Ferrets keeping cool in the heat

Ferrets keeping cool in the heat - Very important!

Ferrets are very susceptible to overheating. They tend to tolerate cooler climates better (as they originate from cooler climates and live underground in the wild, in tunnels where it is cooler most of the time), so those of us located in hotter climates (such as Australia – it is over 40 degrees as I write this) need to pay special attention to ferrets keeping cool in the heat.

This is a serious issue! Many ferrets have suffered from heat stroke and death due to overheating. Ferrets start to feel uncomfortable in the mid 20’s (Degrees Celsius), they don’t sweat or pant (normally). This is why it is vital for you to look out for any signs of overheating/heat stroke and act immediately.

High humidity is worse for ferrets then high temperatures, so they can be affected even if the temperature is low but humidity is high.

Some signs of an overheating ferret include:

  • Lethargic and lying flat on the floor
  • Nose and gums turning a darker shade of pink
  • Footpads turning a darker shade of pink or red
  • Panting or heavy breathing (heavier than normal)
  • Squinted eyes
  • Open mouth when resting and possible salivating
  • Feels hot and ‘floppy’ when touched or picked up

If you notice any of these signs then you must act immediately. Here is a list of suggestions:

  • Freeze a bottle of water – (or several) place it in their cage wrapped in a towel or cloth, they will lie around it to keep cool
  • Soak a towel or hessian sack – soak it in water and place it over a fan or over the ferret cage (you can also dunk one end of it into a bucket of water so that it remains wet for longer).
  • Keep the cage away from sunlight – Make sure the cage is in the coolest room of the house and away from direct sunlight. Keep all blinds, curtains and doors shut to keep the warmth and sunlight out.
  • Always have fresh water in the cage– Make sure there is plenty of drinking water in the cage. Also you could put a tub full of water in the cage for them to have a splash if they feel the need. If you are around you can change their drinking water throughout the days as this may heat up and deter the ferrets from drinking. You can also add ice cubes to the water!
  • Ferret icecream – boil some chicken in a pot (making chicken stock), wait for it to cool, then freeze it into a cube(or cubes) and give it to them frozen so they can lick it and cool down.
  • Just keep in mind that as the day progresses the temperature rises. If you need to be at work and can’t keep an eye out on your ferrets all day then take all the precautions necessary for them to survive the day.

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