How to Bath and Clean a Ferret? Quick Guide
Ferrets are a more domesticated version of what we know as polecats. They are mammals, who have fur covering most of their bodies. These little animals have very recently become common in certain household and are becoming more and more popular as pets.
For many, they might not be the most ideal pets to have, as they are not the most interactive in nature like a pet dog would be. But if you are the right person to pet a ferret then they can be great.
Just like you would keep any of your other pets clean, it is necessary for you to clean ferrets up as well.
There are a few steps you must take to bathe and clean up your pet ferret. Let’s talk about them.
Why Is It Important to Clean Your Ferret?
You need to bathe ferrets because of the smell that naturally comes from their body. Most animals have a distinct scent to them and there are many reasons why that happens. But for ferrets, in particular, the musky scent naturally occurs because of the oil on their skin.
When ferrets are given a bath and cleaned, what happens is that the oil is washed away from their body. So, for the time being, the bad smell on their body goes away too. However, it is not as simple as it sounds. The smell very quickly comes back.
So, when the oil is cleaned off of their skin and fur, they stop smelling bad. But as the oil is removed, their body starts producing it at a much quicker rate and in larger quantity. The exact opposite may result in those times. The smell will get stronger and stronger for the next two or three days.
But, do not let that deter you away from the bath, you should bathe your ferret once two months. It healthier for your house, you and ferret.
How Old Should the Ferrets Be Before Its First Bath?
It is important for you to keep in mind that your pet has to come of a certain age before its first bath. If you just want to clean it up with a wet towel or in a sink then that’s fine, you can start the washing at an earlier age. But, if you wish to fill your tub up and then give them a nice bath, then I recommend you wait.
Or at least wait till they become old enough to learn how to float in the water. Otherwise, it might become a bit dangerous for them to be in the water. Even when they do learn to float, you should always be there with them when they are in the bath to make sure that they do not drown.
When Should You Bathe Your Ferret?
Even though you should not be washing your ferret all too often, but it is recommended that you do so at least 4 times in a year. Or when they become really dirty and there is no other way out of the situation. Do not keep them dirty, it is not hygienic for you or your pet.
Sometimes as an owner of a ferret, the smell coming from their body might become annoying or you might grow frustrated of the smell. But you must know that constantly bathing with being of no use. All you will be doing is striping their skin from oil, and more of it will be produced.
See Also: How to Prevent Ferret Bites?
You must also keep in mind that many times, the smelling coming from them is not because of the oil on them, rather it might be caused by the things they use or places they spend most of their time. It would be a wise idea to clean up their bed, cage and any toy they may have before you give them the bath.
Another reason why you shouldn't be bathing them too often is that the oil produced by their body is actually good for them. By stripping it away, you will only be making their skin too dry, scratchy and irritated.
Preparation for The Bath
Many ferret owners suffer or have problems after giving their pet a shower, as it is not fruitful. The main reason why that happens is they use the wrong product for the clean.
Not every animal has the same kind of furring or skin, so using a Shampoo for cats or dogs will not help with the shower, no matter how easy they are to find.
There are several types of shampoos you can get for them as well, there is a tearless shampoo. This would be a good option for ferrets who do not take well with baths. There are ones which can even help kill fleas in their fur.
Now shampoo is not the only thing you might need for their bath. You could buy a conditioner for them, this will help replenish the oils that your ferret lost during the bath. This will make them more agreeable with showers. You can find conditioners in the market that are made just for them.
Ferrets tend to catch colds too quick as their body temperature is around 102. So, keep a warm towel ready to dry them up after the bath. Also, remember you add hot water to the bath water. And our lukewarm water will not do.
Keep A Few Things in Mind While Bathing A Ferret
Not all ferrets will love taking a bath and you as an owner have to keep that in mind. You are going to have to try them out a time or two in the water before you can give them a good that. But it very important for you to make the ferret comfortable before placing them in the tub.
Before lowering him into the water make sure his feet go in first and you support his head. Make sure that is feet reach the floor before letting go. The water of the tub should not reach anywhere higher than his chest, it might be uncomfortable for him.
Sometimes you will see that ferret's feet may slip and this may cause them to drown, so it would be a wise idea to invest in a non-slip bath mat for them. It will give you an easier time during the bath and you will also be stress-free.
Toys would be a good addition during the bath. It will help get them relaxed and remove stress or agitation they might have because of the water.
See Also: How to Take Care of a Ferret?
You can give your ferret a bath in a big bathtub, but you could also opt for a more controlled environment and situation and give them a bath in the sink.
Once they are fully wet, you have to lather them up with the shampoo. You should actually lather the shampoo first in your hand and then wash them with it. It will make things a bit faster and tantrums free.
While shampooing them, be aware of where the foam is going, it might distress them more if it gets in their eyes or ears.
