One of the best ways to socialize our children and teach them empathy is to make sure they have a happy childhood. Kids who grow up with pets tend to be a bit gentler later on in life. However, some species may need extra supervision if there are younger generations nearby. Are ferrets good pets for children? It truly depends on whether you’re ready to keep a close eye on them.
Now, we all know that ferrets are rather cuddly and soft, so children will like them right off the bat. Unfortunately, their characters may not be a good match, especially if the children are way too small to know animals can feel pain and discomfort, just like them.
Does that mean you should give up on this idea entirely? Not at all. As you’ll see, there are ways to ensure kids and ferrets live in complete harmony!
Are Ferrets Good Pets for Children? — Why Get One Today
They’re Super Playful and Will Keep Kids Entertained
One of the best parts about having a ferret is that children absolutely love playing with them. We could say that a ferret is a fun-sized cat that’s small enough for even younger generations to handle. What’s more, they actually don’t have a problem with anyone touching them.
You see, ferrets don’t truly recognize the idea of personal space, so they will try to touch you and won’t mind anyone cuddling them. Since kids love poking, stroking, and petting pets, a ferret may become their new best friend.
On top of that, ferrets are funny and cute on their own. They’re always ready to mess around and play, so they’ll run around your home, constantly making your kids giggle. They also love playing with a cat and ferret toys, so children will be able to engage them and spend hours on end playing without getting bored.
They Don’t Require a Huge Commitment
If we have kids and would like them to grow up with a pet, a ferret is a good, simple-to-take-care-of option.
For one, it’s easy to find food for ferrets, so we won’t have to worry about cooking special dishes for them. Additionally, these little critters are great as both house and apartment pets. They can be litter-trained to avoid having to clean up after them. At the same time, they don’t mind spending a bunch of time alone in their cages. In fact, if you let them be, they’ll sleep the day away!
In other words, ferrets don’t require much care overall, so we won’t feel as if we’ve added another child to the household. Of course, they need monthly baths, dental care, and nail trimming. But other than that, they’re pretty much hassle-free pets; we don’t even have to take them out for a walk every day!
But It’s Not All Fun and Games: What Could Go Wrong?
Are ferrets good pets for children? From what we’ve gathered, you could say that. However, when it comes to small children, such as toddlers, it definitely isn’t all fun and games. Ferrets could easily harm children if they’re not supervised. Likewise, kids could accidentally hurt or kill the fuzzies!
For example, a child could step on the ferret while they are learning to walk. The toddler is already pretty unstable on their feet, so they won’t be able to move out of the way in time. The ferret may not notice the toddler approaching them, so it may not run away before they collide. If the child steps on the ferret, they could easily crush its spine, which could lead to death.
On the other hand, ferrets could also harm children. That often happens due to children not knowing how to hold them properly. To make sure it doesn’t bite us, we need to hold the ferret against our body to make it feel safe. At the same time, our hands should be underneath its belly and supporting its hind legs.
As you can imagine, children, especially smaller ones, aren’t used to holding anything like that, let alone able to concentrate enough on it. Thus, if the ferret is a bit uncomfortable, it may try to get away by biting. Human skin is too thin for this, so it’s easy for its teeth to punch through it.
Are Ferrets Good Pets for Children? Not If They’re Anxious!
Another thing parents ought to keep in mind is that ferrets are somewhat gentle creatures, and they aren’t used to high-pitched noise. Since children often squeal and can make a racket, this may scare a ferret and put it under too much stress. In that case, it’s not uncommon for it to exhibit aggressive behavior and try to bite to getaway. It’s simply afraid of what may happen to it — that is its fight-or-flight response.
Because of all of this, it’s usually recommended not to get a ferret if we have small children. It’s best to wait for them to grow up a bit so that we can teach them about responsibility and how to hold and take care of the animal.
In the end, a ferret could be a great addition to your family. However, certain safety measures apply, no matter how old the kids are.
Are Ferrets Good Pets for Children? Yes — But You Have to Supervise
Avoid Letting the Ferret Near a Baby
Contrary to popular belief, ferrets aren’t mean at all, and in most cases, they don’t want to harm humans. However, since they love rough play with other members of their species or even other animals, they may nip and bite, especially if they’re quite young.
Therefore, we ought to keep them away from babies for everyone’s safety. The baby could also harm the ferret by yanking on its tail or being too rough while petting it. The animal could, of course, pierce the skin with its teeth and cause pain. It might also transfer germs and make children sick.
Supervision Is Key
As mentioned, in case the child isn’t holding the ferret properly, it may try to flee by nipping or biting. Again, that doesn’t mean the animal wants to cause harm intentionally — it simply isn’t comfortable.
If the ferret is under ten months old, it may bite harder since it doesn’t know that the child isn’t trying to harm it. So the best course of action is to monitor every interaction at all times. A variety of problems could spring up when children come into contact with ferrets. From rough play and biting to accidentally squishing the animal, all of this could be prevented with proper supervision.
In case we cannot monitor the interactions, it’s best to keep the animal in a cage and make sure the child doesn’t go near it. They may be able to unlock it!
Consider Ferret-Proofing a Separate Room
Finally, if the children are way too small to be in constant contact with the ferret, if it’s possible, we ought to ferret-proof a separate room and let the animal use it for exercise and playtime.
Most ferrets need about three hours per day to let off steam, but if we’re unable to monitor their behavior during that time, they could harm the kids and vice versa. Because of that, having a separate room they can call their own is a fantastic way of keeping them content.
Once the children grow up a bit and learn how to behave around the animal, we could move it to another part of the house. In the meantime, it can have its own room and truly enjoy its life.
Are ferrets good pets for children? As we said, it all depends on how you approach the situation. Most experts agree that small children shouldn’t be allowed to have much contact with these animals. They could harm each other in the blink of an eye!
However, if our kids are older, and we explain how to handle the animal, a ferret could become a valuable addition to our family. Cuddly and soft, not to mention intelligent and devoted, it could bring the warmth our household needs and make the following decade or so truly exciting.