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Do Ferrets and Dogs Get Along? 5 Facts to Consider

It is not every day that you find a dog playing with ferret. Peculiar as it may sound; these two animals can live together in the same household in harmony, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

It may take you a couple of months to cultivate such kind of relationship. Remember that both ferrets and dogs have predatory instincts. Although domestication tames them down, sometimes it may take a toll on each other leading to an ugly scene.

For a less hazardous experience, let’s dive straight into the things you need to consider.

Temperament

Some of the most outstanding ferret’s personalities include loner, happy-go-lucky, possessive, clown, smart alpha, and loving.  It is important to note that keeping your ferrets in cages for long durations may result in a gloomy character.

On the contrary, a ferret allowed to roam and dig in the kitchen garden or a box filled with soil would blossom into a friendly and amusing character. The secret is not to take away their natural characteristics but enhance them in a safe and fun approach.

On the flip side, there are three main dog’s personalities. In a pack of dogs, you may notice an alpha character that is always on the frontline. Then, there are middle dogs that do not have a keen interest to lead, but if an opportunity arises, they can take the mantle. Lastly, we have timid and submissive characters.

Apart from temperaments, dogs have inborn energy levels that range from lazy couch potatoes to those who work hard till they drop. While regular exercises and training may balance the energy level and temperaments, it is almost impossible to modify a dog’s fundamental personality.

This means that a coy canine cannot graduate to an alpha, but you can guide them on how to become responsible, confident, and well-behaved towards human beings, dogs, and other species.

Food and Diet

Ferrets have a very fast metabolism. So, you need to feed them with high fat, animal protein and less fiber diet regularly. Getting well-balanced commercial ferret’s food at a fair price is always a struggle. Sometimes, the high price pushes ferret owners to buy dog food. Yet, this may not offer any nutritional value since canines require different ingredients to thrive.

All in all, dried food is the most preferred option since it does not spoil easily. Also, you can add canned meals as a supplement selected days in a week. Most importantly, do not forget to include clean fresh water.

For a healthy canine, you need to introduce balanced meals in the right quantities based on the species and body size. The best combination is uncooked meat or fish with starch and vegetables. Note that not all dogs prefer raw meat. Therefore, cook it properly to reduce the chances of bacterial infections and salmonella.

While bones are essential in cleaning your dog’s teeth, supervise your dog’s feeding to avoid ingesting as it may lead to constipation. Always keep your dog hydrated with clean water.

Age Difference

Usually, when pets mingle together from their earlier days, they become best of friends. Still, that should not discourage you from bringing over a kit when you have full-grown dogs in the house.

In most cases, dogs tolerate much from puppies. Therefore, they may not get bothered much by the playful biting from fuzzies. However, considering that a canine nose is highly sensitive, you should supervise the bonding session to avoid an agitated dog from harming your little friend.

Size Difference

It is worth noting that regardless of the ferret’s tiny structure, they still have their aggressive instinct and may attempt to attack a dog, especially when fighting over toys. In such a situation, if you have an overly protective, it can easily harm a ferret.

To avoid this, you need to mull over your canine’s personality and breed. Bear in mind that some breeds like terriers were specifically developed to control small animals and rodents. On that note, reconsider your idea of bringing a ferret over or supervise their bonding moments always.

Housing

Any extra space in your house would make an ideal shelter for your dog. This includes the guest room, patio to a walk-in closet. If you have minimal space, you can use a baby pen and fold it up when not in use.

Depending on the size and breed of your dogs, some would be more at home outdoors.  Either way, should ensure that the outdoor enclosure is comfortable and spacious enough.

In contrast to dogs, the safest place to house a ferret is within its cages. Since they always attempt to run off, you must effectively ferret proof the cages and the entire house.

If you opt to put the cages outdoors, always keep it locked and secure it with a thin mesh of not more than an inch wide.

How to Introduce a Ferret to a Dog?

On the first meet-up, ensure that your ferret remains in its cage. Then, allow them to sniff and stare at each other from a distance. If your dog displays any signs of aggressiveness, take it out of the room. To help them to recognize each other’s scents, alternate their blankets or bedding for some time.

Days later, you can repeat the introductions and try to play with one pet as the other one watches. This approach helps them to accept each other as family. When they progress well in this level, allow them to interact without boundaries.

Even so, put a leash on your dog and provide the ferret with ample space to hide in case of any eventualities.

Can a Dog Kill a Ferret?

While some dogs may bond well with ferrets, do not encourage a close encounter with hunter canines. This is because they may presuppose them as prey and harm or kill them in the process.

Do Dogs and Ferrets Play Together?

Dogs and ferrets are both social animals that can get along very well. All the same, this kind of relationship doesn’t come overnight. Instead, it requires training, discipline, and supervision for them to become the best playmates.

Wrapping Up

The journey to an amiable dog and ferret relationship starts before you introduce them to one another. First, you need to monitor your pet’s behavior, then, monitor if they depict signs of hostility towards other species.

It may take quite a while, but with patience and proper training, you may help build one of the most pleasant dogs and ferrets relationships ever.

Dogs - Updated: February 21, 2021
avatar I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets.

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