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Holiday Hazards for Your Pet Ferret

Holiday Hazards for Your Pet Ferret

The holidays can be a fun and festive time of year, but they can also be hazardous for your pet ferret. The visitors, the abundance of food, the colorful decorations and the traditional holiday activities can easily cause stress, health problems and even life-threatening risks to your inquisitive ferret. Since accidents involving pets typically increase during the holidays, it's a good idea to plan ahead and ferret-proof your home.

Your ferret's curious and adventurous nature will quickly lead her to the sparkling, interesting tree that suddenly grew in your living room. The new smells, the branches to climb on, the glittering ornaments, the strings of lights and the piles of wrapped gifts with ribbons and bows are simply irresistible to ferrets.

Unfortunately, the tree is only one hazard. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Pine needles, poinsettias, mistletoe and other decorative holiday plants can cause digestive problems in your ferret and some are even poisonous.
  • Tinsel, plastic, glass or other breakable tree ornaments can cause choking or gastrointestinal problems in your ferret.
  • Wrapping paper, foam packing materials and shredded paper are common causes of choking and intestinal blockage.
  • Candles and fires may create a festive holiday atmosphere, but your ferret may also find them fascinating. A curious paw or a nose that gets too close can result in a knocked over candle, singed fur and whiskers or a more serious burn. Place candles well out of reach.
  • The treated water in the tree holder can be toxic to your ferret.
  • Extension cords are perhaps the biggest hazard to your chewing-prone ferret, as well as toys with batteries or small, detachable parts.
  • Keep all food out of reach and avoid treating with table scraps. Fatty and spicy dishes can give your ferret an upset stomach. Turkey bones can splinter and are a choking hazard at a minimum. And chocolate, caffeine and alcohol can cause serious medical conditions. There are a variety of scrumptious ferret treats that you can purchase and have on hand to help your ferret feel included in the festivities.

How to Ferret-proof Your Home:

  • Start by getting on the floor and looking at your home from your ferret's point of view. Look for dangling cords and ornaments, ribbons, wrappers and other items that might spark her curiosity.
  • Providing new, ferret-safe toys for your pet can help keep her occupied and stimulated.
  • Keep your ferret safely in her habitat and away from all the noise when there are guests in your house.
  • Stick to your routine when it comes to your ferret's feeding times, sleep times and play times. Keep your ferret on her regular diet. Treat her with ferret treats, not table scraps.
  • Safeguard your fireplace and move candles out of reach.
  • Keep all ornaments, lights, candles, electrical cords, toys, treats and other food out of your ferret's reach.
  • Supervise your ferret when she is near the holiday tree. Secure your tree to a wall or window to prevent it from falling on your pet. Additionally, consider keeping the tree in a room where your ferret cannot access it.
  • Do not let your ferret play with the wrapped presents. The wrappers and packing material can be hazardous to your ferret.
  • Cover the tree stand water with aluminum foil and a tree skirt.

Keep these numbers handy in case of emergency:

  • The number for your exotic animal veterinarian
  • The Pet Poison Control Center: 1-888-426-4435 (Be advised that there is a charge for this call. Please ask for the cost before proceeding.).
  • The number for an emergency animal hospital.

By taking a few precautions and keeping the dangers out of reach, you and your ferret can enjoy a happy holiday season.