Merck Manual

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Ensuring a Safe Environment

Ensuring a Safe Environment

Area of Concern

Hazard

Prevention

Appliances—washers, dryers, stoves, dishwashers, and refrigerators

Exposure to electrical wires and moving parts, as well as entrapment inside a machine. Ferrets have been known to fall asleep in the laundry and end up in the washer or dryer. They also have crawled into refrigerators and stoves while the door was open and been trapped inside.

Seal all holes larger than 1 inch. Lower appliances to the floor and block access from all sides. Always check inside refrigerators, dishwashers, and stoves before closing the door or running the appliance. Examine clothing before placing it in the washer or dryer. If possible, restrict access to the laundry room at all times.

Air ducts

Entrapment, leading to starvation and dehydration

Seal all holes larger than 1 inch where ductwork passes through a wall or floor.

Open railings

Falls

Enclose railings or restrict access to only the lower level of the home.

Electrical wires

Electrocution

Use a plastic wire protector. Apply bitter-tasting spray to discourage chewing behavior.

Open doors or doors with gaps

Access to outdoors, where the ferret may become lost or injured

Locate and possibly restrain ferrets before opening doors. Attach a door sweeper or weather stripping to the bottom of a door with a gap.

Cabinets

Exposure to cleaning supplies, medications, and other toxic materials; entrapment

Secure doors using sturdy, childproof locks. Seal any openings between the cabinet and floor or baseboard.

Windows

Falls; access to outdoors

Ensure screens are free of tears and fit securely. Because ferrets can tear holes in screens, it is best to keep windows closed.

Reclining furniture

Crushing injuries when position is changed; entrapment in wires or clamps

Remove from home or modify to a stationary chair.

Couches, overstuffed chairs, rocking chairs

Suffocation or serious injury from being sat on; being killed by chair rockers

Supervise ferrets around couches, chairs, and similar furniture. Staple a carpet protector or sheet pulled tight to the underside of the couch, or consider replacing it with a futon. Inspect cushions before sitting.

Houseplants

Possible poisoning hazard

Remove from the home or place out of reach. (Remember that ferrets are excellent climbers.)

Box spring mattresses

Possible crush injury when someone lies on the bed

Staple heavy fabric pulled tight or a plastic carpet protector to the bottom of the box spring.

Rugs

Crush injury while hiding or tunneling underneath

Remove rugs or be careful when walking on them.

Spongy, chewable household objects, including pencil erasers, balloons, Styrofoam, rubber bands, door stops, and tennis shoes

Intestinal blockage, choking

Keep items out of reach of ferrets, either locked up or in areas that they cannot reach. Do not overlook waste in trash cans. Keep phone numbers for your local veterinarian and poison control hotlines accessible (ASPCA Poison Control Center, 888-426-4435; Pet Poison Helpline, 855-764-7661).

Bathrooms—toilets, bathtubs, sinks

Drowning

Keep toilet lids down, and possibly use a child lock. Do not leave tubs or sinks filled with water unattended.