Ferrets and Other Pets

Dogs

When a dog and ferret are together, there is a real risk of injury to the ferret. The ferret can nip at a tender spot on the dog and the dog attack in reaction. The dog can be playing or running and bring its paw down on the ferret and break a bone or scratch an eye, or the dog gets excited and bites at the ferret.

Everyone wants to think their dog would never hurt the ferret. While the dog might never hurt the ferret intentionally, it is the unintentional times that cause the injuries and even death.

Any dog with a strong prey drive, like hunting dogs, should not be around ferrets. Other dogs that have been shown to be more problematic are pit bulls, dachshunds, jack russell terriers, chows and the giant breeds of dogs.

It is also better not to let more than one dog be around a ferret at one time. The ferret is unable to protect itself or get away from more than one dog.

When contemplating getting a ferret, if there is a dog in the household, please keep all of this in mind. Many people say they will just keep the dog or the ferret confined when the other is out. This can create a lot of frustration and confusion for the confined pet.

Cats

There may be issues with adding a ferret to a home with an adult cat. A cat can be added to a home with a ferret, usually without any problem, because a ferret is not territorial.

Cats are territorial. Adding a ferret to an adult cat’s territory can sometimes be a problem. Sometimes the cat will attack the ferret. More often, the cat will stop using the litter box and start going around the house rather than in the litter box. This is to show the humans it’s not happy and to show the ferret the house is the cat’s territory. This is what happens most of the time and it’s very, very hard to make the cat stop. Again, this doesn’t occur every time, but you never know if it’s going to happen the one time you try it.

Adding the ferret to a home with kittens is not usually a problem.

If the cats are slowly introduced to the ferret over weeks, the risk is less. However, there is still a possibility of the cats smelling the ferret and reacting against the humans.