Although ferrets are creatures with a small surface area, their little bodies still
require routine basic grooming and maintenance. Even though ferrets groom themselves, it
is not enough to keep them looking and feeling their best. There are 4 basic steps to
grooming, depending on the needs of your ferret:
Brushing teeth: Your ferret's teeth should be brushed regularly.
Take his diet into consideration - if he eats softer foods as opposed to
crunchy kibble, he will need to have his teeth brushed more frequently
(once a week) than a ferret that eats a dry-food diet (every other week).
For the first few tries, tooth-brushing will probably be traumatic to your
ferret. With patience, however, he will adjust. Using a pet toothbrush and
toothpaste, slowly brush the teeth, starting from the back molars and working
up to the front canines and incisors. Pay careful attention to those molars,
it is where the majority of tartar and plaque buildup because a ferret's tongue
can't efficiently clean off those teeth. Even with regular brushing, most
ferrets will need a professional cleaning performed by a vet every 1 to 3 years
Cleaning Ears: Cleaning your ferret's ears weekly will help to prevent
infection, ear mites and unpleasant odor. Using a commercial ear cleaning solution
(recommended by your vet), squirt a few drops of the warmed drops into your ferret's
ears and gently massage the ear to work the cleaner inside. This will loosen any
accumulated wax, which you will remove with a dampened q-tip. Continue changing the
q-tips until the ear is clean (FYI - a ferret's ear canal is L shaped, so it is nearly
impossible to injure the ear drum as long as you clean gently). If your ferret's
ear wax is dark-colored or black, call your vet - this could be a sign of ear
mites, which can cause deafness if left untreated.
Clipping nails: A ferret's nails should be clipped twice a month in order to
avoid dangerous snagging that may actually rip off the nail. First, gather the supplies:
cat or ferret nail clipper, styptic powder (in case you cut too close), and a treat,
like Ferretone, to convince your ferret to cooperate. Place the ferret on his back in your
lap, put some Ferretone on his belly, and clip while he is licking the treat off his stomach.
Clip the nail so it will be parallel to the floor while he is standing or walking, and be
careful not to cut into the quick, the pink vein running through the nail. If you do, put a
little styptic powder on the nail to stop the bleeding.
Bathing: Over-bathing is harmful to a ferret -it causes dry skin, making him itchy
and uncomfortable, and will actually result in odor due to over-productive oil glands. When
bathing, use shampoo designed for ferrets, it is pH balanced for their skin. Fill the tub or
sink with warm water - ferrets have a body temperature of 102 degrees, so what is lukewarm to
us is chilly to a ferret. When your ferret stands up, his head should be above water.
Shampoo your ferret and rinse thoroughly, any soap left in the coat will dry out the skin. Dry
your ferret until he is damp, then lay him on a bunched- up towel, where he will finish drying
himself by vigorously tossing and rolling about.
With these tips, your ferret will be the best-groomed and happiest ferret he can be!