Do Dogs And Ferrets Get Along? What You Need To Know! | Pet Keen

Swiss white shepherd and ferrets

Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world and ferrets, for their part, are gaining more and more popularity as pets each day. If you want to have both animals in your household, you will be glad to hear that it is possible. Dogs and ferrets can get along, but with supervision. Let’s dig deeper into what to expect from this unique household combination.


Reading: Dogs and ferrets

Can all ferrets live with all dogs?

Ferrets can live with dogs, but there are rules you must follow regarding a dog’s personality, breed, and age. here are some criteria one should consider before combining a dog with a ferret.

avoid hunting dogs

Some breeds of dogs and ferrets are not a good match due to the nature of the dog. hunting dogs such as terriers, pointers, setters, etc. they probably won’t get along with a ferret. Also, if you have a dog with a high prey drive, regardless of breed, it’s not a good idea to pair it with a ferret. In those two cases, due to the size of the ferret, a dog may mistake a ferret for prey and attack it.

avoid introducing old or sick pets

If there is an elderly or sick pet in your home, you need to think carefully about this situation. most older pets are not interested in younger ones, they tend to ignore them. So, if you introduce a young animal to the old one and see that the old one is not interested, stop with the introduction. the young animal can stress the older one simply by jumping around it or inviting it to play. a younger, hyperactive ferret can also irritate an older dog, causing it to squirm.

introducing ferret to dog

Image Credit: Nalaphotos, Shutterstock

How To Introduce Dogs and Ferrets

The most important thing you can do in a ferret-dog relationship is to gradually introduce them. their performance should last a couple of days and they should always be supervised, no matter how well they get along with each other. their first meeting should be on neutral ground so they don’t feel like they have to defend their territory. Here are the steps you can take to properly introduce your ferret and dog:

1. that are close to each other

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Put your ferret in a cage and let the dog come close to the cage so they can smell each other. you can leash your dog for this step since you don’t know how he will react in the first few minutes. Give them time to smell each other, and if you see any signs of aggression, stop the introduction and try again later. if they’re relaxed or curious about each other, you can move on to the next step. make sure to keep an eye on the dog, as he can deal a lot more damage if he activates.

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ferret and black dog

Image Credit: Milla Luca, Shutterstock

2. Remove The Cage

This is a step where both animals smell each other without a barrier between them. ask a family member to hold your dog by the collar and leash (leave the leash to the dog) and you can grab the ferret. Hold your ferret in his arms and get close to the dog so he can see and smell you. you can start with a distance of 20 inches and gradually get closer and closer to the dog. watch your dog’s reaction every step of the way. if you see any signs of aggression or fear, abort and go back to step 1. if both parties remain calm, you can stay that way for a minute or so, then go to the next step.

3. put the ferret on the ground

Now it’s time to see how your dog reacts to a ferret on the ground. but, before doing so, he places a box or tunnel near the ferret. that can be an escape route for a ferret if things go wrong because a dog won’t be able to follow the ferret through a small hole. Now that the ferret is on the ground, keep the dog on a leash and watch his posture. if the dog is alert, keep it under his supervision and react if necessary. if the dog is relaxed or playful, keep him under supervision, but just watch him.

4. remove the strap

If your dog and ferret are on good terms with each other, you can take the dog off the leash. keep the tunnel or box on the floor for the ferret, but you don’t have to intervene in any other way unless things go seriously wrong. all you have to do now is watch their behavior, keep them under his supervision, and let them form their own relationship.

Related reading: Can ferrets eat dog food? what you need to know!

brittany spaniel and ferret

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Safety Issues

If your dog and ferret have gotten along great from the moment they met, great. but that doesn’t mean you can leave them unattended. a dog and a ferret should always be under your supervision to keep them safe for many different reasons.

problems with big dogs

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If you have a large dog who loves ferrets, you should keep him supervised because something as silly as a game of tag can be dangerous to a ferret. a large dog may accidentally step, sit, or even lie on a ferret, resulting in injury. your ferret could break any bone, including the spine. In this situation, your supervision could mean life or death for your ferret.

trigger problem

also, no matter how good they are together, each pet can be activated. If a dog bites a ferret, even as part of play, that can be bad for a ferret. By keeping them under supervision, you can prevent an innocent game from turning into something much more serious. remember, just one minute is enough for an accident to happen.

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what if they don’t get along?

Each pet has a unique personality, so there’s always a chance they won’t get along. if that happens, no matter how long they have coexisted peacefully before, you must keep them apart at all times after any major incident. if you have the space, you can set up one room to be a “ferret room” which is off-limits to the dog. If you don’t have a spare room, you should organize your home that way to keep your ferret safe at all times. what you have to do is get the dog out of the room when a ferret is released from the cage. when a ferret sleeps, you can keep it in the cage and let the dog go back to the room.


final thoughts

One of the reasons we love dogs is that they are full of love and curiosity. most dogs are not aggressive and will get along with ferrets. But accidents can happen, so no matter how well your ferret and dog play together, keep them under your supervision at all times.

featured image credit: couperfield, shutterstock

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