Are Ferrets Good With Dogs? How To Introduce Them Properly?

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Can you have a ferret and a dog in the same household?

Are ferrets good with dogs?

Dogs are by far the most popular pets in the world so it is natural if you want to have a dog and a ferret in one household. But, before you do that, you have to consider a few facts about those two animals. Here I will show you when and how should you introduce a god and a ferret so you can do it a proper way.

dogs and ferret

Should You Combine Ferrets With Other Pets?

Ferrets love company so you can combine them with other ferrets and other pets. But, not all pets. We all know that ferrets have high hunting instincts so they aren’t a good combination with small animals like rabbits, rodents, even birds, etc. You can read more about this topic in my post Ferrets And Other Pets.

ferret and other pets

Dogs and cats can live with ferrets in the same household, but you have to properly introduce them. Don’t rush with the introduction and make sure both animals are comfortable before you leave them unsupervised. How and what should you do while introducing a cat and a ferret, read in my post about Cats And Ferrets.

Are Ferrets Good With Dogs?

Yes, most ferrets are pretty good with dogs but they aren’t a problem in their relationship. The danger lies in a dog because they are bigger, stronger and can seriously harm a ferret if you aren’t careful. If you have a dog with high hunting instincts you have to be aware that the dog can see a ferret as prey. When a dog sees a ferret, a dog might react in a way a dog would react when he sees prey and that means attacking.

dog ferret eat

That is why it is extremely important to gradually introduce a dog to a ferret. That introduction can last a couple of days to a couple of weeks and even after the introduction you have to be careful and always be by their side to avoid any bad situations.

You have to remember – even if they do get along, never leave them together unsupervised! One bite (it can be unintentional) is enough for serious injury or even death of a ferret.

Good Ferrets And Dogs Combinations

Not every dog and ferret combination is a good one. Here I want to give you a few examples of good combinations, or relatively safe combinations. Later I will share with you a few combinations where you should be extra careful during the introduction.

Puppy And Ferret

A puppy and a ferret is a relatively OK situation because a puppy can’t harm a ferret. But, here you have to keep an eye on the ferret so you can be sure it won’t harm a ferret. Probably the best combination would be to have a puppy and a kit (a young ferret). When two different animals grow up together, they create a bond and they consider each other a part of the family.

Adult Dog And Ferret

Those two animals already know a bit about life so they can live together in harmony. This situation is better if a dog doesn’t have a high prey drive and it is not a part of the hunting dog breeds. That is not a rule, but it is natural that you would have to be more careful around hunting dog breeds due to their instincts.

relax

Bad Ferrets And Dogs Combinations

There are a few situations where you should be extra careful or even avoid them at all costs. I will mention a few of them right here and if you can recognize one of the situations like your own, think hard before introducing a new animal to your household.

Hunting Dog And Ferret

A hunting dog can be a dog breed with hunting instincts, or it can be a dog that hunts mice, birds, squirrels, and other small animals from time to time (even cats). That dog will probably see a ferret as prey too since it is similar in size to a rabbit and smaller than a cat. So, if you have a dog that hunts and chases other animals, I would recommend you to rethink getting a ferret unless you can provide him a safe environment (outdoor enclosure, ferret room, etc).

Old Dog Or Old Ferret

If you have an old pet with health problems or any other issue, think hard if you want to add another pet. In my opinion, it can be stressful to add another pet into your household to an old pet you have at home.

dog and ferret

I am not saying it is impossible, but you have to be extra careful so you don’t add unnecessary stress to the animal you have at home. You can try to introduce them but if you see any negative emotion, I strongly recommend stopping with the introduction.

How Do You Introduce A Ferret To A Dog?

Both pets can live together but their introduction should be slow and gradual. You can’t put a ferret next to a dog and hope they will get along. It is your job to introduce them properly, to encourage good behavior and punish bad. Consider there steps below as guidelines on how to introduce ferrets and dogs the right way and keep an eye on their behavior at all times. Monitor both a dog and a ferret and if you see one of them is growling, hissing, or preparing for any type of attack, stop the introduction.

dog ferret sleep

The First Encounter

Their first encounter should be with a barrier between them. You can use a ferret cage for that since it keeps a ferret contained and safe inside the cage. Put the cage on the floor and let your dog sniff the cage with the ferret inside. It is a good idea to leash your dog during the first few steps of the introduction so you can keep him under control. Ferrets are curious and he will probably get close to the dog to see what is that big furry thing on the other side of the wire.

dof ferret cage

Focus on the dog first, look at his behavior and if you see any sign of aggression, like a low growl, the dog won’t take his eyes off the ferret or any other sign, break the introduction. It can mean your dog sees the ferret as prey and that is something you don’t want. If a dog sniffs the cage and the ferret and is relaxed, you can continue to the next step.

