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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a couple questions - and before I start I may as well ask what others think about ferret adopting from Petco? I asked about where they get them, and they said that they get them from Marshall's which is apparently a ferret farm. I tried to look for private breeders in Oregon but I'm not having a lot of luck, although I did find shelters and rescues but I'm not sure if I want to go with a rescue or a young ferret. She said they don't sell fast (at petco) so they don't get very many of them, and the ones there have been there a while.

My second one is regarding Cosmo! I've been doing some research on ferrets for a couple weeks, and today when I was in petco I passed the ferret area. I leaned down and one ran over to me and put its little feet up onto the glass. I literally couldn't resist so I asked to hold him. I kind of fell in love with him, it was like holding a cuddly furry noodle. He was really well socialized and about 5-6 months old. I looked up some signs of sickliness in ferrets and these seemed really healthy and socialized. They were very interested in people, nibbled softly but didn't bite hard, and were all great with being handled.

Cosmo was interested at first, stood on his legs to smell, and I told him down and to sit. I asked if I could introduce them and she agreed, so I leaned down to let him smell the ferret. He smelled, but didn't get in the ferrets face or try to lick or mouth. He then was mostly uninterested and looked around at the bunny toys. He didn't zone in on him like I was worried about (he does this with birds) which would tell me automatically it was going to be a no. I was really impressed and happy that he didn't zone in on it or anything, and didn't seem intense on getting the ferret.

My question is, is it dangerous to own a dog and a ferret? Is this a horrible terrible idea? How would I introduce a dog and a ferret? I understand they would always have to be supervised and Cosmo's not small, so they couldn't play anyway I don't think. Does anyone have a ferret and a dog that live together harmoniously that could give me tips or anything? I still have a lot of research to do and can't get one until we move in January but I want to know if getting one with Cosmo is a horrible idea?

Thanks!
 

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Hi! First off- please don't buy a ferret from a petshop, as these ferrets invariably come from ferret mills, which are just like puppy mills. Bred for profit, in substandard conditions, with no regard for the health or longevity of the animal. So, if you wouldn't support a puppy mill, then please don't support a ferret mill.
Shelters are an excellent option! The ferret will be up to date on vet work, will have been temperament assessed and the shelter workers will be able to help match you to a suitable ferret. Young ferrets are often available because lots of people impulse purchase kits and well...all ferrets, but particularly kits, are a handful.

You can have dogs and ferrets in the same household; I currently have five ferrets and three dogs. Whether or not they can safely interact depends largely on the dog and the ferret. Many dogs do not view ferrets as prey because ferrets do not typically act like prey animals; they are fearless, bold and will approach dogs. High prey drive dogs can be a concern. Especially if they have never had their prey drive moulded appropriately.
A significant danger is that ferrets do tend to enjoy harassing dogs- pestering, irritating them, being deliberately provocative- this can lead to even a patient dog getting fed up and snapping. I do not allow my ferrets to pester my dogs. If the ferrets are out then typically my dogs would rather be elsewhere, out of ferret sight and mind. They are all familiar with each other and we have never had any issues, as the dogs are never forced to interact with the ferrets.

I don't think it's a horrible idea at all, provided interactions are managed carefully. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi! First off- please don't buy a ferret from a petshop, as these ferrets invariably come from ferret mills, which are just like puppy mills. Bred for profit, in substandard conditions, with no regard for the health or longevity of the animal. So, if you wouldn't support a puppy mill, then please don't support a ferret mill.
Shelters are an excellent option! The ferret will be up to date on vet work, will have been temperament assessed and the shelter workers will be able to help match you to a suitable ferret. Young ferrets are often available because lots of people impulse purchase kits and well...all ferrets, but particularly kits, are a handful.

You can have dogs and ferrets in the same household; I currently have five ferrets and three dogs. Whether or not they can safely interact depends largely on the dog and the ferret. Many dogs do not view ferrets as prey because ferrets do not typically act like prey animals; they are fearless, bold and will approach dogs. High prey drive dogs can be a concern. Especially if they have never had their prey drive moulded appropriately.
A significant danger is that ferrets do tend to enjoy harassing dogs- pestering, irritating them, being deliberately provocative- this can lead to even a patient dog getting fed up and snapping. I do not allow my ferrets to pester my dogs. If the ferrets are out then typically my dogs would rather be elsewhere, out of ferret sight and mind. They are all familiar with each other and we have never had any issues, as the dogs are never forced to interact with the ferrets.

I don't think it's a horrible idea at all, provided interactions are managed carefully. :)
Thank you so much for your information! I love learning more about animals and I've been considering ferrets for a long time. Also, I haven't done a ton of research (or much at all really) on ferret mills like Marshall's, but if they're like puppy mills I certainly don't want to support that. The most important thing to me is getting a ferret that is well socialized. I've handled poorly socialized ferrets and other small animals, and getting bit hard by one is terrible. Holding an unsocialized small animal is like tossing an open needle from hand to hand and hoping for the best.

I was worried about shelter or rescue ferrets being poorly socialized and that being a reason they were given up, and I guess I'm wondering whether it will be a challenge to find a friendly ferret in a rescue?

Cosmo had one experience with tiny kittens before, who were very unafraid of him and were seeking out his attention by rubbing on his and meowing at him. He really surprised me with how gentle he was with them. He did a lot of licking and mouthing but very gently, and he was laying down while he did this. (I took the kittens away when he stood for fear he would accidentally trample them)

Being trampled is something I'd worry about. If they get along and play with each other, should I still keep them separated at all times? I'm worried that even if they're playing, Cosmo will stand and step on one because I know they're very unafraid creatures. That's a split second thing that may be beyond my control, should I just not let them interact at all?

Also, when I go to pick out a ferret, what things should I look for in a good pet ferret?

Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh - one more question is, can I let them roam around for most of them day and put them away at night, or should their roaming be strictly supervised? It would be nice if I could put up a couple gates and let them roam, say, the livingroom. Is this okay? Thanks!
 

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Yeah the mills are pretty awful, best to avoid supporting them! I would say the most common reason ferrets end up being rehomed is simply due to people underestimating how demanding and time intensive they are. Most shelters will ensure that that their ferrets are nip trained and good to handle prior to rehoming. There are heaps of friendly ferrets in rescue! :)
Another option is keeping an eye out for private rehomes on Craigslist and other similar sites.

If they get along and can interact without the ferret being too intense, and without Cosmo getting worked up and jumping around, then yes there is the potential for them to have supervised play- they are quite robust little creatures for their size and you know your dog best- If he isn't inclined to play by paw slapping, mouthing, stomping, jumping etc.

When I am choosing ferrets I tend to go for the bold, swaggering, hyper ones...because I like lunatic ferrets haha. :) Interact with some and you will end up clicking with one! That's another benefit to rescue ferrets from shelters, you will know what you are getting!

Lots of people have free range ferrets- if you want to go this route you will have to be very thorough in your ferret proofing but it is definitely an option!

Check out the Holistic Ferrets forum- fantastic resources and info. They have a great FB group too. :)
 

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I have a friend who has 3 cats and a ferret the they're all friends, dogs shouldn't be a problem. The ferrets on their own don't need to be supervised all the time as long as they are in an area that is "ferret proof". Ferrets are litter trained but are still stinky and messy and can tend to pee in corners. They also like places to hide and things to chew/play with. Gates can work but be careful if you have carpeting. My friend's ferrets are always ripping up the carpeting thinking they can dig their way under doorways. I would say some supervision is probably best but most people I see let them roam around as long as wires and such are kept away from them.
 
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