Hayward, CA goldenstateferretsociety@gmail.com 510.755.9532

Ferret Do’s & Don’ts

Ferret Dos

Ferrets are crafty little creatures! They are also very different from typical domesticated animals like cats or dogs, so they require some special attention in various areas of care and treatment.

  • Do read, study, and talk to other ferrets owners, locate an experienced ferret veterinarian, and make sure a ferret is the right animal for you and your family before you bring one home.
  • Do make sure a high quality, high protein food is available at all times (A mix of 2-3 ferret food brands is best).
  • Do make sure your ferrets have a dark place to hide and sleep.
  • Do make sure your ferrets have fresh, clean water at all times.
  • Do put your ferret in a covered carrier when in the car.
  • Do get regular vet check ups and shots from an experience ferret veterinarian.
  • Do ferret-proof your house thoroughly.
  • Do trim your ferret’s nails, clean their ears and brush their teeth regularly. Also make sure they are protected from fleas.
  • Do be aware of their legal status in your area.
  • Do clean their litter boxes daily and wash their litter boxes and bedding weekly.
  • Do keep your ferrets indoors with their families where they belong.
  • Do give them hairball remedy weekly.
  • Do give them plenty of play time: With you daily, out of their cage (if you must cage them), and give them toys which are constantly rotated.
  • Do be aware of their temperature sensitivity. Ferrets cannot stand temperature over 80 degrees. Make sure their cage is not near a window or under a heating or air conditioning vent.

Ferret Don’ts

  • Don’t get a ferret if you do not have the time or the money to commit to it. Ferrets live 7-10 years. Your ferret will love and trust you, please commit to him for the duration of his life.
  • Don’t give you ferrets too many treats. Treats should not make up significant portions of your ferrets diet.
  • Don’t bath your ferret more than once a month. Remember a ferret’s body temperature is 102°F so water that feels cool to you is icy to them.
  • Don’t wait to take your ferret to the vet when showing signs of illness.
  • Don’t rely on the advice of a pet store or breeder regarding Ferret Law. Check with an appropriate agency for information regarding ownership where you live.
  • Don’t take your ferret out in public in California, except to the veterinarian, due to their illegal status.
  • Don’t leave your ferrets loose in the house when you have guests. They don’t know about them the way you do and could harm or release your ferrets accidentally.
  • Don’t declaw your ferret! This will cripple your ferret. They need their claws to climb, keep balance, and grab on to things.
  • Don’t release a ferret into the wild. They have been domesticated for so long that they wouldn’t know how to survive without you. Call your local ferret club for placement or help.
  • Don’t purchase a ferret on impulse. Read, study, prepare and be sure a ferret is the right pet for you and your family before bringing a ferret home.
  • Don’t let your ferret run loose in your laundry room or kitchen. They both have potential safety hazards.
  • Don‘t allow your ferret to play unsupervised with other animals or children.
  • Don’t let anyone baby-sit your ferret that isn’t experienced in ferret care.
  • Don’t put a ferret cage directly in the sun or under a heater or air-conditioning vent. Ferrets cannot tolerate temperatures over 80°F . Your ferret could get sick or even die if he can’t escape the sun, heat, or cold.
  • Don’t use wood shavings in your ferret’s cage or litter that is clay or corncob. Recycled newspaper litter, such as Yesterdays News, or wood stove pellets are the safest and best to use.
  • Don’t feed your ferret chocolate, alcohol, coffee, soda, dairy products, seeds/nuts, high sugar foods, or raw egg whites. These can cause serious health problems.
  • Don’t feed your ferret dog or cat food. There are plenty of high quality ferret foods out there designed just for their nutritional needs.
  • Don’t ever use human toothpaste to brush your ferret’s teeth. This can be poisonous. Use a ferret paste such as “Marshall Ferrets” Ferret Toothpaste.
  • Don’t let you ferret play with or chew on anything made of rubber. This could cause an internal blockage, which can be fatal to ferrets.

Household Hazards

  • Garbage Cans: Ferrets can hide in here and get dumped out, and escape or be crushed, or eat something they shouldn’t.·
  • Electrical and Computer Connections Cords: Ferrets will chew these or pull whatever they are attached to down on themselves.·
  • Box Springs: Ferrets will dig through the backing and get up in there.·
  • Recliners: This is deadly when the chair is closed or opened.·
  • Refrigerators: Many are open in the back and easy for ferrets to get into.·
  • Dishwasher: They like to get in there and lick the food from the plates; always check before running your dishwasher. They can also get behind them.
  • Rocking Chairs: Ferrets can easily be crushed by the chair rockers. Especially watch out for their tails.·
  • Carpets: Look for bumps in your throw carpets before you step. Ferrets love to curl up in dark places.·
  • Chair Cushions: Again, check for bumps before you plop down. The same goes for your bed!·
  • Dryers: This warm, dark place will be the end of your ferret if you turn it on. Always check your dryer before drying your clothes and know where your ferrets are!
  • Laundry Room: Most laundry rooms have a dryer hose which runs to the outside world. Nothing is more natural for a ferret than to dig into the tube, run it and escape.·
  • Landry Baskets: Your dirty clothes smell good to ferrets so they will often burrow in there. Count your ferrets and know their whereabouts before starting any laundry.·
  • Rubber: You name it, they like it! And it is deadly to them. They have very small intestines and a blockage, if not operated on, will kill them. The list of what they are especially fond of includes: cell phone button, erasers, remotes, Barbie dolls, small toy parts, shoes, flip flops.
  • Under the Sink: A lot of us store chemicals for cleaning under there. Please use child proof locks on all your cabinets and drawers in the rooms you allow your ferrets to access. Also many cabinets have small holes which a ferret can get into and then he is off exploring the underworld of your house. He may or may not remember how to get out! Try to imagine your delight at sawing holes in your living room wall to rescue the ferret!·
  • Shoes/Feet: Besides the obvious of stepping on our delicate ferret friends, we could track weed killer, antifreeze, or any number of harmful things in on our shoes and our ferrets won’t hesitate to try a taste test on anything you track in. Once your shoes are off…do you have any medication on your feet such as athlete foot medication? That’s deadlier to ferrets than it is to athletes foot fungus.·
  • Window Screens: Ferrets can climb and they can dig. It’s no large matter to a ferret to hop up to the open window, paw at the screen and it’s born free ferret. Most ferrets don’t survive more than a couple of days outside the home.·
  • Screen Doors: You may think your ferrets are safe in the house while the door is open and the screen door is shut. However, ferrets are pretty clever little critters and it won’t take them long to figure out how to open the screen door. Or if it is locked, it isn’t beyond them to claw right through the screening material and it’s born free ferret again.·
  • Guests and Visitors: Most guests simply don’t know about ferrets as you do. It’s best to keep the ferrets caged while you have guests over. They don’t know to watch their feet when they walk or watch for the speeding fur bullet when they go in and out.·
  • Plants: Many plants are poisonous. Ferrets like to dig up plants and might eat them or might ingest whatever fertilizer you have on them. Here is a brief and incomplete list of plants found around the house that are poisonous: Poinsettia, all plants in the lilly family, bird of paradise, wisteria, rhubarb,  almonds, mistletoe, tobacco, daffodil, onion, aloe, asparagus, belladonna, crocus, holly, all fruit seeds/stones/pits