Ferrets can adapt to many circumstances, but heat and high humidity are not among them. As the temperatures rise, ferret owners must take precautions to ensure their pets are safe and comfortable. Ferrets should NOT be kept in temperatures over 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit; lower temperatures (60's and 70's) are much better.
Keeping your home at a ferret-safe temperature is easy if you have air conditioning. Remember that you need to maintain that safe temperature in the ferret room even when you are not at home. Make sure the air conditioner is not blowing cold air directly on the ferret cage and that the ferrets have blankets in case they feel too cold. Always give your ferrets plenty of fresh water and shade. Keep your ferret cage out of direct sunlight from windows or skylights.
Window or ceiling fans can help keep cooler air circulating into your home, but may not be sufficient in areas where humidity is high and/or temperatures routinely reach over 80 degrees. Again, be sure the ferrets are not in the direct line of the breeze. Also make sure your ferrets cannot access the fan and that any device you put in your window is secure (to prevent escapes).
Another way to keep ferrets cool is to make small blocks of ice, wrap them in absorbent towels (avoid plastic bags, especially if any of your ferrets like to chew on plastic), and place them in the ferrets' cage, or carrier if you are traveling. Make sure the ferrets have plenty of room to move away from the ice block if they get too cool.
If your ferrets like to get wet (many don't), you can let them splash around in a plastic tub or bathtub filled with a small amount of cool (not cold) water. Always supervise your ferrets in the water.
Don't leave your ferret in a car in hot weather. Inside a car can reach deadly temperatures in a matter of minutes - even with the windows open. If you can't bring ferrets inside (store, office, friend's home, restaurant), leave them at home.
Signs of Heatstroke in a Ferret
If you suspect your ferret is suffering from heatstroke, get him out of the heat immediately. Put cool (not cold) water on the ferret's paws to help cool him off. You can also place a cool wet cloth on the ferret's head. Do not dip the ferret in cold water, as this will cool him too quickly and cause him to go into shock. Give him water or electrolyte replacer (e.g., Pedialyte, Kao-Lectrolyte) if he is conscious. Do not try to give water to an unconscious ferret. You may have to hand-feed him the water or use a feeding syringe. Heatstroke may also deplete sugar levels, so a sugar source such as Nutrical, Karo Syrup (corn syrup), or maple syrup can be given to help restore sugar levels. Even if your ferret responds to this treatment, you should still have your veterinarian check him to make sure he is not dehydrated. He might still need to have subcutaneous fluids (injected under the skin) to regain hydration.
If your ferret is unconscious do not try to force water or electrolyte replacer into him; instead, wet his paws with cool water while on the way to the veterinarian.