Ferret Flea Treatment Guide: How To Get Rid Of Ferret Fleas?


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Here is the post where you can learn all there is about flea control for ferrets. What is the best flea treatment for ferrets, can you use a ferret flea shampoo or is ferret flea medicine a better choice? Can you use a ferret flea collar or flea spray for ferrets? I will answer those questions and show you other flea prevention for ferrets you can use in your home. But, before we start with those questions, let’s focus on ferret flea information.

What Fleas Are Ferret Fleas?

There are many different types of fleas, but there aren’t ferret fleas. Fleas that attack ferrets most of the time are cat fleas and they aren’t picky. They will jump on every furry pet you have in your home.

ferret flea

Other types of fleas can jump on your ferret and are mostly connected to the time you spend outside with your ferrets. Those fleas usually attack wild animals like rabbits or squirrels. Both types are very similar so you can use the same ferret flea treatment to get rid of them.

Flea Life Cycle

Before we start a war against fleas, we have to know how they operate. Let’s take a look at their life cycle and see what they affect in their life.

ferret flea life cycle

Photo Source: Onlynaturalpet.com

New Flea Host

The adult flea jumps from a pet to your pet (or you) and then to your ferret. The first thing an adult flea does is feed, then it lays eggs. The problem with those eggs is that they aren’t attached to the fur, which means they can fall off when the pet is moving around so you can have them all around the house.

Flea Larva

After 12 days, the larvae will hatch and another cycle begins. The larva doesn’t feed on blood, it feeds on organic debris and they hate light so you won’t be able to notice them. They will burrow in some dark and cozy spot before you know it so they can spin themselves in a cocoon. The biggest problem with cocoon is that fleas stay it in 1-3 weeks when conditions are good. But, when conditions are bad, they can stay in a cocoon for months, even years!

Adult Flea

The last cycle will start with an adult flea. Then the entire story begins again. An adult flea looks for a host to feed so it can lay its eggs again. So, if a ferret is near, they won’t say no. They will use a ferret as a host, just like any other furry pet.

How Can I Tell If My Ferret Has Fleas?

Ferrets are by nature very itchy creatures. They will itch and scratch every day for a billion reasons. They are grooming, something is itching them, they feel like it… You name it, they will make it a reason to scratch.

Check Ferret’s Behavior

The first symptom of a ferret flea infestation is too much scratching. So if your ferret scratches more than usual, it might be a sign of fleas, especially if your ferret has scabs made by scratching too much.

Check Ferret’s Fur

The best way to know if your ferret has fleas is to check the fur and I recommend doing that when ferrets sleep because they are energetic. Start with the back. Slowly go through his fur from the neck all the way to the tail. Be gentle, you don’t want to wake up your ferret. When the backside is over, slowly flip your ferret on his back and repeat with the belly.

ferrets and fleas check

Chances are that fleas will be hiding in the back and not on the belly, but it is always a good idea to check everything. If there are small black dots in his fur, that means something is wrong. Those black dots are flea droppings. If you can, check your ferret from head to toe with patience you will probably find fleas as well.

Use A Flea Comb

You can also help yourself with some equipment. There is a comb made for fleas that can help you determine if there are any unwanted fleas on your ferret. Just comb your ferret with that comb and you will find fleas inside the fur. Fleas are not that small, you can see them with the naked eye. Now that you’ve seen that your ferret has guests it is time to fight them all off.

flea comb

Ear Mites Or Fleas?

Ear mites aren’t fleas but they love to spend time in your ferret’s ears like fleas in fur. They are similar to fleas because they will irritate your ferret. But, their biggest difference is their size. You can easily see fleas in your ferret’s fur. Ear mites, not so much. Ear mites are very small but you can see them if you look very carefully.

What you can do is see almost black debris in your ferret ears. The trouble is because ferrets’ natural ear build-up is similar in color, the ear mites make it slightly darker. Also, notice if your ferret scratches ears too much, or even shakes his head too often.

