Ferrets are small, playful animals that make great pets. Routine ferret-care includes keeping the cage clean and disinfected [source: HSUS] and proper medical treatment, including vaccinations [source: AAHA]. Ferrets secrete an odor, even though they groom themselves [source: Drs. Foster and Smith], so bathing your ferret is an important part of keeping it clean.
Ferrets need to be bathed once a month. Too many baths can dry out a ferret's coat, cause discomfort, and actually increase the odor by causing the sweat and oil glands to work harder [source: Drs. Foster and Smith]. Here's how to bathe and groom a ferret:
- Get the bath supplies together before you start. You should never leave your ferret unsupervised in the tub while you run to get something [source: Drs. Foster and Smith].
- Make sure the water is warm enough for your ferret. This will help keep your ferret calm during bath time.
- Support your ferret while it's in the tub. This will help it feel secure [source: Drs. Foster and Smith].
- Wash your ferret with special shampoo, making sure to keep the shampoo out of its ears, mouth and eyes [source: AAHA]. Pay special attention to the tail, rear and abdomen, as these areas tend to be the smelliest [source: Drs. Foster and Smith].
- Check your ferret for fleas and skin conditions while it's in the bath. It'll be easier to detect these problems when its hair is wet [source: Drs. Foster and Smith].
- Dry your ferret off with a towel, or let it roll around to dry itself off [source: Drs. Foster and Smith].
- Clean out your ferret's ears with a cotton swab dipped in special cleanser every few weeks [source: HSUS], and check it for ear mites weekly [source: AAHA].
- Clip your ferret's nails at least once every other week, to avoid splintering and breaking. Use a regular nail clipper to trim its nail to within in 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) of the quick [source: AAHA].
Cleaning your ferret includes cleaning its cage:
- Clean the litter box daily.
- Clean up any spills and left over food daily. As well, clean and disinfect the food and water dishes daily.
- Clean and disinfect the cage and all its accessories once a week [source: Nash].