Protecting ferrets from the heat

Ferrets take hot weather badly. Ferrets actually tolerate cold better than heat. Especially old, young and sick ferrets are very vulnerable in hot weather. Does the mercury rise above 25 degrees?

Here are some tips to make it more comfortable for your ferret:

• Make sure your ferret always has enough drinking water.
• Do you have a mobile air conditioning? Place it in the room with your ferret and close it properly so that the coolness stays inside.
• A fan is possible, but do not direct it straight at the ferret. A fan only moves the air, but does not cool down.
• Put your ferret in the coolest room of the house. Ferrets that are kept outside can best be brought inside.
• Close windows, doors and curtains to keep the sun and heat out.
• Put wet towels in and over the cage.
• Give them a 'pool' with enough water to cover the bottom in which they can paddle. One way in which ferrets cool down is via the soles of their feet.
• Let your ferret play with lukewarm water in the shower or the bath.
• Provide cotton sheets for sleeping. Ferrets love fleece blankets, but they can easily overheat in them.
• Keep your ferret as calm as possible. Do not go for a walk or provoke them to play, but let them indicate what is possible.
• Moisten their feet, stomach and groins regularly with lukewarm water.
• Put frozen plastic (not glass) bottles of water or 'ferret proof' icepacks in the cage. This allows you to cool the immediate environment. Wrap them in a towel to prevent freezing, because some ferrets like to lie against them.

How do you recognise overheating in your ferret?

• Panting or lying down with its mouth open
• Mucus, moisture droplets or foam around the mouth and/or nose
• Eyes turning
• Unconsciousness; immediately contact a vet if your ferret is unconscious

Be extra vigilant if you see your ferret behave differently. Stretching out on cooler surfaces, lethargic or unsettled behaviour, drinking a lot, less appetite are all signs that can indicate overheating.
Never use cold water to cool your ferret, the blood vessels will narrow and your ferret may overheat or even go into shock. Never underestimate overheating in ferrets. Some ferrets do not know their own limits and then you as an owner must decide how far they can go.

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