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Ferrets, mischievous, playful, and undeniably adorable, ferrets have been by our sides, playing and working, for nearly 2,500 years. A lot of ferret parents find that their combination of smarts, personality, and curiosity make ferrets ideal candidates for leash and harness training.
Commonly misidentified as a rodent, the domestic ferret is part of the Mustelidae family. This family includes weasels, minks, otters, martens, polecats, even wolverines, and badgers! Curious and intelligent, ferrets have become increasingly popular exotic pets across the globe.
Being incredibly high energy and playful, ferrets have a demanding need for intellectual stimulation and plenty of exercises. A fun way that this need can be met is by taking your pet ferret outside and about for a walk, just like you would a dog! With more and more ferrets being kept as pets, ferret owners are joyously finding more and better options of specialized equipment to help them care for their furry darlings.
Can You Walk A Ferret?
In short, absolutely yes!
Why Use A Ferret Harness?
A harness is an essential piece of equipment when it comes to safely leash training and walking ferrets.
Leash and harness training can be very beneficial even if your ferret is an indoors only pet. Putting a leash directly onto a collar of a ferret is both dangerous and ineffective. A ferret can easily be strangled or choked by pulling against a collar. With patience, persistence, and the right equipment, most ferrets can learn how to walk on a leash with ease. Ferrets are curious and energetic, and will likely benefit from the exercise and fun they get from walking around with you. This slippery nature remains a feature of our modern ferret friends.
In the wild, a ferret’s narrow, the tube-shaped body makes them ideal hunters of rats, rabbits, and other below-ground dwelling prey. Ferrets can negotiate narrow and tightly constricted spaces with agility and ease.
The risk of fleas, ticks, animal attacks, injury, and other diseases is higher in the U.S. than in other places, but don’t worry. Plenty of ferret owners aren’t keen to take their ferret outside. If you need to travel with your ferret or enjoy taking them to visit friends, being properly leash trained is a serious bonus to keeping your ferret safe. While this makes them mischievous and fun, it also means they are master escape artists. hey also tend to be very efficient at slipping out of collars entirely!
Many ferret parents find it tempting to try using a harness not designed for a ferret. Give your ferret time to become used to a new harness. Introduce the harness early to get your pet comfortable with it as quickly as possible.
Other tiny animal harnesses can be found that have been made for hamsters, gerbils, and even lizards. A lot of these harnesses are a simple figure-8 rope or strap and are not a good choice for ferrets. Simply put, the safest and most effective way to leash train a ferret is with a quality body harness.
There is a balance between tight enough the ferret can not slip out of it, but not so tight a ferret is unable to walk or move comfortably.
Best Ferret Harness and Leash
Because ferrets are still considered exotic, and somewhat rare pets, it can be hard to find ferret friendly equipment.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian if you have any worries about the safety of a harness. We’ve found leashes and harnesses that have been designed and made specifically with ferrets in mind.
While the H harness is considered one of the best choices, it may not always work for every individual ferret. There are plenty of variations and other styles that may be a better choice for you and your ferret’s needs. Being slippery little escape artists, you will need to take the time to make sure a harness fits your ferret correctly before taking them outside. If your ferret is a particularly hard puller, be cautious that the harness doesn’t restrict breathing. Ferrets have a reputation for pulling on their leashes. If the leash attachment is too close to their throats, they can accidentally strangle themselves! An H harness will have an additional strap that connects to the loops and runs along your ferret’s spine. Some H harness models have a fourth strap that runs along their belly as well.
How to Put A Harness on a Ferret
How a harness is placed on your ferret will be different depending on what style of harness you choose to use.
Some manufacturers don’t place the leash ring at the waist strap but in the middle of the spine strap.
With your ferret’s safety and comfort in mind, we have scoured the internet looking for the best ferret harnesses.
Let your ferret romp and play indoors so you have plenty of time to make appropriate adjustments before venturing outside.
Small dog or cat harnesses may fit, but they are not constructed with a ferret’s anatomy in mind. When worn by a ferret, dog and cat harnesses and may not be entirely comfortable or safe.