Hold Both Animals

I would recommend asking some family members to help you with the next step. Set a few rules, how is in charge of each animal and what to do if one of them starts acting badly. You can hold the ferret in your hands while the other person can hold the leash of the dog. Don’t hold it too tight so you don’t stress out the dog, but keep the leash close to your body so you can react if it is necessary.

ferret and pup

Now that a ferret is in your hands come closer to the dog so your dog can see that the ferret is a part of the family. At first, stay at a safe distance and if your dog doesn’t show any sign of aggression, come closer. Repeat that a few steps until you are close so your dog can sniff the ferret and vice versa. If everything is ok, keep them in that position for a while.

Provide A Safe Place For A Ferret

Before you put the ferret to the ground, place a toy tunnel or a tube your ferret has on the floor so your ferret can escape to a safe place if something happens. A tunnel is a good idea because it is big enough for the ferret to hide and small enough to prevent the dog from following the ferret.

Provide A Safe Place For A Ferret

Release The Ferret

Now that you have a safe place for a ferret, you can put the ferret to the ground. Don’t let the dog free yet, monitor his behavior when the ferret is running around. If everything seems OK, you can release a part of the leash so your dog can walk around, but don’t set him free yet. Let them interact like that for a while.

ferret dog

Release The Dog

You can remove the leash only if you are 100% sure that your dog won’t do anything to the ferret. It is still a good idea to watch them and what they are doing or how are they behaving. Don’t leave them unsupervised no matter what.

ferret and dog

Can Dogs Play With Ferrets?

Dogs and ferrets can play together and that is a pretty amazing thing to see, especially if you have a big breed dog like a German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, etc.

akita ferrets

But, in that combination, you should teach your dog that ferret is a small animal so he doesn’t accidentally sit, step, or lay on the ferret. You don’t want your big dog to squish a ferret although I am sure the ferret will move out of the way in time (you can never be too certain).

What If My Dog Doesn’t Like My Ferret?

This can happen. If it happens in your household, you don’t have to despair. Simply, adjust your home to them both. That means you have to separate both animals at all times. The best way to do that is to make an enclosure for your ferret and don’t let your dog near it. It can be an outdoor enclosure if you have a backyard or it can be a spare room you have in your home. Make a ferret-safe space so your ferret can roam around without the dog around.

FAQ

Can Dogs And Ferrets Get Along?

If you introduce them properly there is no reason for those two not to get along. Actually, most of the time dogs are the ones who aren’t sure about ferrets, not the other way around. But, the issue with dogs is that only one second can be enough for a ferret to get injured or even worse. So, keeping them under supervision for at least the first few months is a good idea.

slep ferret dog

Will My Dog Kill My Ferret?

There is always a possibility for a dog to kill a ferret because he might see a ferret as prey. But, that is not the rule and it depends on the breed of the dog and the personality of the dog. That is why it is important to monitor their relationship until you are 100% certain nothing can happen.

Are Ferrets Dangerous To Dogs?

Ferrets can’t harm your dog with bites and scratches, especially if you have a big dog breed. But they can irritate your dog because ferrets love to bite legs, tails, ears, and tummy. That is how ferrets communicate and if you want to stop their biting habit, read my post about ferret bite training.

Conclusion

Ferrets and dogs can get along just fine with the proper introduction you can provide for them. It is important for your dog to understand that a ferret is a part of the family, it is not prey and your dog shouldn’t act like it is. You are the leader and you have to make sure they are in good interaction. If you have a cat, you should read my post about ferrets and cats. But, if you have any other pets, then read my post about ferrets and other pets. Don’t forget to share your thoughts with us and subscribe to our newsletter!

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Anja Delic
Anja is a Friendly Ferret owner and a ferret parent who is involved in the ferret world for more than 10 years. She started her Friendly Ferret blog when she got her first ferret Frida 8 years ago. In 2013, Friendly Ferret was recognized as a great source of information and it has become a good ferret brand for education, products, and fun. Since then, Anja was a part in many ferrets shows as a sponsor and as a judge, and she met many great and interesting people who share the same passion as her - ferrets. Anja is always opened for suggestions and advice, so if you have something to ask or say about ferrets, feel free to contact her on Instagram, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter or support@friendlyferret.com