Holiday with Pet Ferret?
It’s time to plan a vacation/ holiday!
Does your vacation include your ferret? Some people wouldn’t dream of leaving their little furry kids at home, while others want the freedom to do whatever they choose without worrying about their pets.
You should take some things into consideration when deciding to take your ferret along or leave him in someone else’s care. Of course much depends on where you are going, how you are traveling and how long you will be gone.
Should They Go?
If you would like to have a holiday with your pet ferret, you need to do some research and preparation. The health and safety of your ferret should be your primary concern.
Traveling is very stressful for a ferret. You want the trip to be as comfortable and relaxing as possible for you and your ferret. One of the things required is lots of attention and playtime for him. He will also need a comfortable cage to live in while away. Don’t keep him in a tiny travel carrier. Be sure to take a long plenty of favorite toys to keep him occupied and make him feel secure.
Before you plan on taking your ferret along, make sure he will be welcome. Check with the hotel you want to stay at or with the friend or relative you plan to stay with. You don’t want to show up and find out your cute little fur ball is not welcome. Also, make sure ferrets are legal where you are vacationing. See my other articles – Are Ferrets Good Pets? and Are ferrets Illegal in California addressing this subject.
What to Pack
- Ferret Medical Kit
- Your veterinarian’s phone number
- 24 hour emergency clinic phone number in vacation area
- General health records and vaccination records
- Any prescriptions/medications
- Sterile saline solution (for cleaning cuts and rinsing eyes)
- Eye dropper
- Small scissors
- Cotton balls
- Cotton swabs
- Gauze pads
- Adhesive bandage tape
- Nutri-Cal (for calorie/nutrition boost if needed)
- Small jars of all meat baby food (for lack of appetite)
- Your ferret’s standard food
- Water bottle
- Travel carrier
- Harness and leash
- Litter box and litter
- Cozy bed
- Favorite toys
- Cleaning supplies for cleaning cage
How are you getting there?
Driving with your furry kid can be demanding and challenging. Ferrets are escape artists and it is important to keep in mind that he may be able to escape from his carrier without your knowledge. Therefore, it is important to use extreme care when entering or exiting the car to make sure your furry friend is where he is supposed to be. He should remain in his cage unless he is being held or otherwise strictly attended to (by someone other than the driver). Of course he needs to be kept INSIDE the car–not in the trunk or attached to a luggage carrier.
You also need to remember to:
- Make frequent rest stops and take your ferret out on a leash for some fun and exercise
- Offer him water frequently (hanging a water bottle or bowl in the cage is not wise, as they easily spill and drip)
- Offer him food as needed (if he is not eating, you may offer a few licks of Nuti-Cal)
- Be sure to keep the car at a comfortable temperature
- Do not leave your ferret in the car unattended in hot or cold weather–period!
- Do not leave your ferret in his carrier with his harness or collar on
- Do not travel with a sick, injured, pregnant or very old ferret
Taking your furry kid with you on a plane is not recommended–especially if he is to be put with the cargo. But, if you do decide to travel with your ferret by plane, there are extra considerations, assuming you have verified that your vacation destination welcomes ferrets.
Schedule a nonstop flight if possible. Changing planes adds stress to you and your pet and adds the risk of him getting lost in transfer. Also, keep in mind that airlines cannot transport pets via cargo in extreme hot or cold temperatures. You will need to check with the airline regarding specific rules and regulations pertaining to pets. If ferrets are allowed on board, some of the typical requirements are listed below.
- You must make a prior reservation for you ferret. If at all possible, arrange to take your ferret in the cabin with you. Be sure to confirm the arrangement several days in advance.
- You will need a health certificate issued by your vet, usually within 10 days of departure.
- You will need an airline approved carrier. If he is traveling in the cabin with you, the carrier must fit under the seat. Check with the airline to clarify what their definition of “airline approved” carrier is.
- Attach a label to the carrier with a label that states “LIVE ANIMALS” with an arrow pointing up.
- Attach another label with your name, address and phone number as well as the same info for a contact person at home.
- Attach a third label with your final destination, including hotel and hotel phone number.
- Some airlines require separate carriers for each pet.
It is not recommended that you take your ferret with you on international flights, unless you plan on relocating. International travel poses another layer of requirements and another level of stress.
Should They Stay?
Leaving Your Furry Kid at Home
You have made the decision that your ferret is better off staying home. Now what? Who is going to take care of him? Should you board your ferret or get a ferret sitter?
Finding the right ferret sitter
Trusting someone with your furry kid can be worrisome. This person will be responsible for the care and well-being of your ferret, either in your home or theirs. Following are a list of some of the questions you may want to ask potential ferret sitters.
- How long have you been pet sitting?
- Do you belong to an association?
- What is your experience with ferrets?
- What do you know about ferrets?
- Do you like ferrets?
- What is your procedure in case of an emergency (medical, fire…?)
- Do you have a backup sitter in case of an emergency?
- How often do you come to the house (if not staying in the home)?
- How much time do you spend interacting and playing with the ferret?
- Do you charge per day or per visit?
- Are you willing to stop by once or twice to get acquainted with the ferret and his routine before pet sitting?
Depending on your needs and budget, you can discuss various options, such as:
- Stay in home vs. visits to home
- Number of visits
- Length of visits
- Feeding and cleaning requirements
- Play and interaction
Many pet sitters are not familiar with how to care for ferrets. That alone should not rule them out as potential ferret sitters. A good pet sitter should be willing and eager to learn about ferrets, their needs and how to best care for them. They should be willing to spend a little time getting acquainted and comfortable with your fur ball.
No matter who takes care of your ferret while you are away, you need to make sure that you educate her on the basics of ferret care, as well as what your furry kid, in particular, requires. You also need to provide the ferret sitter with the following:
- The phone number where you can be reached
- Where you will be staying
- The name and phone number of an emergency contact person, close to home
- Your vet’s phone number and address
- An emergency clinic’s phone number and address
- A copy of your ferret’s medical records
- Any medications your ferret is taking along with written instructions as to when and how to administer and the dose. Demonstrate if necessary.
- An adequate supply of food along with any needed written instructions
- Cleaning supplies, litter and any change of bedding needed along with written instructions
- A written list of ferret-proofing precautions
Boarding your ferret
There are several boarding options if you prefer to have a pet boarding facility care for your ferret while you are away. Depending on where you live, you may or may not have some of these options.
- A veterinarian
- A ferret shelter
- A pet boarding facility
- A pet sitter (mentioned above)
Be sure to visit the place you plan to board your ferret and evaluate the overall conditions as well as the exact place your furry kid will be kept. Do not leave your ferret there unless you are completely comfortable with all aspects of the facility, the care givers and the accommodations. Ask any questions you may have and make sure they are answered satisfactorily.
You will need most of the information, instructions and items required for an in-home ferret sitter, along with a travel cage to take your ferret to and from the boarding location. You may also need to provide a regular cage, if the facility does not have a cage appropriate for a ferret.
Holiday with your pet ferret-should he stay or should he go?
Planning a vacation is fun–going on vacation is even more fun! Traveling with or without your ferret, with some careful planning and preparation, your holiday can be as stress-free as possible for you and your ferret.
Share this info with other ferret parents. Click on the links in this article for more info and products to prepare for your trip.
Have a great trip!