ZOMBIE FERRETS: We will stash your brains!
By Courtney Stoker
There’s nothing more fun than ferrets in costumes, but many of our fuzzies are not tolerant of clothes! A zombie costume solves this problem, as it requires makeup instead of fabric. For last year’s Halloween, Crystal Wallace in Sundre, Alberta (Canada) included her lovely ferrets in her family’s decision to costume as zombies.
DDFM: What makeup did you use to zombie-fy your ferrets?
Crystal: The makeup brand I used was Burt’s Bees and I used regular Halloween “blood.” I used dark grey eyeshadow very sparingly around their eyes, being careful to not put it too close to their eyes. I used a brown eyeshadow on their bodies, to make it look like they have dirt on them. Then I put the fake Halloween blood on their bodies.
DDFM: When you were picking products, how did you determine what was safe and what wasn’t?
Crystal: Honestly, most of what I used to determine safety was Google! For the blood, it had very few ingredients and 2 of the 4 are actually used in ferret foods. If one of the ingredients I Googled said it was toxic or difficult to remove, I didn’t use it. I also avoided anything that might stain their fur.
If you’re looking to make up your ferrets for Halloween, here are some things to look for in the ingredients list. Keep in mind that ferrets are likely to groom themselves while wearing any Halloween costume, so any makeup or other products should be safe for them to eat, not just wear!
NO essential oils
While essential oils don’t cause acute poisoning, some of their components cannot be metabolized by ferrets and will slowly accumulate in their bodies. Avoid using any products in your home (including your own cosmetics) with essential oils.
NO ethylene glycol
Ethylene glycol can cause central nervous system depression in ferrets.
NO formaldehyde or preservatives that contain formaldehyde
These preservatives include quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, and imidazolidinyl urea.
NO heavy metals
The heavy metals most commonly used in cosmetics are aluminum, cadmium, lead, mercury, and arsenic. Heavy metals are in a surprising number of makeup products, even though they are also harmful to humans.
NO natural or artificial fragrance
When a company lists “fragrance” in their ingredients, they are not required to disclose what the fragrance consists of. This means it could contain something toxic without your knowing.
Phthalates have been shown to cause liver toxicity when eaten by ferrets.
NO polyethylene glycol (PEG)
PEG is used in many cosmetics as a thickener. It can be found in ethylene oxide (a known carcinogen in humans) and 1,4-dioxane (which causes respiratory problems in humans and is banned in Canada)
NO tannic acid
While considered safe for humans, tannic acid can cause liver damage in ferrets.
Xylitol is used most often as a flavoring in things like toothpaste, but is also used as a humectant in other personal hygiene products. While xylitol is harmless for humans, the United States Federal Drug Administration (FDA) warns that it can cause adverse effects in dogs and ferrets, including hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure, and vomiting.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, so be sure to research all the ingredients in products thoroughly before putting them on your ferret.
You should always supervise your ferret while they are in any costume. If they are grooming themselves a lot (i.e., trying to lick off the products you applied), you should wash them to get the product off. Even if you’re sure a product is safe to ingest, you don’t want your ferret to eat too much of anything that isn’t food!