CAN YOU OWN A DOMESTICATED FOX AS A PET?
Nearly everyone has owned a dog or a cat as a pet but have you ever thought, what would it be like to own an exotic pet? Domesticated foxes are quickly becoming more and more common as household pets in the states that it is legal to do so. However, since this is relatively new pet owning territory, there isn’t a lot of information easily accessible on domesticated pet fox ownership as there is with more traditional pets. If you search long enough, you will find information, but it can be hard to find. Most of the websites this information is located on are not ranked high in Google authority, so the information isn’t readily available to those that need it.
Here at Everything Fox we want to provide you with the information you need as well as make it quick and easy for you to find so you can learn what you need to know. Learning from experience is great, but knowledge beforehand is key to making an educated decision later. I hope this article helps to inform you, ahead of time, so you will know if fox ownership is for you and if you are legally able to do so in your state.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Do foxes get along with other animals? Can domestic foxes be aggressive? Will my pet fox run away? These are probably just a few of the many questions you have about fox ownership. First and foremost, you must understand that a fox is a fox. A fox is not a dog; a fox is not a cat. So, therefore, you can’t expect a fox to carry all the traits of that of cats and dogs.
Although similar in certain ways, they will never be as domesticated as that of a dog or a cat. This difference doesn’t mean that the fox will not bond with you and be a fantastic pet. It just means to have realistic expectations and do not be upset when the animal acts like itself. You wouldn’t expect a deer to act like a horse, would you? Of course not.
The answer to the questions above is yes and no. Foxes can get along with other animals, but since every animal has a different attitude and personality, this varies animal to animal. Foxes can be aggressive, just as any other animal can be and they are more likely to run away as well. However, I have seen cases of runaway foxes making their way back home shortly after.
Doing your research on foxes will greatly help you decide if you are going to make a responsible owner but, as I mentioned before, there is not a lot of information available, and the information you do find can be contradicting from source to source. When doing your research, it’s best to consult with other fox owners. Also, some breeders may be willing to give you advice but find a breeder that will give you the cons to fox ownership along with the pros. Don’t get sucked into a sales pitch. Good breeders will advise you of all the cons, so they know the foxes leaving them will end up with loving, responsible owners who know the negatives and aren’t just swayed by a cute furry face. Buying a fox, only to realize it’s more than you can handle, will only result in the fox being the victim.
MAKING A DECISION
When we get our mind set on something it can be quite hard to see the truth through the hopeful expectations. Before I got my fox I admit I was swayed quite heavily by his sheer cuteness. I had completed minimal research, and the things I did see were either highly negative or obliviously positive. I had never owned a fox; I didn’t know their temperament or qualities, good or bad. However, growing up around animals I knew myself, and I knew I would make a fantastic fox owner. I knew that the fox I chose, no matter how wild or domestic he acted or ended up being, would still receive the attention and love that he needed and deserved. I will never let any animal suffer for my decisions and neither should you.
For me, fox ownership is a breeze. Maybe it’s because I have already adapted to various animals, so it comes easier to me, or I am so in love with my fox that I overlook his bad qualities, like he’s my child. Either way, I would never change my decision, and I actually would have done it sooner. So by now you can see how much I love and value my fox, but that doesn’t mean you will have the same feelings. Before making a decision, you should ask yourself, are you someone who can devote enough time and attention to any pet let alone a fox? Only you know your qualities and a real determination of those is by viewing your current or past pet ownership. If you couldn’t keep a dog or a cat and provide nurturing care for its lifetime, then you aren’t ready for a fox.
Foxes require a lot of time and attention. You can’t just leave them home with an automatic feeder or keep them in a cage until you have time for them. You shouldn’t be doing this with any animal, but foxes need human interaction frequently. If you want your pet fox to act more like a domesticated animal and not a wild one, then you need to bond with it. Bonding with any animal requires time. If you see this as a negative, then you shouldn’t become a fox owner. I can barely be away from my fox without missing him; I do not see him as a burden but a furry blessing that has given me much happiness.
Not having time for an animal is not a bad thing it just means you shouldn’t own an animal. Many people work many hours or have hobbies that keep them away from home, which is fine, just realize this before making a decision. Save yourself the trouble and avoid the fox having to be put on the back burner or possibly being swapped from home to home.
WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY
So you’ve completed your research, and you’ve thought about your decision. You know yourself, you’re a responsible pet owner, and you have the time and love to give to a fox but what does the law say? You may make a fabulous fox owner but what if the state says you can’t own a fox. There are many different breeds of foxes, and there are many different states. Not every fox is legal in every state; some require permits and in some areas none are legal.
I’m blessed that I live in a state in which it is legal to own a fox. A fast way to see if they are legal is to search for a breeder located in your state, if there is then great, that means they are legal in your state, but they still may require a permit or license to own. Contact your local breeder and find out what you need for fox ownership in your area. If there is not a breeder located in your state, check your state’s government website or contact your local wildlife agency. You should be able to google your states contact information on the matter quite easily.
