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How to Bathe a Ferret–Important Steps

How to Bathe a Ferret–Important Steps 

When to Bathe Your Ferrethow to bathe a ferret

Before we get into how to bathe a ferret, it is important to know when to bathe a ferret.

Many ferret owners love their pets but get frustrated by their smell, which can be quite strong. Bathing ferrets can be a good way to combat odor. Ferrets should not be bathed more than once every 3 months. Bathing a ferret too often can actually make the smell worse. Bathing strips oils from a ferret’s skin and oil glands go into overdrive to replace it. This results in even more odor! Ferrets can become itchy and uncomfortable when bathed too often, as well. If your ferret is scratching frequently, you might want to cut back on how often you’re bathing her.

Ferret smells are actually more often related to a ferret’s bedding, cage, and blankets than to the ferret himself. Try washing these items before bathing your ferret to rule them out as the primary cause of odor. For more info on ferret odor, see this article about getting rid of ferret smells.

How to Bathe a Ferret–Important Steps

Before starting the bathing process, you may find it helpful to get her used to water first. If your ferret doesn’t like water, first let her play in the sink or tub without water, so she gets used to being in the place where she will be bathed. When she seems to feel comfortable in the tub or sink, turn the faucet on just a little bit and let her explore the water. Give her licks of Ferretone, or another healthy treat as you gradually get her wet. Many ferrets love to play in the water, and some even like to swim!

Have the Right Supplies and Have Everything Ready

Choosing the right supplies for bathing your ferret is extremely important. All your supplies should be ready before you bring your ferret to the tub or sink.  Don’t expect your ferret to sit quietly while you go get a towel. Be sure you NEVER LEAVE YOUR FERRET IN WATER UNATTENDED! One of my ferrets used to like to play in the tube and swim around while I gave her a bath. I filled the tub full enough so it was deep enough for her to swim. But as she got older, it was as though she forgot how to swim. I would put her in the tub and she would just stand there and sink to the bottom! I had to reach in immediately and pull her out before she drowns!

How to Bathe a Ferrethow to bathe a ferret

To bathe a ferret, you will need:

  1. A sink or tub
  2. Warm water–about the temperature you would use to take a bath yourself. Be sure it is not too hot or too cold.  Fill the tub or sink with a few inches of water. Be sure your ferret can reach the bottom of the tub or sink and be able to keep her head above the water. You don’t want to force her to have to swim if she doesn’t want too.
  3. Ferret Shampoo–Choose a shampoo specifically made for ferrets. Shampoos made for other animals can easily dry out a ferret’s skin and fur. Depending on your ferret’s needs, and your preferences, select a shampoo that’s right for her. Need some suggestions? See these recommended shampoos.
  4. Ferret Conditioner (optional)–Ferret conditioner replenishes the oils lost in bathing. Again, be sure to select a conditioner specifically made for ferrets.  This conditioner smells great!
  5. A towel–Ferrets get cold quickly, so you may want to put the towel in the dryer before the bath so it’s warm to the touch afterward. If you want to get a fast-drying and absorbent towel to dry your ferret, these towels are a great choice.

Make sure the water temperature is okay.

A ferret’s normal body temperature is between 101 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Water that feels lukewarm to you is cold for a ferret. Fill the tub or sink with water that is warm to the touch but not boiling. Go for the water temperature you would want when taking a hot bath.

Keep your ferret comfortable.

Before lowering your ferret into the tub or sink, make sure he is comfortable and supported so she’ll be less nervous during the actual bath.

  • Make sure your hands are supporting her feet or they are resting on the bottom of the sink or tub.
  • Make sure the water is not too deep. Hold the ferret up above water if she seems distressed and drain some of the water until she is relaxed. Ideally, your ferret should only be submerged up to her chest.
  • Your ferret’s feet may slip on the floor of a bath or sink. Consider using a rubber so she can stand steady and therefore feel safe
  • Having some of your ferret’s favorite toys in the water can help her relax during the bath, as well.

Shampoo your ferret.

Be careful not to get shampoo in your ferret’s eyes. Some shampoo can really sting, and your ferret won’t forget it. Some ferrets like the taste of shampoo. If yours does, try to prevent her from licking it as too much can make her sick. After getting your ferret in the water, you can begin the process of shampooing the to bathe a ferret

  • First, get your ferret thoroughly wet. You can do this by gently splashing water on her sides, running the faucet over her, or using a measuring cup to pour water over her back, head, and tail.
  • Run the shampoo bottle under warm water before applying it to your ferret. Ferrets get cold easily and you want to make sure the shampoo is slightly warmer than room temperature.
  • Apply a thin line of shampoo down your ferret’s back and massage the shampoo deep into the ferret’s coat. Be particularly diligent about washing her tail and tummy, as these are areas where oils build up and increase odor.
  • Keep one hand on your ferret while you wash her to make her feel safe and prevent her from move around too much.

Rinse your ferret thoroughly.

If you’re bathing your ferret in standing water, drain the tub before beginning the rinsing process. Leaving shampoo in can cause your ferret’s skin to dry out.

