Having a pet Arctic fox can be like living in a dream, or it can make you feel like you’re in a nightmare that doesn’t end, depending on if you knew what to expect beforehand. They aren’t an animal that just anyone can care for, but if you are interested in caring for and living with these amazing animals, hang on here and try to keep up.
First you need to ask yourself, is owning a pet arctic fox legal in your state? Before you even consider bringing one in to your life, you need to look into legality. Not every state allows you to own a pet arctic fox, and even if the state allows them, there may be restrictions within your city, county, or even your HOA if you have one where you live. While arctic foxes are not native to the US, if you happen to live in an area where they are native, PLEASE DO NOT TAKE WILD ARCTIC FOXES IN AND TRY TO MAKE THEM PETS. If you find a wild arctic fox in need of assistance, please find a rehabber immediately. Rehabbers can be found by contacting your local wildlife department or by downloading ANIMAL HELP NOW.
If you are considering a pet arctic fox as a companion, a large enclosure is a must. Red foxes do not do well indoors. It is near impossible to potty train an arctic fox. Arctic foxes have a skunky scent, and will normally mark anything they like. Not to mention, arctic foxes can be quite destructive indoors.
The basics for an arctic fox enclosure are:
The enclosure must have a full top and bottom. The top can be either a full roof or welded wire, and the bottom needs to be either buried welded wire, concrete, or wood.
Make sure all wire used is at least 12.5ga, preferably welded wire, and that none of the openings in the wire are larger than 2×4″. Any wire that is less than 12.5 gauge with holes any larger than 2×4 inches isn’t escape proof or safe.
A double opening, or catch door, is necessary to help keep your pet arctic fox safe.
The bigger, the better, and if at all possible, it’s best to provide an area that’s temperature controlled if you live in an area where it gets hot during the summer. Arctic foxes need lots of room, and it’s not fair to keep them in small cages. If you can’t provide an adequate home for a fox, please don’t try to change them to fit into your life.
Something else that is incredibly important to think about is your pet arctic fox’s diet. Arctic Foxes aren’t a pet you can just go out to the store and buy a bag of kibble for, and it’s necessary to make sure their diet is correct to keep them as healthy as possible.
Since arctic foxes are omnivores they do benefit from having some fruits and veggies in their diet, but their main meal should be raw meat. Whole prey is an amazing way to get everything your pet arctic fox needs without all the measuring, but that’s not always the easiest to find depending on where you live. When you can’t find whole prey, balancing out your pet arctic fox’s diet is very important. This task can seem daunting, but isn’t that difficult once you get the hang of it.
To be nutritionally balanced, your pet arctic fox’s raw diet should have: 75% muscle meat, 10% raw bone that is small enough to chew through-non weight bearing bones are best to keep them from breaking a tooth, 5% offal such as kidney, spleen, brain, etc, 5% liver, and the remaining amount should be fruits and veggies that are safe for pets.
Eggs tend to be a lot of foxes favorite food, and while they can have raw eggs occasionally, boiled eggs are actually better if you feed often. Too many raw eggs can cause a biotin deficiency due to the high levels of avidin, which binds biotin.
Keep in mind, that while pet arctic foxes do best with raw meat, some meats should be avoided. Meats such as beef and pork are more likely to cause gout in foxes. Both are fattier and cause their organs to work harder, not to mention pork can sometimes be a host to parasites that can be harmful to foxes. Since arctic foxes have the high uric acid levels just like red species do, feeding leaner white meats are better. Other meats such as rats and mice are high in retinol, so while they can be safely fed, be weary on how often or how much they are given of these meats.
And let’s not forget their need for taurine. Arctic Foxes need at least 500mg-800mg a day of taurine, so taurine rich foods should be fed with every meal. Some of the meats highest in taurine are :
Seafood such as scallops, mussels, whole tuna, and salmon
Poultry, especially in the dark meat of turkey and chicken
While meats with less taurine that are:
On top of balancing out a raw diet, there are several supplements you can give to help keep your pet arctic fox healthy, the most important one being taurine. Arctic foxes are somewhat picky and won’t always like certain meats, but if you supplement with at least 500mg of pure taurine powder that will help offset their picky eater.
At Exotic Pet Wonderland we feed our arctic foxes a variety of different meats including rabbit, poultry, seafood, goat, lamb, rodents, and eggs of all kinds. We also feed fruits and veggies including broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, pumpkin, celery, cucumber, squash, sugar snap peas and snow peas, blue berries, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, raspberries, apples being careful to exclude the core and seeds, cherries without the pit, and others that are in season at the time.
One aspect of pet fox ownership people often overlook is vet care. Unlike dogs and cats, a lot of vets won’t treat pet arctic foxes, or don’t know enough about arctic foxes to properly care for them. Because of that, it’s incredibly important to not only research ahead of time and find a knowledgeable, experienced vet; it’s also important to know the basics yourself and make sure you confirm with your vet what medications and vaccines they are giving your pet arctic fox. Due to arctic foxes being more sensitive to many medications compared to dogs, and fox specific vaccines not existing, it’s important to know what vaccines are safe as some modified or live vaccines can quickly become a death sentence.