How to Bathe a Ferret
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Bath time for your pet ferret can be a wonderful experience if he feels comfortable. The very first bath at home will give you a clear sign on whether you can continue to give baths at home or not. Observing your pet’s bath behavior will give you a clear idea if you need a specialist for grooming or not.
Most owners who do not like the natural musky scent of the ferrets prefer to give frequent baths. But this is not advisable as the natural oils get depleted and the skin becomes dry. This dryness also makes the ferret produce more natural oils to compensate for the loss. This in turn makes the ferret smell more. A good tip to avoid strong odor from your ferret is to keep the cage clean and clear out the litter often.
Many veterinarians recommend pet owners to give their ferrets a bath once in a couple of months. Unless your ferret becomes dirty often, it is advisable to avoid giving regular baths. While giving your pet a bath at home do keep a couple of treats handy. The treats will help you to calm your pet down if he starts to resist your bathing efforts.
Here are a few things that you should keep in mind before giving your ferret a home bath.
The temperature of the Bath Water
Make sure that the temperature of the bathwater is warm and not hot. It is important to keep the ferret comfortable in water so that the bath experience can be soothing. Some ferrets may like getting into the water and enjoy playing in the bath. Others may not like it at all and make quite a fuss to get out of the water.
If your ferret is not happy with taking a bath, try to distract it with a few bath toys. Remember to talk in a soothing tone as your pet will pick up your emotions and act the same. To avoid making the bath experience difficult always remain calm and composed.
Using a tub or kitchen sink is a great idea to give a bath to your ferret. Give your pet a good foothold to make him feel secure for the bath. Place a rubber mat at the bottom of the sink or tub so that the ferret has a good grip. A rubber mat allows the ferret to stand or move around the bath area without losing balance.
While filling water in the tub or sink, make sure that the water level is not too high for your pet. The ferret should be able to rest his feet on the bottom and still be able to have his head out of the water. He should not be completely submerged. If the water level is too high your pet will become uncomfortable and stressed.
Choose the Right Bath Products
Use a good brand shampoo made especially for ferrets. If that is unavailable, use a tear free baby shampoo or a shampoo designed for kittens. Both these kinds of shampoos are mild enough for ferrets.
Remember to lather the shampoo on the skin and fur instead of trying to rub it in. While bathing, make sure that the shampoo does not end up in your ferret’s eyes or ears. This will cause discomfort and pain to your pet. Rinse the affected area with water to ease your pet’s discomfort if the shampoo has gotten into the eyes or ears.
Rinsing after the Bath
After gentle shampooing, rinse your ferret in clean water. It is advisable to rinse more than once to ensure that there is no shampoo residue left anywhere. Shampoo residue will cause irritation to your pet.
After the bath, dry your ferret with a clean cloth. Some pet owners prefer to use a hair dryer to dry out any moisture. It is advisable to keep the dryer at least a foot away from your pet and the heat setting on low. Keep in mind that it depends upon your pet ferret whether using a hair dryer is suitable or not. Some ferrets do mind the dryer but others might kick up a fuss. Make sure to keep your pet’s preferences in mind for future bath times.
Few owners also allow their ferrets to dry themselves by burrowing in a pile of clean towels. This is also a great way for drying your ferret as it is a lot of fun for them. Check to make sure that your ferret is not damp or cold before placing him back in his cage.
Grooming Tips for Ferrets
Ferrets need proper grooming to help them maintain their health and appearance. There are other things that the pet owner must check and do on a regular basis.
Examining for Fleas
You should check your ferret for fleas and other bugs on a regular basis. If your ferret has fleas then you should take him for a checkup to the veterinarian. Getting a good flea treatment medication and shampoo help to deal with the condition.
Trimming of the nails after a bath will keep your ferret completely groomed. Nail trimmers used for babies or kittens work the best for ferrets. You need to cut the tip of the nail to keep them groomed.
Regular Body Brushing
After the bath dry your ferret and brush him to keep his fur in good condition. Regular brushing also helps in keeping the fur shedding in check.
Ferrets are prone to ear infections as they have waxy ears. A mild ear cleaning solution works well for ferrets to keep their ears clean. Check for any change in wax colour as it is a sign of ear infection.
Ferret’s teeth are prone to tooth damage. Their teeth need regular brushing. There are no special toothbrushes for ferrets. A toothbrush meant for cats or a piece of gauze wrapped around the finger are best suited for ferrets.
Hygienic Living Conditions
Make sure that your ferret’s cage is clean at all times. Regular cleaning of the cage will help your pet remain healthy and odor free.