When viewed from above, an H harness looks like a capital letter H.
You can find these kinds of harnesses in different materials, including leather ferret harnesses.
What is the Best Ferret Harness?
Most experienced ferret veterinarians and owners will recommend the “H” style harness as the safest and most reliable. A hamster or gerbil is much lighter than an adult ferret, and the harnesses made for them are less durable. An iguana is much less likely to slip out of a harness than a ferret, so their harnesses are less secure. Follow the instructions that come with any individual harness. Make sure that the D-ring or loop where the leash attaches to the harness is located on the “waist” portion of the harness. They are also great for smaller ferrets, multi-ferret households, and harness training baby ferrets. This product is a great example of a classic H style harness with the additional security of a spine and belly strap.
Marshall Pet Products – Ferret Harness and Lead. This harness and lead combination set from Marshall Pet Products comes in a variety of colors.
Best Ferret Vest Harness.
A vest style harness is another good option for many ferret owners, especially if your ferret isn’t concerned with escaping. Affordable and produced by a large and long-time reliable brand, this harness style has worked well for many happy pet owners. The four-foot leash is designed for small pets like rabbits, ferrets, and rats. The extra belly strap makes this a good choice if your ferret is especially wiggly and can squiggle out of other harness styles. It may be one of your best pink ferret harness options! Being light and durable, it is good for year-round use. It’s great for outdoor and indoor play, walking, exploring or jogging.
Designed primarily for the anatomy of ferrets, it is one of the best safe and reliable ferret harnesses available.
Kaytee Comfort Harness & Stretchy Leash. If the vest style harnesses are what works best for you and your ferret, this product from Kaytee is well worth a look. Fully adjustable, this harness comes with easy snap buttons for a quick on and off routine. More comfortable and easier to take on and off, vest style harnesses can be made of foam, fleece, or even nylon mesh.
PerSuper– 2 Pack Pet Harness As a high-quality nylon harness with a nice, soft texture, this product is ideal for ferrets.
The smallest option for this flexible harness will fit a 5 ″ to 7 ″ necks, and a 7 ″ to 9 ″ waists.
We’ve looked for some of the best vest-style harnesses for ferrets. Take a look!
Marshall Pet Products– Ferret Harness and Lead. This harness and lead combination set from Marshall Pet Products comes in a variety of colors.
13 Fishing– Living World Harness/Lead Set. This sturdy mesh style vest harness has adjustable velcro strapping over the neck and tummy for a comfortable but snug fit.
Safe and comfortable, this harness and lead are constructed of durable, high-quality nylon mesh and strapping.
Breathable and light, it will keep your ferret secure without overheating.
Choosing the Right Ferret Harness– Summary
Walking your ferret on a leash and harness can be a fantastic way to release energy, get healthy exercise, and bond with your ferret. Even with a good quality harness, a ferret should never be left unsupervised when out walking. The more secure H-style harness is a wonderful choice if your ferret is particularly prone to wiggling out of a harness. However, if your ferret is particularly small or isn’t interested in slipping away, a more comfortable vest style harness is a good bet.
Fully adjustable, it can easily fit ferrets of all sizes for a secure and effortless experience.
Always test a new harness indoors first where you have the time to adjust the harness to properly fit your ferret. A harness should fit snugly without constricting regular movement and walking. The easy on and off design uses Velcro and clips to help make sure the vest stays on and comfortably snug at all times. Choosing the best ferret harness comes down to your ferret and their needs.
Ware Manufacturing– Nylon Walk-N-Vest Pet Harness and Leash. This vest-style harness comes in a variety of sizes. Make sure to measure your ferret before any purchases to be sure you are getting the right size. Harness training can be a wonderful and fulfilling way to safely take your ferret with you for travel or play. The mesh style makes it a great choice for all seasons and weather. If you are looking for a baby ferret harness, take a look at the smallest size. This can fit an impressive 4 inches to 6 inches around the neck, and 8 inches to 10 inches around the body. The medium size is good for smaller adults, while the large can handle your biggest ferret with ease.