How to Tell if Your Ferret is Depressed: Signs and Symptoms5 min read

I am sure you’ve seen your ferret moping around and looking miserable, but did you know that this could be a sign that they are depressed? Ferrets are sensitive animals who need plenty of mental stimulation to stay happy.

If they don’t get the exercise they need, or their environment is too boring, they can start feeling down.

In this post, we’ll explore the signs and symptoms of depression in ferrets, along with some tips for helping them beat it!

Well, actually, we should not project human emotions onto our ferrets. There is even a word for it: anthropomorphizing.

But still, isn´t it true that sometimes your furry friend looks not as happy as usual?

In that case, there are some signs and symptoms of depression in ferrets you should know about.

That way, when your furry friend looks particularly sad or starts acting differently than before (especially for a prolonged period), it’s time to take a closer look.

No matter how affectionate your ferret can be, it’s not uncommon for them to experience signs of depression.

Signs Of Depression on Your Ferret

Has your furry friend been acting less lively or playful?

If you see your ferret moping around, not doing much of anything, and just generally looking miserable all the time, then this could be a sign that they are depressed.

Normally ferrets need plenty to do both physically (playtime) as well mentally (lots mental stimulation such as puzzle toys).

Loss of Appetite

Maybe it doesn´t like to eat as much as it used to and may not eat a healthy diet.

Karen Purcell, DVM, of the Wholepet Health Center in Everett, Massachusetts, noted, “I have certainly heard of ferrets searching frantically, or just wandering around sort of lost, after the euthanasia of one of the business. Quite common, actually. Most respond to an increase in attention with hand-feeding if the appetite seems off.”


Does your ferret seem to be getting more aggressive than usual-for example, unnecessarily attacking other pets like cats and dogs in your household?

Perhaps your ferret doesn´t play with other pets or people anymore?

Health Reasons?

Is your ferret running frantically, being lethargic, playing with toys like babies, being very grumpy, or refusing to eat? This could well be signs of some kind of illness.

  • Pancreatic cancer could cause confusion, with frantic outbursts followed by collapse and lethargy
  • The behavior of babying toys may arise when your ferret is affected by adrenal neoplasia.
  • Many illnesses such as cardiomyopathy, systemic infection, and insulinoma may cause lethargy.
  • Discomfort can result in grumpiness.
  • Infectious diseases can cause lethargy, too.

If these are the signs, then your ferret may be suffering from canine distemper or viral infection of some kind and needs veterinary attention urgently!”

Change of Environment

Maybe your ferret has been in an environment that has sudden changes to the temperature, like going from a cold place into one with more heat.

Or you’ve moved your ferret out of its usual living space, or you have moved altogether into a new home?

This could be quite stressful for them because they have no idea what’s happening or why!

Give them some time to explore and get used to their new surroundings.

When your ferret has adjusted, make sure you have a place for them so they can hide away from the hustle-bustles of life!”

Is your Ferret Bored?

Maybe your ferret is just bored of its toys. If your ferret is in a cage, make sure that there are plenty of “cool” toys for them to get their paws on!

You can also give the old ones an upgrade with some fresh new material.

But most importantly: When was the last time YOU played with your ferret? Remember, YOU are their toy and companion number one!

It’s important for your ferret to know that you enjoy their company! They may be feeling neglected and not getting enough attention.

Just a few minutes of playing with them each day could make all the difference in how they feel about life!

Make sure to spend some one-on-one time with your pet, and they will soon be back in the “groove” of things.

Ferrets are joyfull and playfull creatures that enjoy playing and exploring. Yet, sometimes they can get depressed.

Signs and symptoms of a ferret with depression are difficult to detect and vary from one animal or species to the other. Keep your eyes open!

That’s why it is important that every time you see your pet acting strangely in any way, you should take note of it.

This will help you identify whether your ferret is depressed or just going through a phase, and in either case, what to do about the situation!


Signs of your furry friend to be depressed are, lack of appetite, lethargie, aggressivness, and loosing its playfull nature.

It is important to notice if your ferret, or any other animal for that matter suffers from these signs and symptoms so you can take appropriate action.

Go and see your veterinarian if your friend stays in a “depressed” mood for more than a week to make sure that it’s not something serious.

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