Living with red foxes can either sound like a dream or a nightmare, depending on who you are. They aren’t an animal that everyone should have, but if you are interested in leaning about what it takes to care for and share your life with a pet red fox, you have come to the right place.
Are pet red foxes legal in your state? Before you even consider having a pet fox in your life, you need to look into legality. Not every state allows pet foxes. Even if your state does, there may be restrictions within your city, county, or even your HOA. Here is a map of the states where keeping a red fox is legal. Keep in mind, all of the information given regarding pet red foxes is for captive born foxes, not wild born. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE WILD FOXES IN AND TRY TO MAKE THEM PETS. If you find a wild fox in need of assistance, please find a rehabber immediately. You can find rehabbers by contacting your local wildlife department. You can also download ANIMAL HELP NOW on your phone and search that way.
If you are considering a pet red fox as a companion, a large enclosure is a must. Red foxes do not do well indoors. It is near impossible to potty train a red fox. Red foxes have a skunky scent, and will normally mark anything they like. Not to mention, red foxes are quite destructive indoors.
Providing your pet red fox with a proper diet is a requirement for keeping your animal happy and healthy. Red foxes aren’t a pet you can just go out to the store and buy a bag of kibble for. For that reason, it takes it’s a fair amount of work to ensure their diet is correct to keep them healthy.
Since red foxes are omnivores, they benefit from having some fruits and veggies in their diet. Their main meal, however, should be raw meat. Whole prey is an amazing way to get everything your fox needs without all the measuring. Unfortunately, that’s not always the easiest to find depending on where you live. When you can’t find whole prey, balancing out your pet 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 fox’s raw diet should have:
65-70% 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.
The remaining amount should be fruits and veggies that are safe for pets.
Eggs are a lot of foxes’ favorite food, and while gray foxes can have raw eggs occasionally, boiled eggs are actually better if you feed them often. Too many raw eggs can cause a biotin deficiency due to the high levels of avidin, which binds biotin.
Keep in mind, while pet red 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. Feeding leaner white meats is better for gray foxes. Other meats such as rats and mice are high in retinol. Meaning while they can be safely fed, you must wary of how often or how much they are given.
At Exotic Pet Wonderland we feed our red 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, blueberries, 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.
On top of balancing out a raw diet, there are several supplements you can give to help keep your pet red fox healthy, the most important one being taurine. Red foxes are somewhat picky and won’t always like certain meats. In that case, you supplement with at least 500mg of pure taurine powder. This should help offset their picky eating.
If you’ve ever spoken to someone who owns or works with red foxes, I’m sure you’ve heard about their stench. Sadly most pet foxes, both red and arctic, end up surrendered due to the lack of research or misinformation about their smell. The species, their diet, and whether they are altered or not all part in how they smell. Red foxes have glands all over their body that help them to have that “wonderful” stench. There is no way to descent a red fox. Additionally, most of their scent will come from urine and feces. Red foxes use their scent to distinguish themselves, claim things they believe are theirs, and find a mate. However, when you own a captive bred fox, those things are a real headache. This is especially true if you try to keep your pet fox indoors. Since red foxes don’t fully litter train and have such a pungent odor, new owners will get overwhelmed if they aren’t prepared. Even though you can’t completely eliminate a pet red fox’s odor, there are a few things you can do to help. Some of these things are great for their health as well!
Part of the reason pet red foxes stink is because they have such a high uric acid level. To help that, feeding your fox a diet that helps lower uric acid will help with their smell and overall health.
Cherries (the more tart the better, but make sure they are pitted before feeding)
Blueberries (or any berries really)
Avoiding red meat will also help uric acid. Red meats have higher uric acid levels.
A great supplement you can add to your fox’s water to help uric acid is apple cider vinegar.
Exotic Pet Wonderland feeds our red foxes all of these things. Although it doesn’t completely fix the smell, it does lesson it and keeps them healthier.
Other than diet, getting your pet red fox fixed will sometimes help with their scent. This is especially true during mating season! They won’t have the same desire attract a mate, therefore their smell isn’t as necessary. Other than that, cleaning as often as possible and using products aimed at getting rid of skunk stench will help you stay on top of the smell issue.
One aspect of pet fox ownership people often overlook is vet care. Unlike dogs and cats, a lot of vets won’t treat pet red foxes, or don’t know enough about red 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 red fox. Due to red 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.