3 Ways to Stop Pet Ferrets from Digging Carpet [Guide]


f you’ve found yourself on this post, chances are you have a ferret that’s developed a fondness for your carpet. Not by sleeping or playing on it, but by digging into it.

You’re likely wondering, “How do I stop my ferrets from digging my carpet?

You’re not alone! Ferrets are naturally burrowing animals and their instinct to dig can sometimes lead them to claw at surfaces like carpets.

It’s part of their ferret behavior, but we understand the need for carpet protection. This post will help you with practical solutions to put an end to this destructive digging.

Quick Answer

The key to stopping your ferrets from digging into your carpet lies in understanding their natural instincts and modifying their behavior.

Here’s a quick rundown on how you can achieve this:

  • Provide Digging Alternatives: Get toys or make a sandbox that your ferrets can dig in. This way, they can satisfy their natural instincts without ruining your carpet.
  • Ferret-proof Your Carpets: Use protective covers or mats to safeguard your carpets.
  • Train Your Ferrets: Use positive reinforcement to train your ferrets to refrain from digging the carpet.

If you’re asking, “Do ferrets destroy carpet?” the answer can be yes if their digging behavior isn’t properly managed. But don’t worry! We’ll delve deeper into each solution in the sections to come.

Understanding Ferrets: Why Do They Dig?

Before we delve into how to stop your ferrets from digging, it’s crucial to understand why they do it in the first place. Understanding the root of the problem can help you tackle it more effectively.

Ferrets are inherently burrowing creatures. In the wild, they live in complex burrow systems known as “warrens.” This is why your ferret naturally has a penchant for digging – it’s in their DNA!

So, when you see your ferret scratching or digging at your carpet, know it expresses its natural behavior. But why on the carpet, you may ask?

Well, the texture of the carpet fibers somewhat resembles the feel of earth and soil, which they would naturally dig into in the wild.

Don’t panic if your ferret is scratching excessively and wonder, “Why won’t my ferret stop scratching?” It’s not a sign of ill health or unhappiness, but rather a manifestation of their natural instinct.

You might also be interested in understanding why ferrets yawn so much, another fascinating aspect of their behavior.

How to Stop Pet Ferrets from Digging Carpets

Here’s the good news: While ferrets’ digging behavior is natural, managing it with some strategic measures is possible. Let’s dive into the solutions that can help you protect your carpets from your ferret’s digging adventures.

Solution 1: Using Ferret-Approved Digging Alternatives

One effective way to deter your ferret from ruining your carpet is by providing them with ferret-approved digging alternatives.

Ferrets love digging in rice (uncooked and not instant), beans, and even specialized pet-safe sand or soil. You can easily make a digging box for your ferret by filling a sturdy plastic box with these materials.

By doing this, you’re giving them a proper place to carry out their natural behavior.

Solution 2: Ferret-Proofing Your Carpets

Sometimes, the simplest solution is the best one. Consider using carpet protection mats or rugs in areas where your ferret loves to dig.

These coverings protect your carpet from your ferret’s claws and can be easily cleaned or replaced if necessary. Another strategy could be restricting your ferret’s access to carpeted rooms and setting up their play area on tiled or hardwood floors.

Solution 3: Training Your Ferret

Last but not least, behavior modification can be a solution to prevent your ferret from digging into your carpets. While training a ferret requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, it can be an effective long-term solution.

When your ferret starts to dig in the carpet, gently say “No,” pick them up, and redirect them to their designated digging box. With time, they can understand that digging is allowed only in certain places.

Preventive Measures: How to Discourage Digging Behavior in Ferrets

Now that we’ve covered the main solutions, let’s discuss some additional measures you can take to discourage your ferret from digging into your carpets.

Prevention is always better than cure, after all!

Plenty of Playtime

Ferrets are highly energetic animals and require much playtime each day. By ensuring your ferret is well exercised, you’ll reduce their desire to burn off excess energy through destructive behaviors like digging.

Plus, more playtime means more bonding time with your furry friend!

Frequent Nail Trimming

Keeping your ferret’s nails well-trimmed can minimize the damage they can cause to your carpets when they do dig. Be careful not to cut into the nail’s quick, though, as this can be painful and cause bleeding.

Regular Rotation of Toys

Ferrets are intelligent creatures who can easily get bored. Regularly introducing new toys can keep your ferret mentally stimulated and reduce their desire to dig out of boredom.

Remember, your ferret’s digging behavior isn’t due to naughtiness or disobedience. They’re simply following their natural instincts. You can manage their digging and protect your carpets with some understanding and preventative action.

Fun Fact: Why ferrets itch so much is their unique skin composition. Ferrets have a high number of sebaceous glands, which produce oils that keep their skin moisturized. However, this abundance of oil can also make them prone to itchiness, as it attracts dirt and debris, leading to more scratching adventures for these playful creatures.

Potential Risks: The Consequences of Unmanaged Digging

We’ve now learned why ferrets dig and how to deter them from destroying your carpets. However, it’s equally important to understand the potential risks associated with unmanaged digging behavior.


While ferrets are naturally burrowing creatures, carpets aren’t designed for digging. Your ferret could hurt its paws or claws by constantly scratching and digging at the hard carpet surface.

Ingestion of Carpet Material

If your ferret’s digging leads to pieces of carpet getting ripped up, there’s a chance your ferret might ingest these pieces. This could lead to dangerous blockages in their digestive system, which might require veterinary intervention.

Damage to Property

This one might be obvious, but it’s worth stating. Unchecked digging behavior can lead to significant damage to your carpets and potentially other household items.


Constant digging without an appropriate outlet (like a digging box) can increase your ferret’s stress and frustration.

Fun Fact: When female ferrets enter heat, they often do a playful hopping dance, arching their backs and flicking their tails to show off their readiness to mate. Additionally, they may release a distinctive musky odor, which is a unique and unmistakable sign that they're in the mood for some ferret romance!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Having a ferret as a pet can sometimes leave you with many questions, especially regarding their digging habits. Here, we address some common queries to give you a better understanding of your furry friend.

Q1: Why do my ferrets scratch so much?

A: Ferrets are naturally inclined to dig and scratch due to their burrowing instincts. However, if the scratching seems excessive or is causing skin issues, it could indicate a health problem, such as fleas, mites, or a skin infection. In such cases, a vet visit is advisable.

Q2: Do ferrets destroy carpet?

A: Given the opportunity, ferrets can potentially damage carpets by digging into them. Alternatives like digging boxes and using preventive measures can protect your carpets from their sharp claws.

Q3: Why won’t my ferret stop scratching?

A: If you notice your ferret scratching excessively or obsessively, it might be more than just their digging instinct. It could be due to skin irritation, parasites, or an allergic reaction. It’s best to consult with a vet to determine the cause.

Q4: Can I train my ferret not to dig?

A: While you can’t completely suppress a ferret’s natural instinct to dig, you can certainly train them to dig in appropriate places like a designated digging box. Remember, consistency and patience are key when it comes to training.


Having a ferret as a pet can be a rewarding experience. However, their natural instincts, like digging, can sometimes lead to challenges, especially when it comes to preserving your carpets.

Understanding their behavior, providing them with digging alternatives, and using preventive measures can go a long way in ensuring both you and your ferret are happy.

Patience and consistency are key when dealing with your ferret’s natural behaviors. And most importantly, always provide them with plenty of love, care, and attention. A happy ferret means a happy home!

If you’ve ever wondered why your ferret has other peculiar behaviors, such as excessive itching, be sure to check out our post on why ferrets itch so much.

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