Summer is here and everybody is out enjoying the sun.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when bringing Fuzzy out to enjoy the summer:
1)Ferrets are quite sensitive to heat. They overheat quickly, and can easily become hyperthermic (dangerously hot) in hot weather. On really hot days, resist the urge to bring your little furry friend on mid-day adventures. Opt for either early morning or evening outings when the heat of the day is not at its max.
2) If your ferret begins to pant, reduce his body temperature by dousing him with cool (not freezing) water, give him something to drink, and GET HIM OUT OF THE HEAT - he is showing early signs of heat stroke. If left uncheck, this can kill your pet.
3) Bring water. This is a no-brainer, but something which we often forget when rushing out of the house to enjoy the sun. Collapsible water dishes or small tupperwares are fine for quick outings, and most ferrets are capable of drinking from wide mouth water bottles on their own (and dipping their heads in the water).
4) A frozen water bottle or jar underneath a blankie in his kennel will give your ferret the option of cooling down should he or she get too hot. The cool area should be positioned for that the ferret can cool himself when he wants without being stuck on the ice pack should he wish to warm up a tad. Avoid using freezer packs which use chemicals rather than water - these are often toxic and could pose a risk to your ferret should he or she give the container a nibble out of curiosity.
5) Avoid the beach during the afternoon - sand is hot, there is little shade, plenty of noise, large crowds and so forth... in general it is not a fun experience for your pet. Taking him to a damp, sandy area in the evening when it is cooler and you are not wanting to swim or tan is preferable - your ferret will not enjoy scorching his paws on the sand in the afternoon sun and most definitely does not need to work on his tan.
6) Watch for pesticide spray signs and be aware of areas that have been recently sprayed. The last thing that you want is for your ferret to 'swim' through the grass right into some poison!
7) Pavement, cement, tile, asphalt, brick all get HOT in afternoon sun - too hot for fuzzy feet! If you cannot walk comfortably on the surface with your barefeet, why would you assume that your ferret could? Little ferret feet are much better off in a bit of cool snow than they are on scorching surfaces. Keep this in mind when walking your pet.
8) Hot cars are a no-no! If it is hot out and your pet must stay in the car while you run into a store - even for just a second - then leave your pet at home. It is generally more than twice as hot in the car as it is in the house, and as we have mentioned, ferrets are extremely sensitive to heat. Your five minute trip into the store could result in the death of your pet. Is it really worth it? Every year, the SPCA rescues hundreds of animals locked in hot cars, sometimes they get there too late and tragedy results.
With a little consideration and common sense, summer can be a lot of fun for both you and your pet. Enjoy the sun, but keep your ferret's needs in mind!