Should I use a water bottle or bowl for my ferrets?
My ferrets splash their water bowl, what can I do?
Water bottles are not great for ferrets. They don’t provide adequate water. And they were designed for rodent teeth, not ferret teeth - ferrets can damage their teeth on the bottles. However, I have not seen this very often. What's a lot more common is ferrets damaging their teeth on the cage bars because they're frustrated at not being let out. So if you have a cage, the risk of tooth damage is already present.
In a perfect world, a large water bowl would be enough for your ferrets. The problem is that some ferrets like to dig their water out of the bowl or knock the bowl over and spill the water onto the floor. So what to do?
This is a bit of an unpopular opinion, but I think you should use both a water bowl and bottle inside your cage.
The reason I recommend also having a water bottle is as a backup in case their water bowl is emptied. Water bottles can't be spilled, and they generally can hold much more water than a bowl can. Let's say you got into a car accident and ended up in the hospital, unable to communicate for a few days. Your family and friends might be so concerned about you that they forget to check on your ferrets. In that case you'd be glad to know that they had a bottle they could drink from rather than going thirsty.
It's a pretty unlikely scenario, but it could happen, and I like to be safe rather than sorry. Most ferrets prefer to drink out of a bowl and won't drink out of the bottle unless the bowl is empty, so personally I think the risk of tooth damage is low.
My ferrets splash and dig their water bowl, what can I do?
Most importantly, do NOT remove their bowl. Forcing them to drink from a bottle only is cruel. Can you imagine having to quench your thirst one drop at a time? Bottles are not an appropriate source of hydration by themselves.
If they're pushing and knocking the bowl over, the best thing to do is to get a wall-attached bowl.
However some ferrets will still dig water out of this. What else can you do? Personally I say to embrace it. It's part of their personality, they're having fun, and it's just water, what's the big deal? I would recommend moving their food bowl a little further away or ensuring that their food bowl is taller than the water bowl so that their food doesn't get moldy. But otherwise, ferrets will be ferrets.
However I have found one drinking fountain that is shallow enough that most of them won't attempt to dig the water out. Check out my review below:
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