If you only google your question about the legality of owning a fox in your state, you will get mixed answers as people who comment don’t always have the right facts on the matter. Don’t take the first comment you find as a fact, especially, if it’s not from a reputable source. Once you find out if your state allows fox ownership, contact your county. If both say it is legal, congratulations, you are one step closer to pet fox ownership.
ARE YOU PREPARED
You’ve done everything except locate a breeder and pick out your fox. You know you want a fox, and the law says you can have one but are you prepared? Do you have a designated outdoor play area for your fox? Have you accounted for the extra expense of owning a fox? Have you located a reputable veterinarian that has experience with exotic animals or one that is willing to learn? These are all important questions that you need to be able to answer, or you will be going into this unprepared.
I have been going to the same vet for years and even though they are not experts on domesticated foxes, they are more than willing to contact the right experts to learn what they need for proper fox care. You will want to find a vet that knows what they are doing because some foxes require different care than others. I wouldn’t advise you to go with an inexperienced fox vet unless your case was like mine. I highly trust my vet, and I have a great relationship with them, however, this may not be the case for you. If it is not, then, take time and search for a good vet that fits your fox’s needs.
Your Fox will also receive a rabies vaccine during one of your visits to your vet. The vaccine protects the fox from the rabies virus, but it doesn’t protect him or her from other people. For example, in my state even if my fox has the rabies vaccine and licks or bites a person, that person can then have my pet killed and tested for rabies. My state doesn’t recognize the rabies vaccine even though he has been given it. So it’s better to be safe than sorry and not let strangers touch or hold your fox. Knowledge is crucial, and this knowledge could save your fox’s life, so find out if your state recognizes the rabies vaccine in foxes as soon as you can.
Along with owning any animal comes expenses. You should be prepared for the cost of your fox’s care and be willing and able to provide emergency funds if your fox ever needs it. Your lack of preparation does not warrant suffering for any pet. You are responsible for their well-being, and they rely on you so be prepared for their sake.
Your Fox will also need an outside play area for days when the weather permits. I advise you to place your fox’s enclosure in the shade and secure the top and bottom of the play area. Foxes can dig and climb very fast, and they have sharp teeth that can just about tear through anything. You can make your foxes play area out of wood or metal but just make sure it has a solid or thick wire bottom and top or your Fox will most definitely escape. Also, make sure it has adequate space and coverage. You wouldn’t want your fox to be cramped up in a small area or get soaking wet if it starts to rain because they have no coverage over their play area.
I have learned that my pet fox enjoys his play spot outside, but he also enjoys one on one time with me as well as playing with our dogs in the house. Now if you allow your pet fox to play inside your house, you will need to fox proof everything. If there is something you love sitting around, put it away when your fox comes inside to play. They can and will chew on shoes, cords, and pretty much whatever interests them or catches their eye.
Be careful not to let your fox get loose or run outside. If you have a lot of family in and out of your house, it can be challenging and stressful to have your fox loose in your home. I constantly worry about someone letting mine out by accident, so I made a sign saying “The fox is out” and I hang it on my front door when he is out playing. Now, I’m sure this has completely confused our UPS man; I can only imagine what he must be thinking, but the best way to prevent mistakes or accidents is to prepare for them. This precaution significantly reduces your stress and keeps your fox safe.
FINDING A REPUTABLE BREEDER
You’ve now fox proofed your home, and you’re ready for your new furry family member but where will you find your new pet fox? Thoroughly search for local fox breeders first, this could save you on shipping or a long drive to pick up your fox. I didn’t know that there was a breeder in my state, so I ended up driving nine hours to pick up my bouncy bundle of joy. Afterward, I found out there was a breeder a lot closer but in the end, I am jubilant with the fox I chose. If you don’t want to travel that far, some breeders will ship to you, but I decided to drive because I didn’t want my fox kit to be alone and stressed on his trip. The positive side is now when he rides; he is the best little passenger.
Once you’ve found a licensed breeder see if they have the fox you are looking for and ask as many questions as you need. If they are a good breeder, they will be happy to answer any of your questions and should answer any questions you have after your purchase as well. In my experience, the breeder I bought from did respond to my initial questions but then disappeared after I purchased my fox. I would not recommend this breeder because of this. It left me with the impression that this particular breeder was only interested in the sale and was not raising these animals for the sheer love of the breed.
I feel that if you are an animal breeder of any kind you should be accessible to those who have purchased from you. You should also want to know how the animals you produced are doing and if they are receiving the proper care. Everything in this world costs money, but that should not be the sole source of which drives a breeder. So when looking for a breeder, ask other fox owners who they would recommend; if they are happy with their chosen breeder, then they must be answering all their questions and showing a passion for what they produce. Also, do not forget your USDA paperwork that the breeder will provide to you upon purchasing your fox. These are very important papers that you will need to keep somewhere safe.
I hope this article has helped you determine if a fox is right for you.
Good luck in all your future fox endeavors.