How To Clean Ferret Ears The Proper Way Guide With Steps


Do you know how to clean ferret ears?

What ferret ear cleaner to use?

You can find answers to these and many other questions in my post below. Today we will share information about ferret ear cleaning. How often should you do it, how to do it and what ear cleaners to use… So, continue reading and prepare yourself for cleaning some ferret ears!

Why Should You Clean Ferret’s Ears?

Cleaning the ferret’s ears should be a part of your ferret grooming ritual. If you want to find out what else should you include, read my post about grooming ferrets. There are a couple of reasons why you should clean your ferret’s ears. For example, you should remove the ear wax build-up that could cause an infection in their ear.

ferret ear cleaner

Also, if you just got the ferret, it is a smart move to go to the vet so he can check your ferret’s ears for ear mites. Ear mites aren’t visible by the naked eye so an expert should check the ear with proper equipment. Ear mites can cause irritation to your ferret it is your job to stop them.

How To Know It Is Time To Clean Ferret’s Ears?

You can check your ferret’s ears for build-up. That means to hold your ferret’s head and take a look at the state of both ears. The ferret’s ear wax is much darker than ours so you can’t compare it to yourself. When you take a look at ferrets’ ears, you will find dark red or brown ear wax. That is normal color. If the ear wax is darker, almost black, it is the sign of ear mites I’ve already mentioned in the paragraph above.

how do you clean a ferret's ears

If you see that there is a lot of ear wax, it is time to clean the ears. Also, if you notice that your ferret is shaking his head or scratching on the head too often, it could also mean something is wrong. It could be an ear infection, ear mites, or any other health issue that causes discomfort in your ferret. In that case, I wouldn’t recommend ear cleaning, I would recommend going to the vet.

How Often Should You Clean Ferret’s Ears?

Ear cleaning routine should happen not more than once a month. If your ferret has some troubles then even more. If you have a young ferret then you don’t have to clean his ears that much, in the beginning, is OK to simply monitor the state of ear and ear wax inside. When a ferret gets older, it is recommended to check and clean ears more often because they can develop more ear wax later in life.

What Do You Need To Clean Ferret Ears?

Each and every item on this list will help you with the cleaning so make sure you use them. There aren’t many things you need for cleaning their ears, but it is smart to put every item near you because your ferret will try to get away during cleaning.

Ferret Ear Cleaner

The most important thing you will need is a ferret ear cleaning solution. Make sure you find the one that is safe for ferrets and that it doesn’t dry out ears. That means the cleaning solution mustn’t contain alcohol or any other ingredient that dries out ears. Good ferret ear cleaners are ones for kittens but don’t use ones made for cats or dogs, those are too strong and can cause irritation which is something you want to avoid.

Cotton Swab And Tissue

A cotton swab is your main tool for cleaning because this little thing will help you remove the ear wax from the ferret’s ears. Grab a couple of swabs so you can repeat the cleaning if you haven’t taken everything on the first try. Once you remove that, you will place a dirty cotton swab on the tissue so you can easily pick it up later.

how to clean ferret ears with cotton swab

Treats As Distraction

It is always a good idea to use treats with ferrets. That way you can keep him occupied during the process and he won’t try to escape when treats are near. Just make sure the treats are very yummy. It is a good idea to use paste or salmon oil because it takes time to lick every single drop for ferrets.

treats for cleaning ferrets ears

How To Clean Ferret Ears?

Now that we talked about how often and why should you do it, let’s talk about how should you do it. You have to remember that cleaning ears are not your ferret’s favorite pastime. It is more invasive than nail cutting and most ferrets really don’t like their ears cleaned. So, make sure you have everything you need right beside you before starting the ear cleaning procedure.

Step 1: Warm Up The Ferret Ear Cleaner

It is not a good feeling when you put something cold on your skin, let alone in your ear. So, to avoid your ferret jumping from your lap, warm up the cleaning solution. You can do that by placing the solution in warm water for a couple of minutes. It doesn’t have to be hot, but it should be warm.

Step 2: Place The Ferret On Your Lap

The best way to clean the ferret’s ears is to put a ferret on your lap. That way you can easily see the ferret’s ear from different angles. All you need to do is move your head in different directions. The ferret should lay on your lap, placed in the same direction as you. That means you both should look in the same spot in front of you.

Step 3: Put The Treat On The Tummy

Just like with nail clipping, it is a good idea to put a treat on the ferret’s tummy. That way your ferret will be occupied with licking the treat of the tummy and you can check out both ears before everything else.

how to clean your ferret's ears with treats

Step 4: Apply Ferret Ear Cleaner In Ears

Ferrets can have very thick earwax and if you want to clean everything right, you will have to apply a ferret ear cleaning solution and let it be in the ear for a couple of moments. It is a good idea to gently massage the ear during application because it will help ear wax to dissolve. Your ferret will try to shake the solution out of the ears so make sure you have him under control. Don’t let your ferret run around, he might make a mess.

Step 5: Use Cotton Swab

Moisten the cotton swab in the same cleaning solution for better results. Grab your ferret’s ears and gently place the swab in the ear. Clean only part of the ear you can see so you don’t push the swab too far in the ear canal. Remove the wax and repeat the procedure with a new swab until it is clean. Place the dirty one on the tissue near you. When you are done, use a dry cotton swab and remove the residue of the cleaning solution from the ear. Your ferret might try to scratch his ear during this step. That is a reflex, simply ignore it and continue with your work.

Step 6: Repeat On The Other Ear

Now that the first ear is done, you have to repeat everything on the second ear. I am sure the second ear will go easier and you both will be done in no time. Then, give your ferret more treats for a job well done, and remember the date so you can plan the next grooming ritual in the future!

Should You Clean Ferret’s Ears By Yourself?

Yes, you should do it alone. The first few times can be challenging, but once you get a hang of it, you will be an expert. If you aren’t sure, you can ask a family member to help you with it. For example, the other person can hold the ferret and you can clean the ears although that situation can be pretty crowded. Ferret’s ears are very small so it is better for one person to do it.

But, if you aren’t sure or you want to see it yourself for the first time, you can ask someone for help. If you have a friend who has ferrets you can ask him to show you how to clean ferret ears. You can do the same with your veterinarian.


What If You Push The Cotton Swab Too Deep?

By pushing a cotton swab too deep you can damage your ferret’s eardrum. Your ferret will experience pain in that ear and the only thing you can do in that situation is hurry to the animal hospital so the veterinarian can determine the seriousness and the damage.

Why Do My Ferret’s Ears Smell?

If you can smell your ferret’s ears, it means it is time to clean them. Also, if the smell is rather strong, it can be a sign of an infection so make sure to check with the vet for the next steps.

How Do You Treat A Ferret’s Ear Infection?

It doesn’t matter what type of infection your ferret has, you shouldn’t treat it without visiting the veterinarian. The vet will examine your ferret and determine which medicine is best for him. Most of the time you will have to apply medicine to your ferret’s ear to treat the infection. Your vet will give you a prescription for the medicine so don’t buy it yourself.

What Causes Ear Mites In Ferrets?

Your ferret can get ear mites from another animal or from going outside. They are very similar to fleas in that particular situation so read my post about ferret flea treatment.


Keeping your ferret healthy means keeping his ears clean too, so don’t forget about your ferret ear cleaning routine! Do you have some other way to clean your ferret’s ears? Share it with us in the comments below the post and subscribe to the Friendly Ferret newsletter today!

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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