Saturday, December 18, 2010

Having a ferret-safe Christmas

The holiday season is full on hidden dangers for our beloved pets. Most people are already aware that chocolate and alcohol are toxic to cats, dogs and ferrets, sweets are tough on their digestive systems and to avoid tinsel as some animals LOVE to eat it and it can tear through their intestines like shards of glass. Now here are a few special considerations for those beloved pet ferrets...

Consider keeping the tree is a ferret-free area of your house, or placing a ferret gate around the tree to keep your pets a safe distance away. If this is not possible, then there are certain precautions that you should take. 
1) if you have a real tree, avoid putting any fertilizer or tree preserver in the water. Ferrets have extremely long necks and skinny faces - they can often manage to get to the water and seem to really enjoy taking sips from this neat, new water container.
2) Decorate with caution. Be sure to place any and all fragile ornaments and decorations well out of ferret reach - broken glass can injure your pet and losing your favourite ornaments can be quite upsetting.
3) Be sure to place lights out of reach to reduce risk of electrical shock. Lights look very interesting to some ferrets, and they may decide that lights should be played with and put in their mouths. Placing the bulb/ bright portion out of their reach may reduce the likelihood of your ferret being tempted by these fancy new 'toys'.
4) If the tree is on an unstable base, consider tethering it to the roof or wall. If your ferret attempts to jump at ornaments on the tree or is interested in pulling garland off the tree, the tree will rock and may wind up falling on to your beloved pet. Falling trees also damage ornaments and gifts which have been placed under the tree.
5) Be careful with placing gifts under the tree - some ferrets feel the need to unwrap and play with these items, especially if their contents are candy or chocolate.
6) Always supervise your pet around the Christmas tree - some ferrets are incredibly good climbing  trees (though they are quite bad at descending without falling), and who knows what trouble they will get in to way up there!
7) Christmas gifts are fun for us, but are our gifts safe for the ferret? Resist the urge to leave un-safe gifts under the Christmas Tree after the present opening is complete. A toy truck, for instance, is a great toy for a child, but the small rubber tires can put your beloved pet at risk.
8) Don't forget about the stockings! Keep their contents well out of fuzzy reach and out of harm's way. While people will often remember to move their larger gifts, stockings are sometimes forgotten on coffee tables or fire place hearths, ready for ferrets to plunder.
9) Consider letting fuzzy out after the initial Christmas morning excitement. Your ferret will pick up on the hyper vibe and most likely be extra excited during present opening. They may be running and bouncing about and could easily get trod on in all the excitement and confusion that inevitably goes along with Christmas gift opening.  They may also choose to pick through newly opened gifts and ferret away their favourites before you get to enjoy them.
10) Not all guests are ferret aware or ferret friendly. Consider locking fuzzy away when non-ferret people come over to enjoy the celebrations. This will help prevent your pet from accidentally getting sat on, stepped on or let out by those unfamiliar with ferrets and their behaviour.

If you can think of any more Christmas dangers for your pet ferret, let us know and have a happy holiday!