Ferret Grooming Part 1: Does He Need a Bath?

by Keri K. on November 2, 2012

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Hocus and Drogo: We like dirt

Hocus and Drogo: We like dirt

One of the common misconceptions about ferrets is that they need regular baths, usually to keep them smelling nice. However, shampooing your ferret can do more harm than good and won’t do much of anything for his overall odor!

Soap strips oils from your ferret’s coat, meaning that glands will work overtime to produce those oils again, and can actually make his coat feel “greasier” and smell even more “ferrety.” It can also dry out his skin, making him flaky and itchy.

The only time my ferrets get a real bath is when they’ve managed to get into something they shouldn’t, like Christmas tree sap, Maple syrup, or once, a tube of acrylic paint. Anything they shouldn’t be allowed to ingest while grooming themselves needs to be rinsed or washed off! Other than that, there’s no need to bother with soap or scented sprays. Pet or baby wipes can also be a quick solution for small messes or paws that have taken a stroll through a litter box.

Many ferrets will enjoy weekly brushing, with a soft brush or a grooming mitt, instead of a bath. Brushing helps distribute oils through the coat and remove any loose hair before it sheds, as well as lessen the risk of your fuzzy ingesting hair that can form hairballs. Most ferrets “blow their coat” twice a year (usually Spring and Fall, but not necessarily) and will definitely benefit from extra brushing during those couple of weeks.

Some ferrets also enjoy playing in plain water or in the shower, which is totally fine and a fun enrichment that won’t mess with their fur.

So, if not baths, what DOES help your ferret smell his best? Check out this post for solutions!

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Keri is a lead catalog designer for Drs. Foster and Smith and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from UW-Stout. She shares a small home with her husband, two Chinese Crested dogs, two cats, two ferrets, several reptiles and amphibians, and 30-some gallons of freshwater planted aquariums. See more articles by Keri K.

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