After you have washed and shampooed every part of their body, you have to rinse it out. You have to make sure that none of the shampoos is left on their body as might make them uncomfortable later. Rinse them out using clean water and not the one from the tub.
Remember that if you pour the water directly on their head the shampoo might get into their eyes, so you should wet your hands and use the hand rinse the foam out of their head. This is when you apply the conditioner all over their coat. Leave it in for two minutes and then wash it out.
The Best Way to Dry Your Ferret
As I said before, make sure you have the towel with you right after the bath. Otherwise, you might have to deal with a sick ferret, something you obviously don't want to do. Warming it up will be like a bonus and it will make them more comfortable.
Wrap the towel around their body and gently rub it to dry them up. It is very important to be careful now as your pet is already stressed from the bath and being though with them will just be scarier for them.
Work quickly and be done with the drying process, because you might never know when they have had enough of it.
If they don’t want, you to do it then you should allow them to dry themselves up. Which they will do up against other dry objects. You could preplan it and designate a spot where they could do it. This way none of your other things have to be damp in the process.
Keep the area around the tub clean, as they might have a bright idea on rolling around on dirty places. You will not like this at all as the good bath would go to waste.
The Cleaning Process
Here, I will talk about the cleaning process;
This is something you are going to have to frequently do if you a ferret owner. It is good for the ferret if you regularly brush its fur as the oil can spread to all parts of their body and condition it. Another reason why this is important is, they then eat a lot of the hair they shed.
If the shedding happens in a controlled environment, where you can just throw away the hair, then you can avoid a trip to the vet because of fur balls in their stomach.
Some ferrets might not want to stay in the same place held down for a long time, in that case, you are going to have to learn how to quickly go over their fur with a brush, before they start moving around and giving you a hard time.
Investing in a shedding preventative would also be good for you if you are done with finding their fur all around the house and your clothes.
You are going to have to trim your ferret’s nails if you don’t, you might have a few scratch marks on yourself and your furniture. You could get the same nail clippers used to cut cat nails, as they both have similar paws.
Have should be quick to cut the tip of the ferret’s nails off. Be mindful to stay a bit away from the quick- which is the pink part the nail, much like human have too- to make it as pain-free as possible. Otherwise, you will have a very difficult time cutting their nails in the future, and that might make it even more painful.
Cutting into the quick might cause bleeding and in that case, you should have a styptic powder in hand at home to stop the bleeding. You are going to have to press the powder into the cut, this will sting a bit. Ensure that your ferret has stopped bleeding completely before you let it go.
This is not easy, so you could get some help while you cut your pet's nails, or you could restrain the ferret well so that it doesn't go anywhere in the middle. Also, it would be easier to make the ferret accustomed to the trimming if it occurs occasionally.
Cleaning Their Ears
Just like a human has ear wax, ferrets do too. And as the owner of one, it is your responsibility to clean their ears and keep them wax free. Otherwise, they might end up having an infection or ear mites. If you do this on a regular basis it will be easy for you to keep tabs on things changing.
The best way to clean their ears would be to buy the cleaning solution also used for kittens. Just put a few drops of the solution into their ear, rub the ear a bit to make sure it goes in. At this point you ferret will shake its head to dislodge the wax. You can then easily wipe up the outer part of its ear with a cotton swab.
Avoid putting the swab into its ear as they will be stressed as it is with the whole activity, pushing the bud it will just scare them more.
Brushing Your Ferret’s Teeth
This is something you should be doing at least once a week as a part of their grooming routine. This will eliminate any bad smell coming out of their mouth.
Not just that, you will be able to identify very early on whether your pet is about to have any sort of dental problem. Brushing will most likely prevent such issues arising.
Use a short bristle brush, the kind used for kittens or you could also wrap up a piece of gauze around your finger to brush its teeth. You can wipe its teeth gently using any gel supplement they like. Make sure you cover most of its teeth, including the gum.
Just make sure you are as gentle and quick as possible because as they are with all other things, they will not like brushing their teeth either.
Getting Rid of The Fleas
This is one job you will find difficult to do by yourself, so it would be better if you go to a vet to get the job done. You could try doing it at home by using s shampoo for fleas, but it's not as fruitful. Rather it might at times irritate your ferret's skin.
An Oatmeal Bath
There are times when you do not want to shampoo your ferret thinking of all the itching, dryness and the increase their odor. This is when you could opt for an oatmeal bath instead.
All you will have to do is leave a bog of oats in the bath water and let it is in for a bit. When the water has taken up as much of the properties of the oats, take the bag out and give the ferret a bath using this water.
It is comfortable for your ferret and will be quicker and easier than a regular bath.
For someone who has never had a ferret as his pet before, a ferret is likely to be difficult to handle.
But if you do not bathe them regularly, then it’s going to be more difficult.
So, you need to bathe your ferrets regularly to maintain a healthy environment.