Bathing Ferret Guide: Should You Bathe A Ferret & How Often?

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Have you asked yourself how often should you bathe a ferret?

Can you bathe ferrets at all?

If you have, then this is a post for you. I want to share with you everything you need to know about bathing ferrets. Questions like do ferrets like baths, how to bathe a ferret, why do ferrets go crazy after a bath or what can I bathe my ferret with are all answered here, including what is the famous ferret oatmeal bath and instructions to use it. So, let’s start reading about ferret bath time.

Can You Give A Ferret A Bath?

You can, but it is not necessary and it is not recommended. Ferrets are very clean animals. When it comes to cleaning, they are a lot like cats, they clean themselves. You will be amazed how many times you can see them cleaning their paws and then washing their face.

bathing ferrets

The only time you have to take things into your own hands is when they get dirty. That means, for example, the ferret decides it is a great time to dig in your house plant, break into your kitchen cabinet with flour, or some other ferret mischief.

Do Ferrets Like Baths?

That depends on the ferret. There are ferrets that hate water and the ones that can’t wait to jump in it. Generally, ferrets hate baths and getting wet, but there are always exceptions that can confirm the rule.

do ferrets like baths

They are more prone to water during summer since it keeps them cooled down. Also, one of their favorite activities is digging in the water bowl. That could mean there is too much water in the bowl for them. If your ferret loves digging in the water bowl or even tripping it, read my post about water bowls and make sure you have the best water bowls for ferrets.

How Often Should You Bathe A Ferret?

How often can you bathe a ferret is a valid question because if you bathe it too often, it can damage their skin. Since ferrets don’t require baths, you don’t have to worry about the period between two baths because it is not your job to give the ferret a bath. Bathe a ferret only when it gets dirty.

when can i bathe my ferret

The only good reason to wash a ferret is summer heat to help your ferret cool down. You can read in my post about heatstroke prevention how to cool down your ferret. But, even then don’t actually wash them. Use only water without any shampoo.

Will A Bath Minimize Ferret Smell?

No, the bath won’t minimize ferret smell, it can actually worsen it because the smell comes from oil glands all over their body. By bathing, you are removing oil from the ferret body so your ferret has to produce more. If you bathe a ferret too much you can cause skin irritation on your ferret.

how to bathe a ferret

That can trigger rash and increase the smell of your ferret because the more you remove the oil from the body, the more body has to produce the oil to replace what you removed. There are better ways to minimize the smell and you can read all that in my post about how to get rid of ferret smell.

What Shampoo Can I Use On My Ferret?

Ferrets have very sensitive skin which means you can’t bathe them with your shampoo. You can’t bathe them with Dawn dish soap or any other dish soap or detergent. You wouldn’t use dish soap for your own bath, so don’t use it for any animal, including ferrets.

Ferret Shampoo

Good options are pet shampoos, actually shampoos made for ferrets. But, the problem with them is that you can’t find them in every pet shop. That is why you can go with shampoos for kittens, just make sure it comes with a mild formula.

ferret bathing shampoo

Baby Shampoo

Probably the most convenient option is a human shampoo. Yes, you can use those, but only if they are made for babies. Shampoos for babies are the mildest and they won’t irritate the ferret’s skin. I use Johnson & Johnson for my ferrets when they get dirty.

baby shampoo for ferrets

Oatmeal Bath

There is a special ferret oatmeal bath you can make that is one of the better solutions because it doesn’t have any chemicals. Continue reading because later in the article I will share with you a few information about the oatmeal bath.

How To Give A Ferret A Bath?

From time to time, you will need to give your ferret a bath. It is good to know that bathing ferrets should be a fast task because they don’t like when they are wet. So, before you start with the entire bathing process, make sure you have everything you need by your side. You won’t have much time running to the other side of the room once they are in the bathtub.

For Ferret Bath Time You Will Need:

  • A ferret
  • A few towels
  • Ferret shampoo or baby shampoo – the milder the better
  • Warm water
  • Few toys
  • Treats
  • Hairdryer  – if your ferret will allow you to use it

STEP 1: Start With Right Ferret Water Temperature

Remember, the ferret’s body temperature is higher than ours so if you put slightly cold water in the tub, that will be really cold for your ferret. Try to put warm water in the tub, but not too hot. It should be slightly warmer than the temperature you usually put for your bath. Keep the temperature between 37°C to 40°C (99°F to 104°F).

Right Water Temperature for Ferret

Make sure that a ferret can easily stand in the water. Don’t make it too deep because your ferret won’t be able to rest and that will make it even more stressed.

