It is every responsible owner’s nightmare for their pet to be poisoned. Make sure you’re prepared for such an emergency.
Read our top tips on what to do if you think your ferret has been poisoned and how to prevent poisonings. You can also check out our information on some of the most common poisons that ferret owners should be aware of.
Under the Animal Welfare Act all pet owners have a legal duty to provide for their pets’ needs, including the need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease. Preventing your ferret from coming into contact with poisonous substances and treating any accidental poisonings quickly and appropriately is an important part of responsible pet ownership.
What to do if you think your ferret has been poisoned:
- Stay calm. Remove your ferret(s) from the source of poison.
- Contact your vet for advice immediately; inform them when, where and how the poisoning occurred. If appropriate, carefully take the packaging, plant or substance with you to the vet. Be careful not to expose yourself to any harm.
- Follow your vet’s advice. If you are advised to take your ferret(s) to the vet, do so quickly and calmly.
Never attempt to treat or medicate your ferret(s) yourself. Some medicines for humans and other animals may be poisonous to your ferret.
Never attempt to make your ferret vomit. Do not use salt water as this is extremely dangerous.
If the skin or fur is contaminated, wash thoroughly with mild shampoo and water, rinse well and dry.
Keep your ferret(s) away from any other animals to avoid cross contamination.
Never ‘watch and wait’ in any case of suspected poisoning. If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, act fast and contact a vet for advice immediately.
Preventing poisoning in ferrets:
In the home:
- Keep houseplants in containers placed where your ferret(s) cannot reach them. Collect up any dropped leaves or petals.
- Keep pesticides, such as rat baits, away from the areas your ferret(s) have access to.
- If treating your pets with insecticides at home, remember to separate them from other pets to avoid cross-contamination.
- Watch your ferret(s) closely when they are running free indoors.
- Ensure housing and exercise areas are free from, and not overhung by, poisonous plants.
- Ensure your ferret’s/ferrets’ water supply cannot become contaminated, and change it regularly.
Common ferret poisons:
The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) is a specialist 24-hour emergency service which provides information and advice to veterinary professionals and animal welfare organisations on the treatment of animals exposed to toxic substances.
Some of the most common, potentially severe ferret poisons reported to the VPIS are:
- Rodent poisons (called ‘rodenticides’)
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAIDs), such as Ibruprofen
- Theobromine – a powerful stimulant found in chocolate
- Household cleaners – including many types of detergents and disinfectants
Read more about these common ferret poisons, their symptoms and treatment in our most common poisons ferret webpage.
The list above is not exhaustive and other cases of poisoning in ferrets reported to the VPIS have included common household and garden plants and human oral contraceptives. For more information about what substances are harmful to your ferret speak to your vet.
Acknowledgement for this information is made to The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS). The VPIS is a specialist 24-hour emergency service, which is only available to veterinary professionals and animal welfare organisations, providing information and advice on the treatment of animals exposed to toxic substances. It is not a public access service. Some helpful information is available on their website www.vpisuk.co.uk.