How To Give A Ferret A Bath?

If you are a new owner of your very own furry ferret, or you’re considering adopting one of your own, one thing you may notice is that ferrets can be pretty stinky. This smell comes from their anal glands that secret a scent that is distinct to their species. But can you get rid of that smell by bathing them? If so, how do you wash your ferret?

It is not recommended to bathe your ferret except on occasion. The only real-time you should wash your ferret are those times when your furry friend decides it is a good idea to dig if you take them outside for some supervised play or if they let their mischievous side get the better of them inside the home. If your ferret gets themselves wholly covered in whatever they got into is the only real-time you should bathe them.

That being said, as you continue to read this article, we will talk about how often you should bathe your ferrets, what to use, and finally, how to properly bathe them.

How Can You Give A Ferret A Bath?

As previously stated, bathing your ferret may be a temporary fix to their natural musky smell, but it will not last forever. While washing your ferret may be necessary for some situations, giving them too many baths in succession can damage their skin.

If you are dead set on bathing them, try to aim for those situations when they genuinely get dirty, like if they get covered in dirt or if they scratch on your walls and get covered in paint chips. Otherwise, washing your ferret once a month will not harm your ferret’s skin.

What Shampoo To Use For Ferrets

Ferrets have susceptible skin, so you will not be able to bathe them with your shampoo. In addition, you can not use Dawn dish soap or any other dish soap or detergent on them. Do not use dish soap on any animal, including ferrets, in the same way that you would not use it on yourself.

© Eight in One (8 In 1) / Amazon

Pet shampoos, specifically shampoos for ferrets, are a good choice. However, the difficulty with them is that they are not available at every pet store. As a result, you may use shampoo for kittens, but make sure it has a gentle or mild recipe.

If you can not find ferret or kitten shampoo, human shampoo is perhaps the most practical solution. You may think this is unethical, but this option is only good if the shampoos are designed for children. Baby shampoos are the gentlest on the ferret’s skin and will not bother it. When my ferrets become dirty, I put Burt’s Bees baby wash on them, but only the fragrance-free option.

Lastly, another good option you can go to is an oatmeal bath. There is a particular way to make an oatmeal bath for your ferrets that we will go into more depth about later on in this article.

Ferret Bath Time

When it comes to bathing your ferret, make sure you have everything at the ready. Ferrets do not like getting wet all that much, so bath time should be pretty quick. The things you will need to give them a quick bath are:

  • A few towels.
  • Ferret shampoo or baby shampoo (the milder, the better.)
  • Warm water.
  • Treats.
  • Hairdryer if your ferret will allow you to use it.

1. Start With The Perfect Temperature Of Water For Your Ferrets

One thing to keep in mind is that ferrets’ natural body temperature is slightly higher than ours. With that in mind, if you put slightly cold water into the tub, it will be vastly harder for the ferrets than you think. Use exclusively warm water, but not too hot. Try to keep the temperature of the water somewhere between 99 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure the level of the water is low enough for your ferrets to stand. While ferrets can swim, you want them to rest; otherwise, they can become even more stressed.

2. Putting Your Ferret In The Water

© librariansarah / Flickr

Keep your ferrets’ favorite snacks close by for this step. As previously stated, ferrets are not too keen on being wet. So as you lower them into the shallow bath you have drawn for them; they may try to get away. Giving them their treats can keep them distracted enough to ignore the fact that they are wet.

3. Time To Apply The Shampoo

When going about this, use a small amount of shampoo and thoroughly lather it on your hands. Start running the shampoo all over their bodies, ignoring their head and face. Scrub their bodies, bellies, tail, feet, and legs. You can pick up your ferret to shampoo them in your arms, or you can scruff them and gently pull them out of the water keeping their back feet standing on the bottom of the tub. Try to keep giving your ferret treats to keep them calm and happy through this process.

4. Rinsing Your Ferrets Clean

To rinse a ferret, place him under the tap (in a cup or glass) and gradually pour warm water over him. When washing the ferret’s head, use only one or two fingers to avoid getting shampoo in the ferret’s eyes or mouth. Alternatively, you can rinse a ferret with fresh water in the bathtub.

© Arcana Pets

If you see that your ferret does not mind getting a bath, you can toss a toy or two into the water with your ferrets to keep them occupied. However, once they seem pooped, take the toy out and start to dry them off. 

5. Drying Your Ferrets Off

Take your furry friend out of the water and gently wring out some of the water from their fur. Take one of your towels and start drying off your ferret; they will probably think this is part of playtime, roll around, bite, and scratch the towel while drying them. 

You can try to use a hair dryer if it does not scare your ferret. Test this by turning it on. If your ferret becomes skittish, turn it off and use a towel instead. If your fur baby does not act fearful, try hitting them a couple of times with the warm air that comes out, avoiding their face. Once again, if they get skittish, turn it off and use a towel instead. 

Now that your ferret is sufficiently dry, it is time to watch them go crazy.

A ferret’s energy will seem to go through the roof. They will roll and scratch on your carpet and furniture. A ferret running throughout your house is most likely because they are still slightly wet and can feel it on their fur. Because they do not really like being wet, they will do anything they can to get dry. 

Ferret Oatmeal Baths

© MinzAssiz / Reddit

The process of making an oatmeal bath for ferrets is quite similar to that of creating one for yourself. Oatmeal baths are ideal for itchy, irritated skin. It soothes the skin and is commonly used in humans for dry skin, psoriasis, and other skin problems.

It would be best if you used colloidal oatmeal rather than ordinary oats for this recipe. Colloidal oatmeal is a component of various shampoos and moisturizers, and it may be made at home or purchased.

When bathing the ferrets, it is a lot simpler than you think. Take your colloidal oatmeal and put it into a clean sock, and draw the same bath as before with shallow water that your ferrets can stand in and around 99 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the water has become sufficiently cloudy, you can place your ferrets into the water. There is no need for shampoo in this type of bath, so use your hands and lather them in the cloudy water. Once they are clean, dry them the same way stated above.

The good thing about oatmeal baths for ferrets is pretty simple. It will eliminate all of the dirt or other materials in their fur, but it will not remove the oil that the ferrets make with their skin like it would if you used shampoo.

Final Thoughts

Ferrets can make fantastic pets; however, their mischievous ways can make them quite dirty. Although ferrets are excellent at keeping themselves clean, there are instances where they will need a bath. To keep in mind, ferrets do not like water, and bathing them too much can be harmful to their skin.

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