Ferret owners tend to be just as attached to their furry buddies as other pet owners, with the same concerns when they need to leave for a certain period. Fortunately, even if ferret owners need to be away overnight or longer, their ferrets can stay safe and comfortable.
Ferrets typically live between six to ten years and are rather susceptive to health problems, so as cute as they are, they are a commitment.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how to make sure your ferret stays fed, hydrated, and adequately exercised while you’re on vacation or otherwise gone for a while.
Owners who are unable to care for their ferret for either the short or long term have two options:
- Someone can come to your home and care for your ferret.
- You can take your ferret to a location to be cared for.
Each has pros and cons, but both can work when done correctly.
As mentioned above, ferret owners have two go-to options to ensure their ferret is well taken care of while on vacation:
You can hire a professional pet sitter or even enlist the help of a friend to care for your ferret while you’re away. While you have to pay a professional pet sitter, they also provide peace of mind because they’ll be familiar with ferret care and able to handle an emergency.
A willing friend can also take care of your ferret. You’ll want to provide detailed instructions and contact info for your vet.
Whoever takes care of your ferret, they’ll need to provide these daily care basics:
- Replenish their food and water supply (ferrets are free eaters)
- Provide at least two hours of playtime outside of the cage
In-home care can help keep your ferret feeling comfortable and safe because their daily environment remains unchanged. Also, it’s often easier for the owner because they don’t have to worry about transporting the ferret, cage, and other gear anywhere.
The biggest potential downside is the time commitment for the person who has to stop by your house every day. Your ferret will need at least four hours of exercise daily and requires supervision whenever out of their cage.
You can also have your ferret boarded. Keep in mind this can get a bit tricky, depending on where you live. Many kennels only accept dogs and cats, so you’ll need to find a facility that caters to small animals.
Another potential option is a local ferret shelter or rescue center. Many offer short-term boarding services. They’re a good choice because they’ll have areas set up for ferrets expressly.
You can also try your local vet’s office, as many also offer short-term boarding. Plus, one advantage of boarding at the vet’s office is that you can schedule a checkup during their stay.
Boarding offers greater supervision for your ferret as well as increased opportunities for play. If your at-home caretaker can’t spend much time playing with your ferret, boarding is likely the better choice.
You might not need to leave your ferret behind at all. With proper preparation, many ferrets travel without a problem. Ideally, you’ll want to travel by car, which is far more comfortable for the ferret than traveling by plane.
You’ll need a carrier or travel cage. It should have wires along with a deep basin since water and food spillage are practically guaranteed. If you have problems finding a cage made specifically for ferrets, a small dog crate will also work well. Secure the cage in your car by either buckling it into the backseat or placing it on the floor behind the front seat.
Aside from a travel cage, you’ll need to bring along all the gear your ferret needs to keep them safe and comfortable. Pack food, treats, a harness, litter, and a first-aid kit. It’s also a good idea to bring along a copy of your ferret’s medical records in case an emergency occurs.
Even though your ferret can eat, drink, and use the restroom in their travel cage, you still need to give them plenty of opportunities to stretch their legs. Every four hours, stop somewhere so your ferret can run around and explore (while harnessed) for at least 20 minutes.
At a minimum, your ferret will need four hours of playtime outside the cage. More is better if possible. Note that they don’t need four consecutive hours of exercise. Instead, owners can break down the four hours into smaller play sessions throughout the day.
Regular exercise helps tire ferrets out so they’ll sleep calmly. Ferrets require up to 18 hours of sleep a day. If they’re allowed enough time each day for exercise, you can actually leave your ferret alone in their cage for reasonably long periods, as they’ll most likely spend their time sleeping.
Nevertheless, with the right measures, you can leave your ferret alone for a few days.
Your ferret will need a ferret-proof play area, such as a basement or spare room. The idea is to give the ferret a large but confined space to play and explore.
If a ferret’s head fits through an opening, so can their bodies. You’ll need to seal off all possible escape points, such as around pipes or through vents. Also, remove all plastic and rubber. Ferrets love to chew, but plastic and rubber materials are dangerous if swallowed.
With proper preparation, ferrets can stay safe and healthy while their owners are out of town. A caretaker can stop by your place, or you can board your ferret. When you know that your ferret is adequately cared for in your absence, you can enjoy your vacation that much more!