Ferrets don’t have sweat glands and can get dehydrated very quickly in hot weather. Always make sure you have enough fresh water available at all times and if your ferret is in an outdoor cage, fill up a 2L soft drink bottle with water, freeze it, then put it in the cage, wrapped in a towel, so that your ferret can lie against it and cool off.
Some symptoms of dehydration are:
- Dry, sticky gums
- Dry, sticky saliva
- Not much piddle output
- Squinting, dry eyes
Illnesses can also cause dehydration and one of the “tests” you can do to see if your ferret is dehydrated is to pinch the skin on its neck. If it remains up, like a tent, instead of returning to normal, your ferret is dehydrated and needs attention urgently.
It would be useful to keep a couple of sachets of electrolytes from your vet in your ferret first aid box in case your furbaby does get dehydrated. There is also an electrolyte made especially for ferrets by Marshall called Ferret-Aide Electrolyte/Hydration Concentrate. However you could also give your ferret Pedialyte for infants (without any flavoring), something which can be found in any supermarket.
As a rough estimate you need to give your ferret 10% of its body weight in balanced electrolytes; that means that if your ferret weighs 800g, you’ll need to give it 80ml of electrolytes.
If your ferret won’t drink on its own and you have to syringe feed it, please make sure to aim the syringe into your ferret’s cheek so that you don’t shoot the water down into its lungs!
You can read more on Dehydration in Ferrets on these sites …
Dehydration in Ferrets causes Signs and Treatment by Second opinion doctor
A Dehydrated Ferret by Naomi Millburn
Ferret Emergencies by Susan Brown, DVM (General article, not specifically about dehydration)
(Last updated November 2019)
DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this page is not meant to replace seeing a veterinarian if you think your ferret is ill. It’s only meant to supply general information on a particular illness which was obtained either from personal experience with my sick ferrets, or from books and/or the Internet.