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- Buckle your carrier in
the back seat
- Seatbelt goes through the
- Enjoy the ride!
All photos © John Porter
- ROAD TRIP! FERRETS IN
© Erika Matulich
- Occasionally you will need to take
your ferret on a trip in the car. This could either be a short trip
to the veterinarian, or a longer vacation trip. In general, ferrets
travel easily by car. Some ferrets may claw at the cage, which is
why trimmed nails are important. Most will sleep, especially if you
keep the sound turned off any rear stereo speakers. Never
tranquilize a ferret for travel. It is dangerous and unnecessary.
- Carrier Confinement
- Your ferret should always travel in a
secure carrier and never run loose in the car! I took my first
ferret, Critter, home in a petstore cardboard box. It took only a
few minutes for the little escape artist to get out and start
exploring the car. She crawled under the brake pedal and I was faced
with the possible agonizing choice of stepping on the brake and
squashing the ferret or not stepping on the brake and crashing into
something! I finally pushed her out of the way with my foot, but
before I could pull over she squeezed behind the dashboard. It took
30 agonizing minutes to get her out! My very next purchase was an
airline-approved carrier. These are the sturdiest, and you wonít
have to make another carrier purchase if you decide to fly with your
ferret. Soft-sided carriers are okay for very short trips. And even
though you have your ferret in a carrier, ferret-proof your car just
in case of an escape. Duct tape can seal those gaps between the
floorboard and dash.
- Buckle Up!
- When you place your carrier in your
vehicle, be sure to secure it in a seat. Most often you can take the
shoulder harness, run it through the handle of the carrier, and
buckle it in. A lap belt might also work, depending on the size of
your carrier. Another alternative is to use bungee cords to attach
the carrier to the headrest of the seat. For very large carriers I
have used rope or nylon dog leashes tied all the way around the seat
and carrier. For the ferret itself, make sure you have a harness and
leash in case you need to remove the ferret from the carrier. An ID
tag is also helpful.
- Beat the Heat
- In the summer, car travel is
particularly dangerous because of heat hazards. Remember that
ferrets cannot tolerate temperatures above 85 degrees F (29EC).
NEVER leave your ferret in a parked car during the summer, even if
the windows are open and it is just for a few minutes -- interior
car temperatures can double in as few as ten minutes. There are too
many sad storied about ferrets dying after staying in a parked car
for "just a minute." So the most important thing to
remember about ferret car travel is keeping your ferret cool. Donít
put the carrier on the car floor where it is hottest; place the
carrier on the seat. Block direct sunlight from car windows by
rolling up the window on the edge of a towel that hangs down, or
taping cardboard against the window. Even if your car has
airconditioning, your car could overheat, your airconditioning could
break, or your car could break down and help would take time to
arrive. You should always carry emergency cooling supplies with you,
as well as water.
- Even for the shortest summer trips,
take along frozen water bottles to put in the carrier. Be sure the
ferret does not have direct contact with the cold surface, so wrap
the frozen bottle in a towel or sock. Always carry water with you
and give your ferret access to water. I had my airconditioning fail
during a trip (it was almost 100 degrees outside). Fortunately, I
had some gallon jugs of water in the car and I wet down the ferrets
with a towel and let air from the open windows blow over the ferrets
to help with evaporative cooling until we got home. In a similar
situation, your could also use a water sprayer, or dunk your ferret
in a bucket of cool water. Instant cold packs can also be used in an
- For trips longer than an hour or two,
pack food, treats, extra water bottles (full), paper towels, and
litterbox materials. Donít deprive your ferrets of food and water
because you are afraid of them throwing up! Ferrets rarely get
motion sickness, and their fast metabolisms require food and water
every few hours. The problem is that if you load up their carrier
with food and water, the ferrets make a big mess digging and
splashing! Only put a small amount of food in the cage at a time.
Offer water every hour. Clean out the litterbox or cage liner at
every rest stop before odors build up or your ferret gets soiled.
- Drive On!
- I hope these tips help you with your
next ferret car trip. Buckle up and keep cool!