Ferret Proofing 101:
Things to consider before bringing your ferret home.
- Small spaces: Any small spaces should be blocked off. This included under radiators, furnace vents, dryer vents, etc. If a ferret's head can fit, the rest of the body will follow. Spaces underneath kitchen cabinets should be investigated, as well as stoves and fridges.
- Cupboards: Although cupboards and cabinets seem like a fun place for a ferret to play, they also pose a danger. Household cleaners, chemicals, and yes, even food items are at risk of being ingested by a curious ferret. Although it may seem cute when your fuzzy gets into the bowl of avocados, the results can be disastrous.
- Housing: This is a little known risk to ferrets. Everyone knows about wire shelves, and how they pose a risk for toes, but I don't often see the dangers of tall cages mentioned. If you have a tall cage, consider adding extra hammocks between the levels so that if your ferret falls from a top shelf, he has something to break his fall. Wesley's old owner kept him in a super pet cage, with no hammocks. He would often fall straight from the top! Very scary!
- Staircases: Ferrets have been known to climb to a second story, and then fall through to the first floor. Very scary and very dangerous. Be sure to block staircases and areas of potential falls.
- Recliners: Beware of recliners! Ferrets can be crushed in the reclining mechanism! If you have a recliner, leave it in one position while the ferrets are playing. Never open or close it until all ferrets are accounted for.
- Household Decor: Ferrets are adept climbers and will climb anything and everything. Make sure anything breakable or precious is out of their reach. Don't leave your $500 vase on the side table, because they will knock it to the floor. Potted plants should also be put out of reach, preferably in another room. If you have fish tanks, they should be placed high up, or have a very secure lid.
- Doors: Having windows open on a breezy day can be dangerous for ferrets. The crossbreeze can cause doors to slam, and a ferret could get caught in between! Use door stops on doors to keep them secure. Always check for ferrets before shutting a door.
- Always do the "ferret shuffle" when walking around ferrets. Do not allow children to run. If care is not taken, ferrets can be stepped on. When stepping over a gate, ensure a ferret isn't under your feet before putting weight on them.
- Appliances: As said before, it's important to block spaces of refrigerators, ovens, dryers, etc. But it is also necessary to ensure that your ferret isn't exploring these items before using them. Sadly, I have heard stories of ferrets getting shut in a running dryer, or being locked in the dishwasher. Always double check, just in case.
- Toys: Always screen the toys you give your ferret, and throw them away when they begin to show wear. This goes for hammocks and other bedding too! Toenails can get caught in a stray thread.
Avoid soft rubbery toys, since they pose a blockage risk. Toys with small holes can be dangerous if a curious ferret decides to investigate the inside with his head. Paper towel tubes and toilet tubes should not be used as toys, as ferrets can get stuck and injure themselves in the panic to escape. When giving your ferret a plastic bag to play with, cut off the handles first so they cannot get tangled.
When using packing peanuts for a dig box, ensure they are biodegradable. Bio peanuts are usually a pelleted shape, and white in color. Unsafe peanuts may be white, green, or a blueish color, and are usually a Z, S, or W shape.
Although it seems like a lot to take care of, ensuring you have a safe space to play before bringing your ferret home can make the whole process a lot easier. By regularly inspecting problem areas, you will keep your ferret safer and happier.