I’ve listed the poisons and toxins harmful to ferrets below for your information.
Xylitol is a sugar-free additive found to be toxic to dogs for a while but now it’s been found that ferrets which have ingested products with Xylitol have the same bad reactions to it as dogs.
Some products which contain Xylitol are …
- sugar-free chewing gum
- sugar-free baked goods
- sugar-free candy, eg Tic Tacs
- oral hygiene products, including toothpaste, mouthwashes and mints
- chewable vitamins
- throat lozenges
- throat sprays
Symptoms can include:
- Ataxia (uncoordinated movements)
- Hypokalemia (decreased potassium)
- Liver dysfunction and/or failure
These signs can be seen as soon as half-an-hour after a product containing Xylitol has been eaten by your ferret (or dog), so it’s absolutely essential that if you suspect your ferret of having eaten any of the above items that you get it to the vet as quickly as possible.
NEVER use human toothpaste to brush your ferret’s teeth! Only use toothpaste suitable for pets and make sure you keep any of the above products out of your ferret’s reach.
Sugar-free chewing gum and candy are normally the most common item which get chewed up by ferrets so if you have them, please make doubly sure that these items are kept somewhere safe and out of reach of ferrets or any other pet in your house.
You can read more about Xylitol Toxicity & Ferrets on the following sites…
The Danger of Xylitol to Your Dog and Ferret (Animal Medical Center)
Did You Know That Xylitol Sweetener Can Be Very Dangerous To Your Pet? by Ron Hines DVM PhD
Common Sugar Substitute Xylitol Can Be Deadly for Pets by Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM (The Spruce Pets)
Food around your house
Raisins & Grapes
Who’d have thought! Raisins have been touted as treats for ferrets in the past and now they find out they could cause kidney problems if given to them regularly! They’re full of sugar, high in fiber and could even get stuck in a ferret’s gut if not digested properly ?
Grapes can also cause kidney problems if given regularly so please don’t give them to your ferrets as treats ?
Although this pdf is about dogs, you can see how dangerous raisins are, and what doses could kill a dog.
You can download the pdf HERE.
Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to most animals. Please don’t give your ferret any chocolate or leave it anywhere where it can be stolen by your ferret.
Why Is Chocolate Poisonous to Ferrets by Gary Brummett, DVM
Did you know that avocados have a substance called persin which was considered to be toxic to most animals?
HOWEVER … a vet, Dr Jean Dodds, DVM, says that “persin does not adversely affect dogs and cats” and, I assume, ferrets too? Another vet, Dr Tina Wismer, the ASPCA Senior Director of Veterinary Outreach and Education, says, “In dogs, cats and ferrets there are no reliable reports of [avocado] poisoning.”
You can read more about avocados and pets in this article.
The ads in Oz say “‘Ave an avo” and I know they’re great for humans but I personally would be wary about giving it to my ferrets to chow down on so would suggest you don’t either, just in case …!
If your ferret should accidentally get into a packet of aspirin and actually chews up and swallows some of the pills then there is a real danger it could develop aspirin toxicity, which could cause gastrointestinal problems, as well as bleeding disorders, kidney failure, respiratory difficulties or neurological problems.
Some symptoms to watch out for are:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Black poop
- Extreme thirst
- Spontaneous bleeding
- Pinpoint bruises in the skin and on the gums
If you think that your ferret has accidentally eaten some aspirins, try to work out how many pills it might have eaten and get it to the vet as soon as possible for treatment.
You can read more about Aspirin Toxicity & Ferrets on the following site …
Aspirin Toxicity in Ferrets (PetPlace)
Ibuprofen / Naproxen Toxicity
Like with the aspirin, it is possible that your ferret might accidentally get into a box of anti-inflammatories and chew up some pills. That could cause bleeding stomach ulcers and even kidney failure, if the dose is high enough. This can be fatal if not treated.
Symptoms can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Poor appetite
- Black tarry stools
- Vomiting (including vomiting blood)
If you see that your ferret has been chewing on anti-inflammatory pills, take it to the vet immediately for treatment.
You can read more about Ibuprofen Toxicity & Ferrets on the following sites …
Toxciology Brief: Ibuprofen toxicosis in dogs, cats, and ferrets by Eric K Dunayer, MS, VMD, DABT, DABVT
Some Plants Toxic to Pets
|Crown of Thorns
|Lily of the Valley
You can download a list of poisonous plants to animals prepared by the Humane Society of the US HERE.
Toxic Items Found In The House
|Bait (Snail / Roach)
|Fuel (Gas / Oil / Kerosene)
|Varnish / Paint Removers
**N.B.** Please ask your vet to give you guidelines to follow if your ferret ingests a poisonous plant or has managed to swallow one of the items listed above because you need to know when to induce vomiting, and when not to.
You can read more about things around the house which are toxic to ferrets and what to look out for on the following sites…
Common Household Items that are Hazardous to Ferrets (Pets4Homes)
You can download a pdf written by Sharon Vanderlip, DVM, called “How To Prevent Poisoning In Ferrets” HERE.
There’s another pdf – produced by the American Ferret Association – called “Common Household Poisons & Dangers for Ferrets“, which you can download HERE.
Christmas is a great time for all but do be careful with tinsel and your ferret. Although the page about tinsel refers to dogs and cats, I’m sure it would be really dangerous for a ferret if it were to chew and swallow some!
Tinsel is dangerous to cats and dogs (Pet Poison Helpline)
(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.