The warmth of summer is upon us and owners of ferrets are urged to take precautions against heatstroke with their ferret companions. High temperatures, above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, can be fatal for ferrets as they do not pant to keep cool. The following tips are provided to help maintain cooler temperatures for your ferret friends:
- Try to keep the temperature in their environment stable. Extreme differences in temperature (AC/ to street temperature) may result in bronchial or respiratory infections. This should be important when planning vacation and excursions in automobiles with ferrets.
- Do not travel in the heat of the day with your ferret, rather take your trips early in the day or later in the evening when the sun’s rays are not as intense. Car windows can allow vehicles to heat to detrimental or deadly temperatures. If at all possible leave your ferret indoors until late afternoon or evening.
- Make sure there is ALWAYS plenty of fresh water available to your ferret(s) at all times. Ferrets need water at all times, but more so during periods of intense heat.
- Do not aim a fan directly at the ferret(s), rather keep the fan directed away from the cage as fans directed at the animals push hot air against them and make the environment intolerable.
Portable A/C alternatives: For traveling in your auto when you MUST venture out on hot days. If there is not air conditioning available in your vehicle, these tips will help to keep the ferret cool.
- Place a 1 or 2 liter plastic soda bottle (filled with water) in the freezer. When you prepare to journey out take the frozen water bottle and wrap it in a shirt or towel. Place it against a side of the pet carrier. This will act as A/C for necessary trips on very hot days. BE CAREFUL to make sure the bottle is adequately wrapped, otherwise the ferret will lay against it and become chilled possibly getting pneumonia as a result.
- Larger 2 liter and 1 liter bottles with water can be frozen in freezer and placed on top of the ferret cage. Drape a large towel or blanket over the bottles placed on the top of the cage. This will keep the cool air as the ice melts contained within the cage unit and make the hot day more manageable for your ferret(s).
- Ferrets can be submerged for short intervals in warm (tepid) water. DO NOT bathe the ferret in cold water as it will “shock” their systems. Ferrets normal body temperatures range from 101-103 degrees. A 70 degree bath is as cool as recommended. The drying of the hair on the ferret will help provide a cooling effect.
Ferrets who have heatstroke exposure should see a vet immediately.
Many times ferrets expire due to complications from heatstroke days or weeks after the initial incident. If in doubt seek veterinary advice or treatment.