If you aren’t sure that your ferret has visitors, you can always check with your veterinarian. Ask them about ferret flea treatment and what ferret flea medicine is available in your town. Veterinarians are here for you and for your pet. Don’t hesitate to ask them whatever you want.

Why I Can’t Get Rid Of Fleas?

Getting rid of ferret fleas is not an easy task. It is important to follow these steps below so you can be sure you haven’t missed a spot in your home. Also, it is very important to clean the cage, then the ferret, and then the entire house.

itching ferrets and fleas

The cage should be first on your list so you can put the flea-free ferret in the cage and focus on the rest of the house. Don’t let your ferret roam around if you didn’t clean the house because your ferret can pick up fleas once more from rooms you haven’t managed to clean yet. That will mean you have to do it again, from the beginning.

Guide: How To Get Rid Of Ferret Fleas?

I have made a guide so you can get rid of fleas in a short time. In this guide, you will see the cleaning timeline, steps in the cleaning process, and why you should clean step by step. This is the way to keep your ferrets without fleas. I made the guide with Maja, a ferret expert, and breeder.

my ferret has fleas

We think this is the best way to clean because you won’t put a clean ferret in fleas infested cage, you will put it in a clean cage. You will probably lose 1-3 hours on cleaning the room depending on the size of the room so make sure you set aside enough time for the entire home.

Before you start with the process, make sure you have:

  • flea cleaning solution for cage
  • ferret safe shampoo
  • ferret flea medicine
  • powders against fleas for floors

Step 1: Ferret Flea Bath

Prepare a nice warm bath, a ferret-safe shampoo, and here we go. We don’t recommend ferret flea shampoos because there aren’t 100% safe shampoos for them. Most of them are harmful to ferrets (even cats). Put your ferret in the bath and start scrubbing. Make sure to remove every flea you can see. Now that your ferret has endured one shampoo treatment, let him be in the water for a few more minutes to drown the rest of the surviving intruders.

ferret flea bath

After the bath, your ferret will be squeaky clean, almost flea-free, and not in a good mood. Fast dry your ferret with a towel and prepare for the next step. Put the towel, the hammocks, and blankets from the transporter in the washing machine with the rest of the contaminated fabrics. This is the step you have to do before everything if you want to bathe a ferret because you have to wait at least 48 hours to put a ferret flea treatment on a ferret after his bath.

Step 2: Clean Ferret Cage

The next thing on your to-do list is definitely ferret’s cage. Keep your ferret out of the room, it is a good idea to put him in a flea-free transporter until you start with the ferret flea treatment on your ferret. Remove all blankets, hammocks, and toys from the cage so you can put them in the washing machine.

Step 1 Clean Ferret Cage

Take the cage and wash it with a cleanser that fights fleas, eggs, and larvae. That cleaner will probably be really strong so rinse it thoroughly to avoid any leftover chemicals on the cage. If you can, air out the cage after the wash. Don’t let your ferret in the cage yet.

Step 3: Ferret Flea Treatment

48 hours after the bath you can treat the ferret with the medicine. Pick the medicine that is safe for ferrets and apply it on the ferret behind the neck so your ferret can’t lick it. Later in the article, I listed ferret-safe flea medicine so you can check them there and contact your vet for a recommendation and dosage on how often to use the medicine.

Ferret medicines can only be bought through the vet or in specialized small animal stores, you can’t get them in every store. Don’t use it unless a ferret-experienced veterinarian says it is ok for your ferret. Apply the ferret flea medicine your vet recommended on your ferret, we don’t want those nasty bugs to come again anytime soon. If you have more ferrets, separate them for a short period so the liquid behind their backs dries.

Step 4: Put The Ferret In The Cage

Once the ferret and the cage are both clean and flea-free, fill the cage with clean hammocks, clean bowls, and clean toys and put the ferret in the cage. Ferret is now OK so you can focus on the rest of the house or other pets if you have them. Before you start cleaning the house, move your ferret to a safe, well-ventilated room.

