Though many people associate the use of piddle pads (or pee pads) with dogs, these handy training aids are perfect for ferrets too! piddle pads can be very helpful to ferret owners for assisting in training, protecting your carpets, and more. But how can you train your ferret to use them, and when and where should you use them?
Can Pee Pads Be Used with Ferrets?
Piddle pads are helpful in a variety of situations with ferrets. Ferrets will often choose a spot for their toilet where a litter box cannot go, such as in front of the door to the room. Ferrets will frequently urinate and defecate in front of or near the main entrance to the room as a way of marking their territory, much as they would do in the wild around the entrance to their burrows. If your ferret chooses to go by the door or in another spot where you can’t put a litter box, failing to put something there is only going to result in unsightly stains and noxious odors. Placing pee pads in that area will protect your carpet as well as eliminate a lot of frustration on the part of both you and your ferret.
Piddle pads are also helpful when you have a ferret who is recovering from surgery. After surgery, ferrets should not climb too much for at least three to seven days depending on the procedure that was done. Putting piddle pads in the recovery cage is good for a number of reasons:
- The pads will allow you to easily see how much your ferret is urinating and the color of the urine.
- The pads will prevent your ferret from having to climb into a litter box and possibly tear his stitches.
- The pads will be more comfortable for him than trying to stand on litter.
- The pads can help to show if your ferret has any seepage from his stitches.
- The pads are more sanitary.
Another situation where pee pads are helpful is with older, incontinent ferrets. Many ferrets will have issues hitting the litter box as they get older, whether they are incapable of climbing into it or they just can’t quite make it to the litter box location anymore. Placing piddle pads around the litter box and possibly over the entire bottom level of the cage will help to eliminate messes and make clean up easier.
Pee pads are the easiest option to use when traveling as well. They take up less space than litter pans and litter boxes, and they can easily be used in playpens to give your ferret a clean, easy-to-use toilet area.
Piddle pads can also be another option for ferrets that absolutely refuse to use litter pans. While it is relatively easy to litter train young ferrets, anyone who has rescued an older ferret can attest to how difficult it can be to train a stubborn, older ferret to use a litter pan. Offering piddle pads as a toilet option instead will be much easier on both you and your ferret.
Finally, piddle pads can provide someplace other than your carpet for your ferret to wipe himself as he climbs out of the litter pan. We’ve all seen ferrets do the “butt drag” as they climb out of the litter pan. They don’t do this because they have worms or because their rear end itches. It’s just their way of cleaning themselves after using the “toilet.” Unfortunately, everything that is on their bottom is then transferred to your carpet. Using pee pads around the litter boxes will help to protect your carpet and combat odors that will naturally arise from carpet that is used as toilet paper. This is an especially important benefit for renters who own ferrets.
How to Use Pee Pads with Ferrets
Piddle pads are very easy to use. Simply place them in the area where your ferret is going to the bathroom. They can be used in corners, in front of doors, in the cage, and anywhere else your ferret goes to the bathroom. Replace them as needed. Because piddle pads dry quickly, you can pick up the solid waste and allow the urine to dry. We recommend changing them once a day if they are being used out in your ferret’s play area or cage, and more often if they are being used in a recovery cage for a ferret’s post-surgery.
Training Ferrets to Use Pee Pads
If you put a pee pad in an area where your ferret is going to the bathroom, most ferrets will go on them without having to be trained. However, if your ferret views them more as a toy than a toilet area, there are a few things you can try.
- Place some stool on the pad.
- Use a frame to hold the piddle pad in place.
- When you see your ferret backing up to go to the bathroom, place him on the piddle pad.
- After he goes on the piddle pad, reward him immediately with praise and a treat before he even steps off the pad.
- If your ferret is digging at the pee pad, give him another outlet for digging such as a dig box, and place him in there every time you see him digging at the pee pad.
Piddle pads can make your training experience a great deal easier on you and your ferret. You’ll be amazed at how convenient they are to use and how effective they are to help keep your flooring and other surfaces clean.