Common ferret poisons

If you think your ferret has been poisoned, contact your vet immediately. More information: Poisoning in ferrets.

Rodent Poisons ('rodenticides')

This refers to anticoagulant rodenticides [1], e.g. bromadiolone, difenacoum and warfarin. Anticoagulants act by preventing blood clotting.

Poisoning may cause life-threatening bleeding; effects may not appear for several days. Bleeding may be internal and is therefore not always visible.

[1] Not all rodenticides are anticoagulants; it's important to check which one has been ingested.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

This group of drugs includes ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen and many others.
Any quantity may be extremely toxic to ferrets if ingested.

Ingestion can cause depression, weakness, tremor, vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding from the gut, weight loss, coma and kidney failure.


Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine. Dark chocolate and cocoa contain high levels.

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, hyperactivity, high temperature and blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm and tremors.

Never give your chocolate to your pet.

Grapes, raisins, sultanas, currants

Any quantity can be toxic. Cooking/baking them does not reduce the risk.

Poisoning may cause vomiting and diarrhoea and subsequently in kidney failure.

Household cleaners

Many types of detergents or disinfectants can result in vomiting, diarrhoea, and severe blistering and/or ulceration of the mouth and throat (may cause difficulties in breathing/swallowing).

Drain/oven cleaners and dishwasher products may be extremely corrosive and cause severe burns.

Skin /eye contact with any of these is also a concern.

If a household chemical is:

  • on his/her skin or fur:
    - wash thoroughly with lukewarm water and mild shampoo, rinse well and dry, and then take your ferret to the vet.
  • in his/her eye:
    -  contact your vet immediately for advice about washing the eye, follow the advice and then take him/her to the vet urgently. 



Veterinary Poisons Information Service logo

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 the VPIS website.

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