Step 4 Put The Clean Ferret In The Cage

Step 5: Clean The House

If you really want to stop fleas infestation in your home you have to clean every little corner of it. Make sure that you treat the room without your ferret and his cage in it first so you can move the cage (with the ferret inside) to the first room you cleaned. There are powders against fleas you can put on the floor of every room and let it sink. After that, vacuum the room so no powder is left on the floor.

Step 5 Clean The House

If there were some eggs on the floor they will be in the vacuum cleaner. They are only removed, not destroyed so remove the vacuum bag and toss it in the trash to completely destroy any chance of fleas infestation in your home. It is easier to toss a vacuum bag than to fight fleas every few months. Now that the ferret room is cleaned, you can return the ferret inside. But, before you move your ferret back to his room, vacuum and ventilate the room well!

What Ferret Flea Medicine To Use?

The second step is to find some ferret flea medicine, we don’t want those nasty bugs to come again anytime soon. Unfortunately, there isn’t one excellent flea medication for ferrets, but there are a few which are doing a great job and are safe for ferrets.

advantage ii flea treatment for ferrets

Advantage & Advantage 2 For Ferrets

The Advantage is a fast and effective ferret flea medication made by Bayer. It is safe for ferrets, and the best method to use it is to put it on your ferret in the back of the neck so your ferret can’t reach it and, of course, can’t lick it. Advantage works fast which means it starts killing fleas within the hour, but before that it prevents adult feals from laying eggs and that is as important as the second step.

Frontline Flea Spray For Ferrets

Another good flea prevention for ferrets is made by Frontline. Frontline for ferrets is safe and it protects your ferret for around a month. Just like Advantage flea treatment for ferrets, this one kills every life cycle flea has. The good thing is that you can use it like a ferret flea and tick treatment. You apply it on your ferret’s fur, one spray per pound of ferret’s weight.

Revolution Flea Prevention For Ferrets

Revolution is made by Pfizer and it is applied to the skin, just like Advantage for ferrets. Apply it on the back of the neck for best results. Not only it prevents fleas, but it also works well against ear mites, ticks, and heartworms. Since you can use it against heartworms it is absorbed in the bloodstream. That is how it reaches every part of ferret skin to kill fleas and other pests.

No matter what ferret flea medicine you choose, monitor your ferret a couple of hours after application and keep an eye on your ferret at least 24 hours later to avoid unwanted body reactions.

Forbidden Flea Prevention Medicines

Not every flea medication is safe for ferrets so we will talk about what not to use too.

Flea Medication For Dogs

As I have already mentioned, dog flea medicines, flea sprays, and shampoos are not an option. Dogs are not that similar to our ferrets so their products don’t work well with them. Cats are a better option, kittens to be precise. Ferrets are sensitive and you should act accordingly.

Forbidden Flea Prevention Medicines For Ferrets

Ferret Flea Collars

Don’t use flea collars on ferrets for many reasons, not just because they aren’t safe. Any type of collar can be harmful to ferrets. Ferrets love to crawl in tight spaces and collars can get them stuck and that can end up badly.

Dawn Dish Soap

Dawn dish soap is a sensitive detergent you can use to wash your dishes. But, that is all it is. It is not a good remedy against fleas for any pet, not just a ferret. Don’t use any type of detergent to fight against fleas.

My Ferret Flea Treatment Experience

When I got Yoda, I got fleas too. Yoda was covered with fleas and I could see them walking in the fur. So, the same day Yoda came, we prepared a bath. I didn’t use ferret flea shampoo because I didn’t find the safe one near me so I used Johnson & Johnson shampoo. That is a ferret-safe shampoo and if you want to know more about that topic, read my post about bathing ferrets.

best flea treatment for ferrets

I filled a big crate with water and soaked Yoda in it, Yoda was very cooperative throughout the entire process. We used Johnson & Johnson because it is safe for ferrets and I had to shampoo it more than once to get rid of them. Most of them were drowned but, I couldn’t tell if we got rid of all so we used Advantage ferret flea medicine too.

