Although ferrets are known for good hygiene (they regularly clean themselves), they still need the help of their owners to maintain cleanliness and hygiene at all times. With its small body, you may think that balancing its overall health and hygiene is a very easy task. Truth is considerable amount of time, effort and care must be invested to make sure that maintaining your ferret’s hygiene is a routine and not just a once in a while habit. Proper ferret grooming for hygiene includes brushing its teeth, taking care of its hair, checking teeth and feet for bacteria and insects, and daily cage cleaning. Clearly, keeping your ferret clean and healthy will also minimize the risks of diseases within your household.
Brushing Ferret Teeth for Ferret Grooming
Ferret grooming experts recommend once a week brushing of its teeth to avoid bacteria infestation and decrease bad breath. However, some owners prefer two times per week to further minimize health issues. The general rule is if your ferret regularly eats soft foods, brushing its teeth must be done once a week at the least. On the other hand, if it consumes hard food, brushing may be done once every 2 weeks. The reason for this is because soft foods are more likely to get stuck in between the teeth, which may cause plaque and other bacteria formation if not immediately removed.
Expect the initial brushing sessions to require more effort and patience as these will be a new experience for both you and the ferret. But as you go along, your pet ferret will be more accustomed, thus lesser effort is required. For best results, use recommended pet toothbrush and toothpaste specifically made for ferrets. Be sure to clean areas that are hard to reach like the molars, incisors, and back of the tongue. Furthermore, it is recommended to have your pet’s teeth cleaned by a professional once every two years. However, doing regular cleaning by yourself will minimize the probability of developing any teeth and mouth related disease.
Brushing Ferret Hair
Brushing your ferret’s hair or coat is also a vital part in maintaining overall ferret grooming hygiene. Unlike other animals with long hair, ferrets do not shed often and do not require high level coat maintenance. One effective way to keep its coat clean and soft is by using shampoo and other hair cleaning products specifically made for ferrets. When brushing, make sure to do in one direction to avoid tangling. Also make it a habit to use a soft brush that is made for ferret hair. Use single and light strokes when brushing.
Bathing your Ferret
Bathing a ferret is tricky and must be done carefully. Due to its small size, ferrets can easily develop hypothermia, which is why you should never use cold water. Using lukewarm water, quickly rinse your pet ferret’s body while avoiding its eyes and mouth. A safer alternative to bathing is to wipe its body with a soft cloth damped in lukewarm water. Doing this eliminates the risk of hypothermia while removing dirt and bacteria on the outer coat.
If you have no other choice but to bathe your ferret, make sure to not overdo it to avoid developing dry skin. When your ferret’s skin gets excessively dry, its oil glands will work double time which causes itchiness and secretion of foul smelling liquid.
Other vital things to remember when bathing your pet for ferret grooming are:
- bath warmer than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the average temperature of ferrets
- aside from mouth and eyes, avoid the ear area from getting wet
- Make sure to rinse thoroughly. Shampoo and other cleaning agents left on the skin and hair can cause dryness and irritation
- When soaked in water, half of your pet ferret’s body must be a few inch higher than the water level
- Thoroughly dry the skin and coating with a clean towel. Carefully remove any tangled and loosed hair.
Daily Cage Cleaning
Cleaning the cage and making sure that there are no small objects that can be easily swallowed must be done on a daily basis. Also, make sure to remove any leftover foods to avoid bacteria formation and diseases such as diarrhea and food poisoning.