How to Bathe a Ferret
Ferrets can be stinky critters. Scent glands all over their body produce that musky oil their odor is known for. So, in the interest of making them smell better, many people try to bathe their ferrets.
While it is okay to bathe your ferret, it is important that you do not bathe it too often. Don’t bathe your ferret more than once a month. You’re better off if you bathe him less than that. Bathing too often will actually cause your ferret to stink more. Once his body realizes it is lacking oil in its fur, the ferret will make more. So, unless your ferret rolls around in excrement or a compost pile, it’s best to refrain from bathing your ferret too often.
If you are going to bathe your little guy because it is stinky (and not messy), bathing isn’t the best way to minimize ferret odor. If you really need to bathe your ferret, here’s how.
Pick a good spot to bathe your buddy. What’s the temperature outside and inside your house? If it is winter time and there’s snow on the ground, choose an enclosed, warm area to bathe your ferret, like a small bathroom. If it’s hot outside, your ferret will probably be okay being bathed in a more open area. Depending on the season (and on how many ferrets I need to bathe), I’ve washed these guys in the kitchen sink, a tiny half bathroom, and in the master bathroom.
Put some extra towels on the floor. After you wash, rinse, and dry, your ferret will want to properly dry himself. Put some extra towels on the floor, or clean beds to crawl through, or even your dirty laundry if it isn’t too dirty. Once you dry and put him down, he’ll avail himself of these dry cloths to make himself even dryer.
Use ferret shampoo. Don’t use human shampoo on your ferret. Animal skin is more sensitive than our skin. You can probably get away with kitten or puppy shampoo, but, in my opinion, ferrets smell nicer after a bath with actual ferret shampoo.
Don’t use too much shampoo. Too much shampoo is wasteful and expensive. Use a minimal amount.
Get the ambient temperature right. Like choosing the spot to bathe your ferret, make sure the ambient temperature is nice. If it’s winter time, make sure the room you bathe your ferret in a room that is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Get the temperature right. Your ferret’s body temperature is a few degrees higher than yours, so bath water that is comfortable to you is not-so-warm to your ferret. Adjust the temperature to something that is nice for you, and then make the water just a bit hotter.
Remember, don’t bathe your mustelid too often, and if odor control is your concern, you’re better off changing their bedding more often and cleaning the litter box more often.