Pet Owner Club

Grooming Ferrets

Ferrets really are great house pets, but because they are inside your home all the time, you want them to be as clean as possible. Some people take their ferrets to groomers, but this isn't really necessary. You can save the money and use it on vet bills and groom the ferret yourself. It's easier than you might think.

There are five basic stages to grooming your ferret.

They are as follows:

Bath the ferret once a month, but no more often than once a week. Run a bath of shallow warm water. Make sure that it isn't too hot or too cold. The water should be the same temperature that you would use for a baby. Use a baby shampoo that will not irritate the ferret's eyes. A no-tears formula should do the trick. Get him wet, lather him up, and rinse him off. Pay particular attention to the area right below the eyes, as your ferret has scent glands here that cannot be removed. After his bath, wrap him in a nice warm towel - he will burrow down in it to get himself dry. Blow dryers are not recommended.

Clean his ears. After the ferrets bath, dip a cotton swab in peroxide and use it to wipe out his ears. Make sure that you are not going too deep, or you might damage his ear drums. The ferret may not appreciate this effort the first couple of times, but he will eventually come to expect it, and even realize that it feels rather nice.

Brush his teeth. Ferrets need good dental care. Use ferret safe toothpaste, which can be purchased in pet stores, and a baby toothbrush. Your ferret doesn't need to rinse - the toothpaste is safe to swallow. Brush his teeth just like you brush your own, and inspect them for chips or breaks. If you find problems, get him to the vet.

Clip his nails. Your ferret can grow some pretty sharp nails. Those nails don't only hurt when he accidentally scratches you with them, but they also tend to scratch up floors and furnishings. Unlike cats, a ferrets nails are not retractable. Look closely at his nails. The pink area is the quick of the nail. Don't cut into the quick or it will hurt him. You can distract the ferret with a toy while clipping his nails.

Clean his bedding and litter box. Many people don't think of this as a part of grooming the ferret, but it really is. There is no point in cleaning the ferret if you are not going to also make sure that his bedding and litter box are clean. Wash the bedding and dry it. Make sure that it does not have fleas in it. Each day, scoop the litter box, and make sure that your ferret has fresh litter weekly.

One final note on grooming - fleas are attracted to ferrets as much as they are attracted to cats and dogs. Do not ever use flea medications on your ferret that are designed for cats or dogs. Instead, use flea formulas designed for kittens. The best thing to do is to take your ferret to the vet for flea treatment.

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