Ferret Proofing Your Home – Keeping Your Pet Ferrets Safe

Okay, so you’ve purchased, adopted, or rescued your first pet ferret(s). You’ve also gathered and/or purchased all the ferret cage(s), supplies, accessories, and ferret toys you think you and your new fuzzy will need. But your job isn’t finished yet.

Ferrets are surprisingly agile and nimble, and they love to burrow and tunnel into everything – Panda Ferret in Laundry Basketyes, everything. They can flatten out and crawl through cracks and into spaces (e.g., under doors, between cushions, around barriers) that seem impossibly narrow. So, if your home isn’t ready, your ferret and your possessions could be at risk.

Here, then, are a few tips to help you prepare a safe haven for your fuzzy.

  • Crawl around your ferret’s space and try your best to get a ferret’s-eye view of your home. What attractive nuisances do you see? Look for holes in the walls and in furniture cushions – a ferret can squeeze into a remarkably small space – tall cabinets from which they could fall, easily opened and entered drawers, electrical cords and drapery pulls that look like tempting chew items, climbable trash cans, and accessible toxic plants. Plug up any holes and cracks you may find, install child-proof latches and outlet covers, and put away delicate knick-knacks – anything you can do to make the place ferret safe.
  • Keep trash cans out of your ferret’s room if at all possible. If you really do need a trash can in the ferret’s space, choose one that can be sealed tightly. Trash cans not only carry germ-laden materials, but they can trap an exploring ferret inside.
  • If you plan to allow your ferret free run of the house (and, of course, you would allow this only when you or a responsible person is present), keep the bathroom door closed. Seal off the bottom as well if your fuzzy could crawl under it. As a precaution, put away all cosmetics, medications, and toiletries. If possible, install a shower door rather than using a shower curtain. Keep the toilet lid down and/or install a child-proof latch.
  • Likewise, seal off your kitchen when your ferrets are loose because they could become trapped in or around appliances or get burned when exploring the stove. As a precaution, put all food items away, including condiments.
  • Do not allow your ferrets on or near upholstered furniture. They could chew on the stuffing and fabric, which could be a choking hazard (in addition to damaging an expensive piece of furniture). They could also become trapped in reclining-chair mechanisms.
  • Also, close off your laundry area. Don’t ever let your ferret take a ride in the laundry basket on your way to doing the wash. Too many ferrets have gone through the washer and dryer cycle, unbeknownst to their owners, with tragic results.
  • Keep all chemicals, fragile items, and valuables out of the reach of your ferrets at all times.

Once your ferret is home, get into the habit of watching out for her. Carefully inspect your couch or recliner before you sit down. Close all doors slowly, including refrigerator and cabinet doors. Check your washer, dryer, and laundry basket before you do a new load. Put away all hazardous chemicals. Avoid carrying large or awkward loads if there’s a chance of stumbling over your ferret.

(N.B.: Sometimes, veterinarians will allow you to quarantine your new ferret in their offices for a week or two. Not only is this an excellent way to be sure your ferret is healthy and disease free, but it also buys you some time to prepare your home.)

For more tips on ferret safety and ferret care, see Getting Started with Pet Ferrets.

Homemade Ferret Toys – Cheap and Easy Fun for Your Pet Ferrets

Last time, we talked about commercially produced ferret toys. Some of them are great, andDangling Ferret Toy some aren’t so good. And you can easily sink a small fortune in toys for your fuzzy friends – sometimes almost as much as you can for your children’s toys. But are there any alternatives?

Of course there are. Just as small children can play for hours with a cardboard box, your ferret will be content with a few small items you may already have lying around the house. There are plenty of items you can get for free (or nearly free) that will give your ferret hours of fun:

  1. Squeaky toys. Most dollar stores have a pet section where you can find a large assortment. As long as the toy is made of sturdy plastic, your fuzzy will have a great time using it to make noise and play fetch or hide and seek.
  2. Balls. Whether they are large or small, soft or hard, all ferrets love to have balls to batFerret Toy Ball around and chase.
  3. Dangling toys. Ferrets love to bat at something dangling in front of them. Plus, you can use such ferret toys to teach them to walk on a leash. All you need to do is to put the leash and harness on your ferret and then dangle the toy in to coax it to walk. Before you know it, you’ll be going for a daily stroll together.
  4. Old clothing, blankets, and/or towels. There is hardly a ferret around who doesn’t love to burrow under an old comforter or T-shirt. With a little effort, you can convert these items into a sleep sack or hammock, which is not just a bed – it is a favorite ferret toy.
  5. Cardboard boxes. I took a medium-sized cardboard box, closed up both ends, and cut a ferret-sized hole in one end near the bottom. And this has been one of Rikki’s and Possum’s favorite toys for many months. (Just make sure the box is free of any toxic materials, and test to make certain your ferrets can’t chew off small bits and ingest them. Ferret safety first, always!)

If you don’t have these ferret toys lying around the house, you can probably find many of them at rummage sales or thrift stores for very low prices. Before you buy, make sure to inspect them to ensure they will withstand your ferret. When you get them home, wash them thoroughly before handing them over to your ferret to avoid passing along any germs or bacteria.

But don’t forget your ferret’s favorite toy – you!