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Even though ferrets are relatively new to the pet world, these charming weasels have been human companions for thousands of years, as author Karen Dale Dustman shares in the opening of Ferrets. The first chapter of the book (“A Nod to Ferret History”) paints a fascinating portrait of ferrets’ place in human and natural history (who knew they were related to minks?). Since ferrets aren’t legal in all states (or cities and counties, depending on local statutes), potential owners are advised to do their homework before purchasing a ferret. (A complete chapter on legal and regulatory concerns can be found at the end of the book.) The chapter “Choosing a Ferret Companion” offers solid advice about selecting a healthy ferret, where to purchase, and owner considerations such as spaying/neutering and de-scenting. The author has written two excellent chapters about acclimating the new ferret to the home and living with this clever, fun-loving critter. These chapters detail the selection of the best cage, litter box options, feeding, ferret-proofing the home for safety, grooming, and daily care. The most important chapter in the book focuses on training the naturally mischievous ferret from developing unacceptable habits (including nipping and squirming). A bright, well-mannered ferret can also be trained to use a litter box, walk on a harness and leash, and perform tricks. The chapter also discusses strategies for dealing with a lost ferret and the importance of microchipping. Keeping the ferret healthy is the subject of “Medical Basics,” a chapter that covers choosing a veterinarian, routine checkups, vaccinations, rabies, heartworm, and ferret-specific ailments. Sidebars on warning signs and first aid will prove especially helpful in emergencies. The appendices of the book include hints for photographing the ferret and lists of clubs, organizations, and websites. Glossary of terms and index included.

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