STEP 2: Put The Ferret In The Water

Slowly put your ferret in the water, deep enough so he can move normally. As I said, most ferrets don’t like bath time and they will try to get away. To avoid that you can use a snack, yummy salmon oil, or some other treat to keep your ferret distracted.

can you bathe ferrets

STEP 3: Prepare The Shampoo

Use a little amount of shampoo and put it on your hands. Rub it between the palms because shampoo is probably very cold and then apply it to your ferret with your hand. Your hand is warmer than the shampoo so your ferret won’t be shocked by the cold shampoo on wet fur. Spread the shampoo on the ferret’s body and avoid its head. Rub your ferret’s tummy, tail, and back legs first then go to the rest of the body.

can i wash my ferret with dawn dish soap

Massage your ferret under the chin to relax him. Say that he is a good ferret because he really is. Give him a treat or two more. You can do all that with a ferret in your arms, or you can grab him by the scruff and gently pick him up, but don’t let him hang. Let your ferret stay on his back legs in the tub or on your hand.

STEP 4: Rinse The Ferret

To rinse a ferret you can put him under the faucet (you can use a mug or a glass) and pour warm water gently over him. Be careful not to put any shampoo in the ferret’s eyes or mouth, so when you are rinsing the head, use only one or two fingers.  Or, you can rinse a ferret in the tub with fresh water.

If you see that your ferret doesn’t mind bathing, toss a toy in the tub. Your ferret might play with it for some time, but if you see that he has had enough, finish up.

STEP 5: Dry The Ferret

Grab your ferret out of the water, remove the excess water from it and wrap it in the towel. If you think that bathing your ferrets is interesting, you should see what is happening next.

dry the ferret with a towel after bath

When you have a ferret wrapped in the towel, dry him as much as you can because the moment you put your ferret down, he will become crazy. He will jump, run, scratch, and just act all wild. Ferret war dance is nothing compared to the “Quick I must dry!“ dance. The best way to let your ferret dry is to sit down, watch, and enjoy!

Why Do Ferrets Go Crazy After Bath?

Ferrets are energetic animals but the level of energy after a bath is something else. Nobody knows the real reason why they go crazy after a bath but there are a few theories.

ferret after bath

One of them, the most realistic one, is that they don’t like being wet. So, with their crazy dance, they are trying to dry off. That makes sense because you can see how they are wiping themselves on the carpet, sofa, towel, anything in the middle of that dance.

Ferret Oatmeal Bath

Preparing an oatmeal bath for ferrets is pretty similar to the one you can prepare for yourself. Oatmeals baths are made for irritated and itchy skin. It calms the skin and is mostly used for dry skin, psoriasis, and other skin troubles in humans.

oatmeal bath for ferrets

The type of oatmeal you have to use is colloidal oatmeal, not a regular one. Colloidal oatmeal is a part of some shampoos and moisturizers and you can do it yourself or you can buy it.

How To Give A Ferret An Oatmeal Bath?

It is actually pretty simple. Take colloidal oatmeal and put it in the sock. Prepare a bath for a ferret and place the sock in the water. The water will become cloudy so you can place a ferret inside. The water and oatmeal mixture will soothe the ferret and once you rinse it, the fur will be shiny and soft.

Why Is Oatmeal Bath Good For Ferrets?

The good thing about an oatmeal bath is that it won’t remove oil from the ferret body, but it will clean it from dirt. That, and the fact that it doesn’t have chemicals to irritate ferret skin.

Do Ferrets Take Dust Baths?

No, dust baths aren’t good for ferrets. It won’t make them clean or minimize their smell. It can cause respiratory problems to them so dust baths aren’t a good option for ferrets.

Conclusion:

As you can see, bathing ferrets is not a big issue, especially since you don’t have to do it. But, it is good to know how to do it, how often can you bathe a ferret, and what are the reasons to bathe a ferret. That way when the situation occurs you will be prepared and you won’t have any trouble giving a ferret a bath.

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Anja Delic
Anja is a Friendly Ferret owner and a ferret parent who is involved in the ferret world for more than 10 years. She started her Friendly Ferret blog when she got her first ferret Frida 8 years ago. In 2013, Friendly Ferret was recognized as a great source of information and it has become a good ferret brand for education, products, and fun. Since then, Anja was a part in many ferrets shows as a sponsor and as a judge, and she met many great and interesting people who share the same passion as her - ferrets. Anja is always opened for suggestions and advice, so if you have something to ask or say about ferrets, feel free to contact her on Instagram, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter or support@friendlyferret.com