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A Pet Stroller Danger

By John Bradley

A Pet Stroller Danger - By John Bradley

I recently received an e-mail from a ferret owner describing a tragic incident regarding a stroller that was designed for pets. An unfortunate choice in materials makes it potentially dangerous for ferrets.

Here’s the letter…

I spoil my babies. Nothing is too good for them. Their house could easily hold 20-30 ferrets, it holds 3. They have their own toys, harnesses, name tags. They see the vet when they so much as sneeze. They get fed 4-5 different foods as well as raw… nothing is too good for them.

In fact I even bought them their own stroller. This is what I am writing about. I bought the Four Paws Fresh Air Pet Stroller, but after checking pet stroller after pet stroller I notice no matter what the brand, they are all the same.

I took my ferrets for a walk one day and when I came home I let the stroller sit were they could get to it, not aware of the possible danger. Not long… sadly not long turned out to be too long. My beloved Loki ate some of the foam on the handle bars (put there for my comfort while I push the stroller). At the time I did not notice what he was up to. A while later when he started acting sick, I rushed him to the vets were he underwent emergency surgery to remove the foam from the stroller handle. He came home that day from the vets and seemed to be doing well. That was until the next day just after noon. He then suddenly took a turn for the worse and by 5 o’clock that day had died.

It turns out the blockage caused a blood clot which was not seen during the surgery. Later the clot moved to the heart and killed my ferret. Please warn other ferret owners. These strollers are wonderful, but take off the foam padding on the handle to prevent a potential tragedy. I still see my baby struggling for life in his last few moments. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.

– Kathy

I first want to thank Kathy taking the time and likely saving the lives of other ferrets by letting us know her ferret’s story. It really drives home that we need to be extra careful when ferret proofing. Foam rubber, while highly attractive to ferrets, needs to be kept out of reach and in no way accessible to our ferrets.

Ferret proofing is not a one time only exercise. We need to continually check furniture for possible exposed foam (due to wear) and consider if any new items are ferret safe if they are placed in an area where the ferrets may get to them.

After receiving Kathy’s e-mail, I noticed that not only do pet strollers use foam for the handles, this is a common feature for baby strollers as well. Foam can also be found on broom and tool handles and exercise equipment. I’m sure there are other items, but this just points to the fact that ferret owners need to be extra vigilant to help ensure the safety of our pets.

When choosing products for ferrets it is important that foam rubber not be used in any part of the construction of such items. This includes pet strollers and ferret bedding. Ferret bedding, or any other type of animal bedding used for ferrets should never be stuffed with foam. Ferrets are hard on their bedding and frequent washings further take their toll on ferret bedding. Inevitably, the fabric will wear, seams will pop and the foam used for stuffing will be exposed. Because of this foam should never be used. Instead, polyester fiberfill is a much better and safer alternative for making comfortable, yet safe bedding for ferrets.