Best Ferret Toys for Indoor Enrichment
By Jazmin "Sunny" Murphy
Ferrets are brilliant animals that need lots of physical and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Too little engagement leads to boredom, ultimately causing destructive behaviors and medical issues.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to fulfill your little hunter’s needs for chasing, chewing, and hiding. These tips on what traits characterize the best ferret toys will help you decide what you need to spice things up and keep your ferret’s playtime challenging and exciting.
What kinds of toys do ferrets like?
Consider the ferret’s instinctual behavior when shopping for toys. You’ll want items that it’ll be drawn to naturally; otherwise, it’ll be a chore to get your fur-baby to engage with ts accessories.
For instance, ferrets love to tunnel, explore their environment, chase each other and toy balls, climb, and hunt. The best ferret toys will give your fur-baby plenty of opportunities to engage in the behaviors so deeply rooted in their evolutionary history.
Plus, just like humans, all ferrets have different personalities. Because of this, each ferret’s toy preferences may differ from one another. That said, the more time you spend with your ferret, the better prepared you’ll be to buy the ideal accessories for your pet.
Also, remember that ferrets don’t just want toys for fun. Playtime is also essential to challenge their minds, keeping them mentally engaged and fulfilled, even while in the cage.
Ferrets are intelligent little critters, so they’ll start to get frustrated without the proper mental stimulation from toys, increasing their likelihood of escape. Because they tend to get bored quickly, ferret owners like to have a set of toys to rotate in and out of the cage. This keeps the little weasels continuously excited, always guessing about what might come next.
Do ferrets need chewing toys?
Part of what drives excess frustration for some ferrets is their insatiable need to pounce and munch on things. These behaviors are some of the many playful (yet, admittedly, destructive) ways they can engage their hunting instinct.
One of the best things you can do to satisfy this aspect of your fur-baby’s needs is to offer up a few chew toys. It’s best to invest in more than one type of chew toy. That way, your ferret can engage with its playthings in different ways that will challenge and fulfill it cognitively and physically.
Plus, chew toys can also improve your ferret’s dental health. This’ll ease some of the burden for you in daily care routines, as your pet can handle its own teeth cleaning. Such an advantage is critical to ferret care, as these animals are primarily carnivores.
In fact, some experts have even deemed them “hypercarnivores,” not only based on their need for a meat-based diet, but on their anatomical features, including:
- Dental structures
- Jaw muscles
- Bone structures
- Intestinal tract
By providing suitable chew toys, you’re helping your ferret maintain all these crucial diet-related bodily structures. Its organ systems are enriched by the nutrients in meals packed with animal protein (e.g., cooked eggs, cooked and unseasoned chicken and beef, etc.). At the same time, you can help strengthen your ferret’s jaw muscles with fun things like apple sticks and hard toy balls.
Plus, scientists say that chew toys are critical factors in protecting your ferret’s teeth against dental calculus, better known as “tartar.” If left unchecked, this condition can lead to inflammation and even the loss of the teeth entirely.
Karen Rosenthal, D.V.M., M.S., writes, “Find treats and enrichment items meant for chewing that promote dental health that by their very action will remove calculus from the teeth.”
Keeping your ferret stimulated with the best enrichment toys
Central to your ferret’s desire for toys is its need for mental stimulation. See, ferrets are highly intelligent. So, toys that engage your ferret’s body and mind are excellent for proactively managing potential behavioral issues are essential to adequate enrichment for indoor pets.
Playtime geared toward mental stimulation for your ferret should involve two distinct categories: alone time and quality time with you.
Experts from American Ferret Association Education Committee recommend that you provide your fur-baby at least four hours daily outside the cage, “at least two of which should include human interaction.” They suggest that, in these two hours, you can act as your pet’s “personal trainer.” How? By building an interactive ferret gym!
You can set up challenging puzzles and fitness-improving obstacles with cheap materials and household essentials. Examples include:
- Toilet paper roll challenge: Get four unscented toilet paper rolls and a large, cylindrical plastic tube (just large enough to fit all the rolls). Cut a T-shaped slot in the container and give it to your ferret to figure out how to get the TP out. Your fur-baby will love this game. They have a thing for ripping up toilet paper and taking naps in the cardboard cores. Plus, the challenge will engage multiple muscle groups.
- Tunnels: Ferrets love to squeeze through tight spaces! This is why obstacles made of PVC pipe or clear dryer vent tubing are ideal for encouraging your little weasel to get up and exercise. You’ll want to monitor your pet closely in these tunneling setups. Some ferrets are just a bit too chunky and may get stuck in a tube.
- Paper bags and cardboard boxes: Firstly, never let your ferret play with plastic bags. This is a severe choking or suffocation hazard. Paper bags and boxes are better. Your ferret will love climbing in and out of these, hiding, playing chase, and jumping out of hidden corners for ambushes.