Yoda was in one room the entire time so I cleaned that room as well and since Yoda was nowhere near Frida, she was theoretically safe. But, just to be 100% certain, Frida got a round of ferret flea medication too. Since then, I didn’t have any trouble with fleas. My ferrets don’t go out, but if we plan a field trip then they receive flea meds for ferrets a few days before just to be 100% sure.

How I Kept My Home Flea-Free?

It is not easy to keep your home flea-free. You have to follow a few rules for your house, for your pets that go outside and pets that stay indoors. I have had ferrets for 8 years and I’ve only had one ferret flea situation. That happened when Yoda came with fleas to our family.

Ferrets Are My Only Pets

A big reason for my one and only flea encounter is the fact that I don’t have cats or dogs that go around. Even if I would have them, I would treat them with flea prevention medicines to keep fleas away from every pet.

Ferrets Stay Indoors

My ferrets don’t go for walks outside so I don’t use flea medicines. If I do have a small field trip in mind, I always make sure that they have treatment against fleas to prevent fleas from coming home with us. If you too let your ferret out of the house every once in a while, I recommend that you use flea medication for ferrets.

ferret stays indoor to avoid fleas

Shoes & Jackets Stay In Hallway

Fleas can come into our home over clothes, shoes, etc so I don’t walk in shoes and jackets around the house. I leave them in the hallway and ferrets aren’t allowed there. Remember, if a flea doesn’t feed, flea can’t lay eggs. For flea to feed, flea needs a host. If you remove the host from the equation, you won’t have trouble with fleas.

Ferret Flea Related Questions

Can I Use Cat Flea Treatment On My Ferret?

Most cat flea treatments aren’t good for your ferrets. The only way you can use a cat flea treatment on your ferret is if you contact your veterinarian and ask for advice on what to choose. For example, Advantage 2 small cat for ferrets is a good option you can use with your ferret.

How Your Ferret Got Fleas?

The biggest possibility for a ferret to get fleas is from another pet. After that, the possibility is that ferret picked them outside during the walk. The third option is that you brought fleas home on your shoes or clothes.

Can Fleas Kill A Ferret?

Directly, fleas can’t kill a ferret. They can cause bald spots on your ferret, they can make them irritated which can lead to a loss of appetite. But, if you don’t do flea control on your ferret, you can end up with an anemic ferret.

How Long Does it Take to Get Rid of Fleas?

Depending on the seriousness of the problem. If the problem is new you can get rid of fleas in the number of treatments recommended by your vet. Cleaning your house once should be enough, but it is a smart move to do it again a week so you can be sure everything is clean.

I’ve spent half a day cleaning my ferret and the room my ferret was in. But, my ferret was in one room only and I started the treatment the moment Yoda entered our home so the entire process was pretty quick.

Will Ferret Fleas Leave Your Ferret Alone?

Fleas won’t leave your ferret alone after some time, you have to get rid of them. That is why during a ferret flea treatment you clean your ferret, other pets, and your home.

What If I Have Other Pets At Home?

Ferrets can get fleas from other pets in your home, especially if they are outside daily and you don’t use flea medicine. You should treat every pet that goes outside with flea medicine every month (or more, depends on the medicine and what the vet recommended). Make sure all of them have protection and that each one has a pet-safe medicine so they don’t spread fleas in your home.


Fleas are stubborn pets that love to cause our pets trouble. It is your responsibility to get rid of them and there are good prevention treatments you can use. Keep your house clean, don’t walk in shoes around the house, and protect every pet you have against fleas. Make sure that you use safe ferret flea medicine like Advantage for ferrets during flea season so you can be sure that your ferret is flea-free all the time. It is better to undergo flea prevention for ferrets than to fight them over and over again. How do you fight stubborn fleas? Share your experience with us in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe!

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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