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:

  1. 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].
  2. Make sure the water is warm enough for your ferret. This will help keep your ferret calm during bath time.
  3. Support your ferret while it's in the tub. This will help it feel secure [source: Drs. Foster and Smith].
  4. 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].
  5. 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].
  6. Dry your ferret off with a towel, or let it roll around to dry itself off [source: Drs. Foster and Smith].
  7. 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].
  8. 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].