- Note: When setting up these obstacles, have a look over the materials. You don’t want to give your ferret anything with sharp corners or staples, styrofoam peanuts, or hazardous packaging tape.
- Swimming pool: Yes, ferrets can swim! They love to splash around in small kiddy pools. You don’t need much, just about an inch or two of cool water. To pump up the fun, feel free to toss in a few floating toys and ice cubes. Watch your ferret closely while it’s swimming.
- Note: Uncomfortable with the kiddy pool idea? Swap the pool out for a ball pit! Your ferret will still enjoy “swimming” through the balls to retrieve treats that you’ve dispersed in the pit.
- Dig box: One behavior that’s deeply rooted in your ferret’s instinctual behavior is digging. Help your ferret satisfy this impulse by designating a small patch of dirt that hasn’t been treated or sprayed with chemicals, sectioning it off with PVC or similar materials to line the dig box’s sides. You can also provide a plastic tub full of dirt for indoor play.
These are just a few examples of some of the most fulfilling indoor and outdoor enrichment toys and obstacle setups for energetic ferrets. You don’t need much to keep your little buddy occupied and healthy, even while it’s cooped up inside.
Don’t forget to combine these enrichment ideas with an occasional walk outside for well-rounded ferret stimulation.
The top 3 best ferret toys for indoor enrichment
Ferrets are incredibly smart and adventurous. Because of this, they’re prone to getting into trouble. These toys will help you keep your pet’s behavior and energy under control.
This is an excellent choice for adventurous ferrets that can’t seem to stop looking for an escape from the cage.
A tunnel would be a fun addition to a playpen where you let your fur-baby run around in its daily four hours of free-range time.
You can encourage your little buddy to make its way through the 39″ plastic obstacle by placing a treat at one end and guiding your pet to the other. Let the ferret’s nose alert it to the yummy food at the opposite tunnel mouth, and let ’em fly!
The tunnel is made of durable, stain-resistant plastic, so you won’t have to worry about your ferret dealing too much damage with messy accidents.
Your little one will have tons of fun in this easy setup ferret tunnel.
- Made with durable, stain-resistant plastic
- 39″ x 4″ of tunneling space (& contractable for easy storage)
- Excellent for ferret exercise
- Easy for ferrets to chew a hole through the material
The best indoor alternative to a swimming pool for those who can’t (or won’t) let their pets get wet is a ball pit. Your fur-baby can still enjoy jumping and moving around in a tub without a worry of drowning hazards or big messes from too much splashing.
Now, you might take one look at this ball pit and think, “This is for babies.”
And you’d be right.
But… what’s wrong with that? Your “fur-baby” deserves pampering, too 😉
This PLAY 10 ball pit comes with 50 differently colored balls to fill the pen. One of the best ways to give your ferrets a good time in the ball pit is to hide treats inside.
Your pets can “bob” for the treats, all the while challenging their coordination as they work their way through the small sea of toys.
- Comes with 50 balls for the pit
- Self-contained pen will keep your ferret safe and enclosed during play
- Easy setup
- Some customers reported that it bends and collapses easily
Squeaky toys are an excellent choice for indulging a ferret’s hunting instinct. These play items engage multiple senses, such as touch and hearing, primarily. This can be profoundly satisfying for carnivorous or omnivorous pets like the ferret, allowing them to tap into those deep evolutionary roots as the toy lets out a “shriek” with every pounce.
The toy is secured with high-quality stitching, non-toxic plush material, and soft cotton fabric. It’s easy to clean, ensuring that the toy won’t build up harmful bacteria and pathogens.
Still, even if you trust your ferret to play safely with its squeaky toys, it’s best to restrict these toy sessions to a few minutes at a time with supervision. Although ADOGGYGO, the toymaker, assures customers that the material is durable, they’re not indestructible.
Your ferret is fully capable of ripping up the toy and getting to the squeaker inside. Keeping an eye on controlled playtime can prevent choking hazards from the loose squeaker.
- Engages multiple senses for ferrets during playtime, including hearing and touch
- Lets ferrets exercise their natural hunting instinct
- Material is durable and easy to clean
- Many (dog owners) complained that the material rips easily, so it may not be best for vigorous ferret chewers
Wrap-Up: Which ferret toy is best for your fur-baby?
Ferrets need multi-faceted stimulation to prevent destructive behavior from pent-up energy. The best way to provide this is with engaging toys.
Your ferret’s favorite toys might include anything from a simple toilet paper roll to a colorful ball pit. As long as you’re exercising your fur-baby physically and mentally, you can provide fulfilling enrichment to help your ferret lead a happy life indoors.