Basic Fox Care
Please read all of the following prior to applying for or inquiring about adoption. If your question can be answered below we will refer you back to this page.
1. The first thing you’ll want to do as a hopeful fox owner is to make sure that it is legal to own a fox in your state. (We can only adopt out to residents/homes in the US) Some states only allow certain species, some you must have a DNR permit and some just do not allow any species of foxes whatsoever. If your state is one which allows foxes as PETS (not to be confused with owning them as livestock) check with your county, city, and/or township ordinances. SaveAFox Rescue is not responsible for determining your eligibility to own a fox from a legal standpoint.
2. Do you rent your home, or own your home? We do not adopt to those renting a home or apartment because foxes are naturally curious which leads to destruction. Landlords typically do not allow for exotic pets to be kept. Foxes also do not do well in most apartments because they need plenty of space to run and play, and access to the outdoors.
3. A fox will require an outdoor fox-proof and safe enclosure. This is also why it can be hard providing in an apartment setting. In some states, the DNR (or other governing departments) will have certain requirements for minimum size enclosures, as well as height of fences. The enclosure should be dig proof, (fencing that extends underground so that foxes cannot just dig under the fence at the bottom) and also have a secure and stable roof. We recommend always locking your enclosure for your fox’s safety. This is also the safest place for your fox to be when you’re not home. Never leave your fox alone inside the home unattended, they cannot be trained to stay out of things (such as garbage, drawers, etc.)
4. You will need a veterinarian that can treat your fox for basic care as well as emergency care. Not all veterinarians are licensed to treat exotic animals; finding a veterinarian who is willing and capable of treating a fox patient can be difficult to do. SaveAFox will always check out the license of the veterinarian whose name you provide prior to allowing a fox adoption.
5. Foxes need raw meat, organs, bones, plant matter, and eggs as part of a healthy diet. The amino acid Taurine is only found in RAW meat and organs. Without Taurine foxes can have seizures, go blind, and other serious health issues.
A typical fox’s diet consists of: High quality grain free dog food such as Acanna, Instinct, Tender and True, or Merrick. Lean raw meat such as chicken, rodents, rabbit, and venison. Whole prey as often as possible, whole rodents are best for this as they can be easily purchased. Foxes need bone and organ in their diet to be healthy. raw organ is the best source of taurine. Foxes also need plant matter in their diet such as berries, squash, melon, and green beans. Each fox has their own preferences and you will need to experiment a little with what your fox likes. Eggs are another great item to feed your fox. They can be raw or cooked, in shell or out.
Why raw meat? Cooking breaks down the essential nutrient taurine. If you must cook your foxes meat or cannot feed meat for some reason, their diet can be supplemented with taurine in powdered form. We also encourage feeding freeze dried raw dog kibble if you cannot feed actual raw. This can be purchsed from brands like Instinct and Tender and True.
Do not feed:
No Pork or bear- This is due to them carrying a dangerous parasite called Trichinella. Most parasites are killed by freezing the meat, but trichinella can only be killed by thoroughly cooking the meat. Pork is also very high fat.
No Beef- Beef as well as pork are very high fat. Beef can be fed in small amounts but should be mostly avoided. The high fat content can lead to health issues such as pancreatitis.
No cooked bones nor weight bearing bones. Cooked bones will splinter and crack causing intestinal rips. Weight bearing bones are to hard and will crack teeth. An example is cow leg bones. Machine cut bones should also be avoided.
No cat food. This is a common mistake for fox owners. People believe because cat food contains taurine it should be fed to foxes. Cat food is to high in calories and does not contain the proper nutritional value for a fox. Cat food has been known to lead to severe kidney issues over time and even total renal failure in foxes.
6. Playtime and active engagement are essential to a fox’s wellbeing. These pets require commitment and need daily play, interaction and love. They can not be left alone for too long or it can damage the bond between owner and fox.
7. Are you over the age of 18 and do you have a stable paying job? Foxes are more expensive than your average pet to care for, and cost can come up unexpected. Typically, foxes are considered exotic pets, and will carry a higher pricetag for routine care at the veterinarian’s office. Additionally, as mentioned above, the raw meat in their diet adds up to quite a bit more cost than a dog or cat’s kibble would.
8. Discipline is damaging. You must always remember that foxes are not like owning and caring for a dog or cat. Having patience is a must, and you should never scream at or otherwise discipline your fox. That’s right, foxes, unlike many pets, do not and will not understand discipline. THIS INCLUDES HOUSEBREAKING. Foxes cannot all be guaranteed to be house broken either they will always ‘mark’ on whatever they deem is theirs. When a fox does something you find unfavorable, it is essential that you deal with it without repercussion to the fox. If a fox digs a hole in your sofa cushion, you must remember this is what you signed on for! Foxes can climb, chew, and dig through most material. Discipline/punishment has the potential to damage your bond together.
States where Red Pet Fox ownership is legal (with permit):
If the state you reside in is not on this list then it is ILLEGAL to own a fox, please do not continue with an application submission. As laws change, this list will be updated.
Note: This list was most recently updated in 2017. You will need to contact your state's Department of Natural Resources (or equivalent office) to ensure the legality of owning a pet fox or other wildlife.
Minnesota*-Permits can be very difficult to get
New York (Fennec foxes only; no red/gray/arctic/other as pets)
Pennsylvania* - Permits require 200 hours of wildlife rehabilitation experience