We all know that canines aren’t that particular when it comes to their food. Why, if it were up to them, they’d spend the whole day rummaging through a trash can and picking up all the “delicacies” humans tend to throw away. Yet, that could pose a huge threat to their health, especially if they start eating things like feces. So today, we’ll answer a question most owners are worried about — is ferret poop toxic for dogs?
Why ferret poop specifically, you may ask? Well, in recent years, ferrets have become incredibly sought-after pets. They get along well with other animals and children (in most cases), don’t require much care, and are generally quite fun to be around. As such, some dog owners may be looking into expanding their households. Since ferrets aren’t as needy as some other species, they could be an excellent choice!
The problem is — dogs absolutely love treating themselves to some poop from time to time. Unfortunately, that could easily put them in grave danger!
Is Ferret Poop Toxic for Dogs? — How Your Canine Can Get Sick
If our ferret is quite healthy and there aren’t any symptoms of any disease we should be worried about, its poop probably won’t do anything to our dog. However, since eating feces is downright disgusting and could be dangerous in some cases, it’s best to prevent the behavior before it becomes an issue.
If it happens that our dog eats our ferret’s poop, we ought to keep an eye on it and get it checked by the vet if needed. There are three types of bacteria that could seriously harm it!
Is Ferret Poop Toxic for Dogs? — The Three Most Common Offenders
If our dog eats ferret poop that contains campylobacter, it could get a disease called campylobacteriosis. More often than not, puppies up to six months of age are susceptible to contracting this bacterial infection.
Now, what’s important to remember is that various animal species could be the carriers of this bacteria. Ferrets could contract the disease by fiddling with the feces of other pets. At the same time, they could spread it further and onto our dog if the canine in question decides to eat ferret poop or food and drink its water.
The younger the dog is, the greater the chance of it contracting this disease. Since puppies don’t have particularly strong immune systems, they won’t be able to fight the bacteria.
- Vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite
- Fever and enlarged lymph nodes
- Difficulty pooping
To diagnose the disease, the vet will look for leukocytes in the dog’s stool. They may also do some urine and blood tests.
The good news is that if the symptoms are mild, the dog can be treated at home with the medications the vet prescribes. However, if its condition worsens, it may need close monitoring. This disease makes dogs quite dehydrated, so they may require fluid therapy treatment. In some cases, plasma transfusion and antibiotics are necessary as well.
Is ferret poop toxic for dogs and potentially even lethal? In the case of giardiasis, it very well could be!
Now, to get infected with giardia, a dog doesn’t necessarily have to eat ferret poop. It’s even easier to contract giardiasis than the previous disease, as the bacteria could be found in soil, water, and food. When laced with some infected poop, all of these could get a dog sick.
Unlike regular bacteria, giardia is actually a protozoan parasite that is quite infamous among world travelers. Its main symptom is the so-called “traveler’s diarrhea.” Others include vomiting, weight loss, a lackluster coat, dehydration, and lethargy.
The worst part about giardia is that the disease it causes, giardiasis, is somewhat undetectable at first. In some cases, the bacteria may end up in the dog’s intestines but fail to produce any symptoms. The pup can then spread the bacteria onto other animals. Diagnosing it is also a bit tricky, as there is only about 70% chance of detecting giardia in a fecal sample.
In extreme cases, giardiasis could lead to death as the severity of the symptoms may break the dog’s spirit and worsen its condition. Because of that, it’s vital to get regular checkups, especially if we have puppies, senior dogs, or canines with weak immune systems.
To get rid of the disease, the vet will most likely prescribe some medications. However, once the treatment is complete, it’s necessary to remove any traces of giardia. That means the dog will need a bath to eliminate any giardia cysts from its coat. Our whole house will likely need to be thoroughly disinfected as well.
Finally, there’s salmonella — a type of bacteria ferrets can ingest through drinking unpasteurized milk or eating some raw or undercooked meat. Dogs can, consequently, become infected if they decide to feast on some ferret poop or the critter’s above-mentioned treats.
Salmonella causes salmonellosis and can be transferred between species. Even birds and reptiles can get it! However, in general, it’s not that common among ferrets. If the animal does have the disease, it may exhibit various symptoms, including diarrhea, anemia, and conjunctivitis.
Dogs who ingest poop containing salmonella may or may not develop any symptoms. Those who don’t can still transmit the infection onto others. If they do show any signs, they’ll become evident within 72 hours.
- Depression and lethargy
- Fever, vomiting, and acute diarrhea
- Loss of appetite and dehydration
- Skin issues and swollen lymph nodes
Dogs who contract salmonellosis may also go into shock, and if the canine is pregnant, it may miscarry. Because of that, it’s vital to get the animal to the vet as soon as possible. In some cases, the disease could worsen, leading to sepsis or gastroenteritis.
Just like in the case of giardiasis, salmonella, albeit not that common, can occur in senior dogs and puppies, as well as in dogs with compromised immune systems. Another risk factor includes antibiotics, which disrupt the balance of healthy gut bacteria.
In severe cases, treatment may include hospitalization, plasma or blood transfusion, and steroids to ensure the dog doesn’t go into shock. However, these are quite rare, so we shouldn’t worry about them so much. More often than not, dogs are perfectly capable of fighting salmonellosis on their own. We do have to take care of them in the meantime and make sure they always have fresh water (they’ll be dehydrated).
So, is ferret poop toxic for dogs, or is it only nuisance pet owners have blown out of proportion? As it turns out, it could be if the animal gets sick and transfers some bacteria through its poop.
Now, if our ferret goes in for regular checkups, and the dog doesn’t suffer from coprophagia, it’s unlikely the canine will catch any of these bacteria. However, the ferret could get infected by coming into contact with other animals’ feces, water, etc. Because of that, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the consequences and to track the symptoms. You never know how severe the condition could get!
In the end, though ferret poop can be toxic for dogs, that doesn’t mean these two animals cannot live together in peace. If you’re ready to take care of them properly and ensure their health is in top-notch condition, you can rest easy knowing these bacteria are unlikely to find a way into your pets’ systems!
Our Ferret Guide
My son Bobby and I have kept and bred ferrets for all of our adult’s lives. You can find out about us here.
A lot of people involved with us suggested that we put together a guide on ferret keeping.
We looked into this and they were right, there wasn’t a good guide available. So we wrote one.
It doesn’t matter if you are experienced or new to ferret keeping it is something every ferret owner/keeper should have,