Expert opinions are divided on whether or not it is okay to have ferrets as pets for kids. Some groups support the idea that ferrets can be good pets for kids while other groups would not recommend having ferrets around with kids particularly the younger ones. Both opinions are valid and that there are some important points behind it that you may want to consider before having ferrets around with kids or vice versa.
Ferrets and children are similar in nature as both are playful, active, and curious little creatures that need training and guidance. Having a child and a ferret to get along well requires serious efforts and very watchful eyes to make sure that things go well between them. Children from different age brackets would respond differently when being around with ferrets.
Also read: How do ferrets show affection
Ferrets as Pets for Older Kids
Children from 7 years old and above are most likely to learn easily how to properly care for ferrets. Older kids are more careful and obedient which is why instructing them on the do’s and don’ts of handling a ferret is easier. This age bracket already understands how some animals behave and how fragile some animals can be. They are the ones who will just enjoy watching the ferrets move around and do silly stuff.
When these children ask to pet a ferret, you can tell them to stroke the ferret’s fur gently with their fingers. You can instruct them how to properly hold and carry a ferret with their other hand supporting the lower body or the hind legs while the other hand on the upper body and pressing their chest to the ferrets. Tell the child that ferrets normally nip and can be wiggly when handled so it is important they do not panic or get scared so they won’t drop the ferret.
Ferret and Younger Kids
Having ferrets as pets for younger kids aged 4-6 years old requires careful thinking. This is because at this age, they can still be unruly like they were in their toddler years. We understand that this is the best age to teach kids some responsibility training, however, ferrets is not the best pet for them to own at this stage. Puppies are okay but these animals are like ferrets too in terms of playfulness and curiosity.
Also read: do ferrets and cats get along?
To teach some responsibilities, the perfect first pets for children at this age would be the ones that don’t require much handling and those that aren’t too fragile. Fish for example is a good first pet as you will only need to teach children how to feed them or change their water. Birds are also excellent pets, but don’t allow your child to handle them because children at this stage have no proper grip control and can squish a pet if handled without guidance.
Ferrets and Toddlers
This is a big no-no as ferrets probably wouldn’t go along well with toddlers. In fact, children at this age shouldn’t own a pet for themselves yet because they will not yet understand what being responsible is about. It is better to wait for couple years or more before getting them any kind of pet.
Getting a ferret and a toddler to play together could pose danger to both the child and the animal. Ferrets are constant nippers and biters and this is how they play that is why your child can get hurt seriously and cry. Ferrets get bothered with loud noise and if a child cries or scream, it could put some stress on the ferret.
Never leave them unattended as there are cases where a child can hurt a ferret or sit upon and crush the animal. If you already have a ferret at home, it is important that you are always physically present to monitor both your child and pet so that both are safe.
Ferrets and Babies
If you are considering acquiring or adopting a ferret but you will have a new baby arriving, we recommend that you postpone your ferret plans. This is because of the safety reasons for your human baby. Babies are so fragile and soft, they require gentle approach and we know how much ferrets like to nip and bite so having them near a baby spells trouble.
If you already have a ferret before the baby, it is necessary to keep your ferret off limits to where the baby is. If necessary, make your baby’s room safe from ferrets to enter. The ferret may need to adjust first because there would be constant noise that will make your ferret go anxious. Also, your ferret may have to get used to the new human in the house. It is also possible that your ferret will “get jealous” with the attention you are giving to the baby that is why you have to make a “ferret and me” time until your ferret could adjust.
Ferrets make excellent pets because they are not just silly little creatures that delight your heart with fun and laughter, but they are also loyal, smart, and loving companions. Just like other animals, there is no reason why they cannot go well along with kids. We just have to take some necessary precautions before we allow having ferrets as pets for kids.