Friday, April 2, 2010

Bathing A Ferret

It’s Friday, folks, the best day of the week as far as I’m concerned. It’s the start of the weekend, and a chance to share more information about ferrets, which have fast become one of my favourite pets; right up there with cats and dogs.


Seeing that you’re all here, eager and waiting to hear what the topic of the week is, I may as well get right to the point. Today I’m going to write about bathing a ferret. You heard right; today’s ferrety Friday is all about bathing your little fuzzy.

Now, before I get into some details of this chore, there are a couple of things that I must stress:

1) Ferrets do not need to be bathed regularly. And not only do they not need to be bathed regularly; they shouldn’t be. Washing them too often will strip oils from their body, which will dry out the skin; this will make your ferret itchy and uncomfortable.

2) Bathing does not reduce the unique body odor of ferrets; it actually makes it worse. The body will increase the production of oils (that’s what causes the musky odor) to compensate for the oils that the bath removed. Therefore, your ferret will smell worse for awhile after you’ve washed him.

If your ferret gets really dirty, obviously you’ll have to wash him immediately. But aside from that, I wouldn’t recommend bathing him more than once every three months; preferably only twice a year.

Here’s how:

Gather The Supplies

Before you bring your fuzzy into the bathtub, sink or wherever you’ve decided to wash him, make sure all your supplies are gathered and ready to use. The items you’ll need are:

1) Shampoo – Many sources of information will recommend using a shampoo specific to ferrets. And while I agree that it’s a good idea, it’s not necessary. Along with a ferret shampoo, a shampoo for kittens and a no-tears baby shampoo are also great choices.

2) Towels – When it’s time to dry your ferret, any old towels will do. If you have old bath towels, reserve them for your fuzzies. There’s no need to buy expensive pet-specific towels from a pet store; whatever you have on hand is fine. You may want to throw the towels into the dryer before your fuzzy’s bath time; warm towels will help him heat up faster after being washed.

Use Warm Water

A ferret’s body temperature is higher than that of humans, so if the water temperature in the bathtub feels lukewarm or cool to you, it will be much colder for your pet. Make sure that the water is warm so your ferret doesn’t get cold. Keeping him warm will also keep him comfortable, which in turn will keep him calm as you try to bathe him.

Make Your Fuzzy Feel Comfortable And Secure

A tub is slippery under a ferret’s little feet, so begin by laying down a towel across the bottom of the tub to provide him with sure footing. Once that’s done, fill the tub with water that is high enough to cover him until his neck as he stands on all fours, and place your fuzzy inside. Make sure you support your pet’s body as you wash him by placing a hand under him. Taking the necessary steps to help your fuzzy feel comfortable and secure will make bath time easier. If you don’t, your ferret will be frightened. And a frightened ferret might claw, scratch or bite as it attempts to climb out of the tub.

Lather Him Up

When you lather him up, make sure to massage the shampoo deep into your ferret’s coat to get him as clean as possible. Be careful not to get any shampoo in the ears, eyes or mouth; rinse immediately with warm water should this happen. After you’re done washing, rinse your ferret thoroughly; shampoo left on your ferret’s body will dry out the skin and cause irritation, which will in turn cause itchiness and the need for excessive scratching.

Dry Him Off

When bath time is over, take your fuzzy out of the tub and gently towel dry him. When you’re done, wrap him up in the towels and place him on the floor. He will burrow inside the towels, rolling around in them, as he tries to dry himself. Keep him warm until he’s no longer wet.

Bathing a ferret is very simple thing to do, and if you’re really fortunate, your pet might be the type of ferret that enjoys taking baths and playing in the water. No matter how he feels about being bathed, remember to keep him comfortable and secure while you wash him, speak to him gently during the process and give him a lot of affection when it’s all over. And remember to never leave your ferret alone in the bathtub; he might injure himself.

That’s all there is to it folks. Let’s wrap up with the furry tribe.


Very funny, Bailey.


It’s shocking how easily you throw Bailey under the bus. Maybe I’ll start with you instead, you little wench!

Have you got something to say this week, Nacho?

Is that right? Maybe I should start with you, Nacho...


  1. Hi Martha girl and gang : )
    Bathing is a touchy subject eh ? I am still trying to get Emma brushed for goodness sake .. Sophie loves her brushing but Emma not so much .
    I think a video clip of bathing the little rascals there would be GREAT ? haha
    PS .. looks like Nacho is recovering VERY well : )

  2. More great information, Martha. I've never bathed a ferret, but our dogs were never too crazy about bathtime. It was a chore that we all dreaded, but necessary since dogs usually do love to roll in unspeakably gross things. Thanks for another fine ferret post!

  3. Joy, we haven't bathed the ferrets yet; I'm waiting for a nice warm day to do it. They don't need it, really, but I'd like to just give them one now in the spring to freshen them up. As for Nacho, we'll probably give her one some time in the summer. And she'll probably hate us for a few days :)

    Yes, she is recovering nicely. She's back to her old nutty self!

    Beth, I've never bathed a dog, although I can imagine it would be quite a chore, especially with a big dog. A have bathed cats in the past, but only once or twice a year. And let me tell you, it's an experience you'll never forget. A cat will go absolutely psycho in the bath :)