How to Take a Ferret on an Airplane

Baby ferret in green clothe.
Baby ferret in green clothe. (Image: gjohnstonphoto/iStock/Getty Images)

Ferret caretakers may hate to be separated from their furry friends for any length of time. When the ferret must travel any distance by airplane, his owner can be prepared to transport him in a well-ventilated travel carrier. Most U.S. airlines do not accept ferrets in the passenger cabin, so ferret owners should check with their airline or airport for the appropriate drop-off site and preflight procedures.

Precious Cargo

Though ferrets aren't welcome in the passenger area of the plane, they're often transported in the airplane's pressurized cargo compartments, which are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. Ferrets can be transported in these cargo areas for a fee, where they'll await arrival to their destination. According to the Small Animal Channel, ferrets are not welcome in every state and city, so owners will need to research their destination ahead of time to be sure that their ferret won't cause a commotion once on the ground.

Important Paperwork

Before a ferret takes flight, his owner should make sure all his important papers are in order. A health certificate issued by a veterinarian no more than 10 days before the flight is a requirement by most airlines, according to Illinois-based exotic animal veterinarian Dr. Susan Brown. This certificate verifies the ownership of the ferret as well. Ferret owners can carry their ferret's medical history records just in case they must visit a veterinarian on their trip. The ferret's microchip number and certificate also may come in handy just in case the ferret gets lost.

The Right Carrier

Most ferrets can be comfortable in plastic carriers made for small dogs or cats. The carrier should be latched securely and escape-proof, but large enough that the ferret can eliminate in one corner and have room to sleep in the other. A sleep sack, towel or blanket can keep ferrets cozy in transit, and layers of absorbent paper lining the bottom of the kennel will keep the ferret dry, according to Dr. Brown. A secure food crock and 4-ounce water bottle will keep a ferret's appetite at bay during transit. The kennel must be approved by the airline before the flight. It should be labeled with "live cargo" stickers and tags with the owner's name and phone number.

Boarding the Flight

To minimize the stress of traveling on ferrets, their owners should try to book direct flights. The owner also should contact the airline or airport ahead of time to find out where the ferret can be checked in. Ferret owners should try to keep their pets calm before the flight, according to the American Ferret Association. A panicked ferret can wreak havoc on his surroundings, and while he should be removed from his carrier during its routine X-ray, he should be kept in his carrier the remainder of the time.

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