Ferrets are fun pets. They are inquisitive, loveable, crazy critters that really do know how to get under your skin and into your heart. If you are thinking of adding a ferret to your dog kingdom, special practices need to be considered.
First, if you already have dogs and you've been drawn to the ferret pen at the local pet store you need to think about what's best for the dog that you've already committed to taking care of? If your dog is still a puppy then chances are introducing the two would go pretty smooth. If your dog is already full grown or older then you need to consider the dog's personality. For instance, does your dog like to chase small animals, like squirrels, when they are outside? Does your dog snap at smaller dogs? Is your dog tolerant of any change in their home environment?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions then you really should reconsider getting a ferret. Many dog breeds, especially the terrier breeds, have strong hunting instincts and these instincts will come out when they see the scurrying of a ferret. Also, once the ferret is discovered a dog with a strong hunting drive may NEVER leave it alone.
Second, if you answered no to the above questions and your dog is laid back, you really should consider their personality. Introducing an older dog to a ferret will still be a challenge. Ferret's bite. They bite when they play. They bite when they're scared and a young ferret will bite just to bite. A dog's skin is pretty tough, but ferret teeth are sharp. If your dog won't tolerate a toddler pulling his fur or on his ears, then your dog probably won't tolerate a ferret bite.
Many people will argue here that they will keep the ferret in his cage and the ferret and the dog will always be separated. Know this, ferret's are crafty and they aren't called "little thieves" for nothing. Ferret's get out of cages and play pens all the time. Also, if they are in a play pen and the dog lays by the play pen, little hands and claws still have a lot of reach!
Lastly, the introduction should always be slow and in moderation. You should never leave a ferret unsupervised unless the room has been "ferret-proofed" (no wires to chew on, doors hung so they can't scoot under them, and nothing toxic or hazardous anywhere in the room). You should NEVER EVER leave a ferret and a dog unsupervised.
If your dog is laid back, loving, and nurturing they will sometimes see the ferret as a puppy. Dogs with patience will tolerate a lot from a puppy. If introducing a puppy to a kit (baby ferret) always consider the puppy's size as well. A mastiff puppy can hurt a kit just by accidentally stepping on it.
If you would like to learn more about adding a new furry baby to your clan check out ferret tips here.
Ferrets and dogs can live in peace and harmony together and many can form a very special bond. Always take into consideration the pet that you first committed to taking care of, the personality of your dog, and if a ferret will be right for your household.