When hot weather arrives, it is very important to make sure your pets do not overheat. Ferrets are prone to heat stress, and temperatures over 85-90 F (29-32 C) are too hot and overheating and heatstroke are a serious risk. Every effort should be made to keep your ferret's cage at a safe and comfortable temperature (low 70s F or low 20s C).
Cooling the Room
If you live in a climate where heat (or humidity) is a problem, consider air conditioning. If central air conditioning isn't feasible, invest in a room-sized air conditioner (if window mounted, make sure there is no room to escape). Make sure the cool air is not directed right onto your ferret cage, though. Also, keep in mind that power outages are also common during heat waves, so have a backup in place (see some ideas below).
Fans and ceiling fans can help circulate the air. Just be careful that they are out of reach of curious ferrets, and also make sure they are not directed right at the ferret cage.
Other Cooling Methods
- Wash empty plastic bottles (inside and out) and remove labels. Fill nearly to the top with water (leave room for expansion) and freeze. Wrap frozen bottles in a towel and place in the cage. As the water thaws, the condensation on the bottle will make the towel cool and damp so your ferret can lay on it if he or she wishes. If your ferret chews on plastic, you can freeze a block of ice and just wrap the ice in an extra-absorbent towel.
- Let your ferrets splash in cool shallow water the tub or a small pool.
- If you have room and don't mind a bit of a mess while you are gone, place a frozen bottle of water with the cap of in a clean shallow pan and leave it in with your ferrets. Put a couple of thick towels around to contain the splashes.
- A gentle misting with water can cool down your ferrets (only if they don't detest water, though).
- Put some ice cubes in a dish; your ferrets can play and keep cool too.
- Power failures are common during heat waves, so if you will be away from home for a while, use a back-up in case the power failures. The frozen water bottle method works well for this; simply put one in the cage before you leave when the temperature or humidity is dangerous.
- Make sure your ferrets' cage is not placed in direct sunlight from windows or skylights.
- Make sure windows have secure screens. As mentioned previously, if you have window-mounted air conditioners (or fans) make sure there is no way to escape around them.