Are Ferrets Hypoallergenic? My Experience Owning Ferrets
My Mission for a Hypoallergenic Pet
When I got married thirteen years ago, I married a man that is allergic to dust, every tree on the planet, and anything with fur.
I decided to go on a mission to see if I could find an animal that would be good for apartment living. I love animals, and so does he. We both wanted to find a small animal that he would do well with. I came up with a ferret.
Prior to meeting my husband, I dated someone who had ferrets. They are not as good as a dog, but they were fun and cute to watch run around. When they tired out, they would climb on your lap and fall asleep. So this is why I came up with learning more about ferrets.
What I found was encouraging. Ferrets don't have fur—they have hair like us. The information stated they are hypoallergenic. Yeah! We could have a fuzzy or two. I took this information to my husband. He thought it was worth a shot.
Our First Two Ferrets
Great success! My husband had no problems with them.
So off we went to the pet store and got the cage, bedding, feeding dishes, litter pan, litter, and food. We went home to set it all up before getting the fuzz balls to bring home. Then we went back to the pet store and got our two little ferrets.
There are a variety of colors and markings for ferrets. There are panda-marked ferrets, sables with very dark brown fur, chocolate . . . well you get the idea. We ended up with a panda and a sable. My husband did fine with these ferrets for about five years.
Of course, I was the only one to clean the cage and bathe them so the ferrets wouldn't be too much in his face. He also was always sure to wash his hands after handling them. I cleaned the cage weekly top to bottom and also cleaned the litter each day.
When these little guys passed onto greener pastures, we didn't get another ferret for a few years.
Our Third and Fourth Ferrets
Mixed reviews—my husband had problems with one but not the other.
When we had our son we wanted him to have a pet. So when he was about three we got him a gray and white ferret. Well, it was awful for my husband and he landed in the hospital that night with an asthma attack.
Needless to say, the next day the ferret went back to the store and Petco was fantastic about taking him back and giving us a full refund. They felt awful about my husband's trip to the ER.
I think there is a difference between the color of the ferret's hair. The ferret with the lighter hair was softer. The darker ferret's hair was coarse. I have a feeling the softer hair is what did my husband in. But who really knows for sure?
About five years ago we decided to try the ferret thing again. This time we got a sable ferret—little Rascal. My husband does have some sensitivity to Rascal but it is manageable.
Here's what I do to keep my husband ok with her. With this, we can all enjoy having a pet in the home.
- I clean the cage with bleach twice a week. It sounds like a lot, but it only takes about twenty minutes to do. I also change the bedding at this time.
- I don't use bleach on her food and water dishes, just soap and water for those.
- Once a month, I break the cage down and wash it with soap and water to get all the fur and dust off it. This again sounds like a bit, but it only takes about thirty minutes.
The ferret cages on the market are easy to break down and clean. You can get them used, or of course in the pet stores. Also, you can construct your own. I have friends that just did a wood frame with chicken wire.
I like the store cages because they are easier to clean where they are plastic, and the ferrets are less likely to get cut on them. They climb the cages, and the chicken wire is thin, which cuts the pads on the ferret's feet.
My husband doesn't handle her a lot. When he does, he makes a point not to touch his face. Once done with handling Rascal, he washes his hands. By taking these steps, he does do fine with her, and it is nice for our son to have a pet to care for.
So Are Ferrets Hypoallergenic?
Again my husband does well with the darker ferrets. I do have friends with allergies, and they have no problem with their ferrets as long as they keep the cage clean and wash up after handling them. I guess with lots of things in life it depends on the individual.
Tips for Saving Money Owning a Ferret
Here are some cost-saving tips if you decide a ferret might fit with your lifestyle.
- Ferrets can eat a high-grade kitten or cat food. It is cheaper then ferret food and healthy for them. I get Newman's own cat food.
- They do sell bedding for ferrets. We did get a couple of the ferret hammocks. Ferrets like to sleep up high. When one is in the wash, we have a backup.
- For her bedding, we just use old sheets, blankets, sweatshirts, and t-shirts. If there are buttons, I cut those off so Rascal doesn't chew and swallow them.
- We did purchase a litter pan. You do want a ferret litter pan. Ferrets do their business in corners. They have litter pans with three high sides and one low. The low so they can get in easily and the high so the business doesn't spill out.
- As for the litter, again they make ferret litter, but it's expensive. I get the $1.99 kitty litter and Rascal does just fine with it.
- The feed and water dishes need to be attached to the cage, or the ferret will just knock them over. They are not really big money.
I hope these tips help. Enjoy your ferrets! They are crazy fun little pets to have around.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
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© 2013 Alison