Although ferrets are probably never going to love the car like a dog with its head out the window smelling the breeze, there are occasions when travelling with your ferret is necessary.
With the right planning and some basic equipment travelling with your ferret can be a happy and safe ride for everyone. So before you set off on your trip make sure you review our tips and advice for travel with your fun loving fur-balls.
Before You Set Off
Prior to a move or long distance travel visit your Vet and get a general check over. Ferrets can be very secretive when it comes to their health problems, so a check up is an excellent way of identifying any little problems before they become big problems. Many of their diseases are treatable if they are caught in the early stages.
You can also ensure your ferrets microchip is working or get one implanted and ensure your vaccinations are up to date. If you are travelling interstate throughout Australia it’s important to note that Queensland and the Northern Territory do not allow ferrets and in WA they require a quarantine inspection. You also need a licence to own a ferret in the ACT.
A secure cat or dog cage is the best transport option. Remember that a ferret can escape very easily, so ensure there are no gaps more than 1-2 cm big, depending on the size of your ferret. For a long trip, ensure the cage is big enough to fit a litter tray, food and water.
If water and food bowls are too heavy they can move around and cause injury, if they are too light they will simply be knocked over. Drip water bottles are not advisable as even when stationary ferrets can easily chip their teeth on them. However, it can be far more effective to simply offer food and water every few hours during your trip. Stop. Revive. Survive.
If your pet is already used to walking on a harness this can be a good option for exercise breaks during a long trip. Remember to bring extra towels and bedding so you can clean the cage during the trip in case of accidents.
Tip: Make sure your ferret gets enough to drink on long trips.
Never leave your ferret in the car on a hot day, even if it doesn’t seem particularly hot, the car can heat up from 21?C to 47?C very quickly and ferrets are particularly susceptible to heatstroke.
If you need to stop when it is hot, take your ferret in his cage out of the car and pop him under a tree and consider taking your own ‘air conditioner’ in the form of some large frozen water bottles that can be placed adjacent to the cage. Wet towels and a nice breeze or fan will also provide cooling.
If your ferret is showing signs of heat stress, wet him down and fan him to accelerate cooling while driving to the closest vet clinic.
First aid kit for travel
If you do plan on a long journey, consider a few basics just in case:
- Saline for wound cleaning or flushing eyes (or make your own with 1 teaspoon of table salt to 1 cup of cooled boiled water);
- Meat-based baby food puree for emergency food (ask your vet for a feeding syringe before you go);
- Nutrigel, corn syrup or honey to be rubbed on the gums in case of hypoglycaemia;
- Lectade in case of mild dehydration and a 5ml syringe so you can drip it into your ferret’s mouth; and
- Small bandages
You should also remember to bring extra of any medications your ferret may be on, just in case of spillages or delays.
Sedation for travel is not generally recommended. Most ferrets take travel in their stride and do not experience undue stress. Sedation can interfere with thermoregulation, and can mask signs of problems such as heat stress. Generally most ferrets fall asleep a short while into a car trip so make sure they have a comfy bed. However, if you are concerned, speak to your Veterinarian about options.
Travel with your ferret takes a little planning, but is easy when you pay attention to the transport cage, equipment and cautions in regards to heatstroke for your pet.
If your ferrets have any specific health problems, please ask your Veterinarian for advice before you travel. And before you go, make sure your microchip contact details are up to date.