patience and consistency, you can help re-train your ferret’s behavior and keep them safe.
Understand the Reasons for Digging
Before you can address your ferret’s digging behavior, you first need to understand why they’re doing it in the first place. Different ferrets have different triggers for digging, but some of the most common reasons include being anxious, curious, and bored. If your ferret’s digging is a result of their boredom or curiosity, providing them with more things to mentally stimualte and do can promote their natural foraging behavior.
Keep Clean Eating Habits
One of the best ways to help prevent a ferret from digging in their food is to promote good eating habits. With regular cleanings and food changes, your ferret will be less likely to try and dig through the food. Start by avoiding overfeeding your ferret — try not to fill up the food dish to the brim. This way, you’ll be able to limit their eating to the food they truly need. Plus, it’ll help make their water clean and tidy.
Providing Fresh Food
When you give your ferret fresh food in a separate bowls, they’re less likely to become bored by their food, leading to less digging behavior. Offer your ferret treats and different types of food that are high in protein, fiber, and fat can help keep them from wanting to dig in the food and search for new, interesting dishes.
Keep a Watchful Eye
If your ferret is getting into their food dish, it’s important to reflect on your ferret’s environment. Take a second to look around, take some notes and see if anything has changed in the environment, any new surroundings and if the food is in a different location. Small changes in the environment can cause a ferret to act out, so if possible, try to keep things as similar as possible to how they were before the digging began.
Using Bitter Sprays
Often times, if a ferret just can’t break the habit of digging, a bitter spray may be a suitable solution. Bitter sprays, such as those designed for plants, can safely be applied to food and water bowls, as well as any other areas where your ferret has been digging. This way, if your ferret attempts to dig there, the foul taste will dissuade them from digging. Just be sure to keep the area clean and dry, as the sprays can be a risk to their respiratory health if left on for an extended period of time.
Provide Plenty of Stimulation
Digging can arise from boredom, so try your best to keep your ferret active and engaged. Together, you can try out different activities and things — such as puzzle feeders, interactive toys, and even a physical play area. All of these activities will be great ways to keep your ferret physically and mentally stimulated and prevent digging.
Introduce a Routine
One of the best ways to help prevent a ferret from digging in their food is to provide structure and consistency. Try to provide your ferret with the same food and water bowls in the same place every day. This way, your ferret will learn where the food and water will be, and won’t need to go scouting for it.
If your ferret’s digging is getting out of control, it’s important to be patient and do your best to work with them. The important thing is to show your ferret that it’s safe to explore their environment and learn a better, healthier way to exercise their curiosity. So if your ferret’s digging behavior is a problem, don’t fret! With consistency and understanding, you’ll be able to stop your ferret’s digging behavior in no time.