Poisoning in ferrets
If you think your ferret has been poisoned:
- Remove your ferret(s) from the source of poison.
- Contact your vet immediately; say when, where and how it happened. If appropriate (don’t expose yourself to any harm), carefully take the packaging, plant or substance with you to the vet.
- Follow your vet’s advice.
Never attempt to treat/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 skin or fur is contaminated, wash thoroughly with mild shampoo and water, rinse well and dry.
Keep your ferret(s) away from other animals.
Never ‘watch and wait’ in any case of suspected poisoning - act fast and contact a vet immediately.
Preventing poisoning in ferrets:
In the home:
- Keep houseplants where your ferret(s) cannot reach them. Pick up dropped leaves/petals.
- Keep pesticides (e.g. rat baits) away from areas your ferret(s) can access.
- If treating your pets with insecticides at home, 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.
For some of the most common, potentially severe ferret poisons reported to the VPIS see our most common poisons ferret webpage.
Other cases of poisoning in ferrets reported to the VPIS include common household and garden plants and human oral contraceptives. For more information about which substances are harmful to your ferret speak to your vet.