There have been some misconceptions about how often ferrets should take a bath. As much as they clean up themselves, they still smell awful due to the oil they produce from their skin. So, does bathing take away the smell?
The truth is bathing will make the skin produce more oil. So, their musky scent may increase a few days after bathing them.
So, can you give ferrets baths? Yes, ferrets need bathing.
The rule of thumb says a maximum of 1 bath per month. Ferrets have sensitive skin, so regular bathing could make their skin dry out.
Now, let’s learn more about ferrets and bathing.
Well, if you have taken that leap to adopt a ferret, one thing you need to get used to is their scent. This scent might seem awful to many, especially if this is your first time owning a ferret.
But, it does not go away. Ferrets produce scents from their anal glands and their musk glands. The anal glands are located near the anus and are used for marking territory. These glands are often removed from ferrets that are sold in pet shops.
Their musk glands are located on the neck and are the major contributor to ferrets’ odor. If you smell the face of the ferret, you will get the best idea of how your ferret smells naturally.
For some, this might be an awful smell. Most people get used to the smell with time. Come to think of it, every animal has its natural funny-smelling scent−whether nice or bad. The same applies to ferrets, too.
All ferrets smell unique depending on the ferret’s age and health status. Sadly, bathing does not help.
Bathing can worsen the issue. Bathing bolsters the musk gland in producing more oil. And the more the oil, the more they smell.
While in the short term, bathing may seem like an appropriate method but not effective in the long run. However, this should not stop you from bathing your ferret if she gets herself into something slimy.
You are faced with so many reasons why you need to bathe your ferret.
As we said earlier, you should not bathe your ferret more than once a month. They are not like humans or dogs, and regular bathing could cause health complications.
Apart from the major contributor of ferret odor, the anal glands and musk glands. What other things could tempt you to bathe your ferret?
Another major contributor to ferret odor is their hormone. If your ferret is not spayed or neutered, it smells worse than the oil-producing musk gland.
When a male ferret has reached his breeding season, it stinks badly. Not only do they produce more oil this time, but they also rub themselves with their urine to make them more attractive.
At this point, you might be tempted to bathe them. But, the best option is to neuter or spay at the point of adoption. This will take care of 90% of the odor.
Proper care of your ferret determines her health. When it comes to bathing your ferret, you would need a special shampoo formulated for ferrets or kittens.
Avoid using dish soap or human soap as these products are harsh and could result in an allergic or pH imbalance in your ferret.
Also, avoid shampoos with added chemicals or scents. Ferrets are sensitive to substances, and harsh shampoos could cause some respiratory issues.
Make sure you rinse the body of your ferret thoroughly to remove all the soap. You can also use a ferret-specific conditioner but must again be rinsed out properly.
Avoid using leave-in conditioners on your ferret.
Once you are done, apply a few drops of baby oil on your palm with a little water quantity for a final touch on the body. Some ferret owners may apply apple-cider vinegar (Avoid white vinegar) to the rinse water to restore the ferret’s body’s natural pH.
If you are new to keeping pets, like a ferret, it is high time you got to know the best way to bathe your little buddy. One thing to know about animals is that they do not enjoy taking a bath the first few times.
So, you might experience some rejection when you pour water on their body. Well, this applies to almost all animals.
Consider the following when bathing your ferret.
Monitor the water temperature
The temperature of the water you planned to use to bathe your ferret should be of priority. Ferret’s body temperature is between 38oC-39oC, so what feels warm to humans might not be warm to your ferret.
You would need to balance the temperature accordingly. Use water that is close to when you are taking a hot bath.
Ferret Bathing Product
As mentioned earlier, do not bathe your ferrets with shampoos or bathing products meant for humans. This is because those products are harsh and contain strong chemicals that your ferret may be allergic to.
Also, the pH level of those products does not match the pH of your ferret.
The Body of Your Ferret
After bathing your ferret, ensure you thoroughly rinse the body with clean water. Shampoo can reside in hidden corners, such as the armpit.
Failing to get all of the shampoo out can cause irritation or dryness on the skin. Once you are done bathing, make sure you wipe their body with a towel.
This is to ensure they are dry to avoid them getting cold.
Brush Their Teeth
Teeth brushing is another routine you would need to carry out every 1-2 weeks to avoid tooth damage due to tooth decay. There are a variety of toothbrushes you can purchase to make the process a whole lot easier.
Clean Their Ears
Cleaning their ears should occur every 1-2 weeks. They are safe cleaning solutions that you can easily purchase online.
Dip a cotton swab in the solution and clean the ears slightly and gently.
What happens if I bathe my ferret too frequently?
Bathing strips your ferret of the ability to produce oil, and when this happens, the skin dries out. When they dry out, the body becomes itchy, causing cracks, which makes your ferret uncomfortable.
The dry skin becomes brittle and porous, thus opening holes for infections to get in. At this point, your ferret would want to compensate for the dry skin by producing more oil, and the more oil they produce, the smellier they become.
So, it would be necessary for you to stick to the standard of bathing once a month
Can ferrets get cold after a bath?
Yes, Ferrets can be cold after a bath. That is why it is recommended that you use a towel to wipe them dry before keeping them back in the cage.
Although you cannot get rid of ferret odors, you can help manage them. Well, I have ferrets, and I am used to their scent.
Nevertheless, avoid bathing regularly at all costs.