  • Refill the tub with fresh warm and rinse the shampoo out of your ferret’s coat.
  • Rinse her head carefully with your hand. Do not pour water directly on her head as soap may run into her eyes.
  • If possible, use a faucet during the rinsing process as this can better rinse the shampoo out of your ferret’s fur.
  • If you’re choosing to condition your ferret’s coat, repeat this process with conditioner after rinsing the shampoo from her coat.

Dry your ferret with a clean, absorbent towel.

  • Wrap your ferret in a towel and gently rub her fur. Expect that your ferret will not tolerate too much drying. You do not need to get her completely dry. An absorbent microfiber pet towel works faster than regular towels. 

Allow your ferret to dry herself.

After a bath, your ferret will want to try to dry herself by rubbing her fur on warm, soft, and dry surfaces.

  • Choose a drying space for your ferret and lay down clean towels or blankets for her to dry herself on.
  • You should keep her in a confined area while drying. You don’t want her drying herself on a dirty surface and wasting the bath! I learned this the hard way. Many of my ferrets love to dig around in dirt any chance they get–especially the dirt in large potted plants. Although it may look adorable, it is frustrating to see your ferret’s face covered in dirt as she looks up from a potted plant right after a bath!
  • Don’t be surprised if your ferret starts bouncing around, full of energy after a bath. Like many animals, ferrets have a natural instinct to get dry fast. Running around and burrowing under towels and blankets is an effective way to dry off.

Make sure the ferret’s cage, bedding, toys, and litter are clean. Bathing your ferret provides a good opportunity to clean her blankets, bedding, toys, and cage.

You want to make sure you clean everything BEFORE you give your ferret a bath. You don’t want your nice clean ferret stepping in a dirty litter box and cuddling up in a not too fresh bed.

Want more information on how to remove ferret odor, see this article.

Being prepared and following the Important steps on How to Bathe a Ferret, detailed here, will help you and your ferret have less stress during bath time. It may even be fun!

Your comments are welcome.

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22 thoughts on “How to Bathe a Ferret–Important Steps

  1. What a great post on how to bathe a ferret. Interesting, information written in a nice way. Over bathing is not good, I didn’t know that.
    Thanks’for the tips

    1. Thanks for your comment, Stefan.

  2. What an awesome article. My son just got a ferret and I think he’s crazy, but it’s good to know there are so many products available, and directions for things like giving a ferret a bath. Of course, he’s not going to look these things up, but I’m very happy to have found your site! Thanks so much!

    1. Thanks, Maria!
      I hope your son has educated himself on the proper care and needs of a ferret. Ferrets require a lot of attention and special care, food, and environment. If he is not knowledgeable about all these things, I hope you will encourage him to visit my site and review some of the topics. It is only right for a ferret to be cared for responsibly and correctly. Some of the articles you may want to refer your son to are Best Ferret Food, Ferret Cage Accessories, Ferret Care Tips

  3. we used to have a ferret and it was smelly but I never felt confident to bathe him as he was pretty active, starting when they are young sounds good. Also, I didn’t realise you could get shampoos made especially for ferrets, I am guessing this would be gentler on their skin than human shampoo.

    1. Hi Jan
      Shampoos made for ferrets typically are healthier for their skin and fur and some are deodorizing–which can really make a difference!

  4. I didn’t know that ferrets prefer warmer water than humans! You really know your stuff on ferrets and you have provided a great guide on how to bathe these little creatures. Great choices for shampoo and towels too!

    1. Thanks, Dan! Stop by anytime!

  5. Hi Sandra! So many great tips! Thanks!
    I don’t have a ferret, but one never knows right? Especially when I have a precocious niece staying with me. Haha

    I will take note of this page, just in case.

    Meanwhile, I can see this post as very useful for those who do have ferrets. So many things I am sure not many people know. And I believe they love their ferret friend, and something as essential as taking a bath should be known, especially how to do it right.

    Thanks again! 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by Ferretlovers, Timotheus.

  6. Hi Sandra, you have a very nice, unique, and easy to navigate website. To have a whole site dedicated to ferrets shows your love for them and I think that’s great. I had one friend who had a ferret growing up. One thing I found really interesting about your article was that ferrets shouldn’t be bathed more than once every 3 months. That just seems crazy to me! This article was very informative & if I come to meet someone who owns a ferret, I might be able to give them some good advice thanks to your website. Great job Sandra & keep up the great work.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Andrew! Come back and visit anytime!

  7. I love your entire web site.

    I have a grand-daughter who keeps telling me she wants a pet ferret. Of course she has been bugging her mom and dad for one as well. Her mom and I have been talking back and forth about a first pet. I was reading over on your main page looking for some information about ferrets and small children. My grand-daughter is six years old. She is good around small pets… my wife and I have a 10 lbs yorkie-poo and she is very gentle with him and respectful as well.

    HOWEVER, I still can’t help but feel a little skeptical about getting her a smaller sized animal like a ferret. Her mom seems to think it is okay…maybe I am just worrying for nothing.

    Any insights you have are welcome. I will also be sharing this page with my grand-daughter and her parents. Lots of good info here I want them too look over before making their decision.

    1. I’m glad you found my site helpful!In regard to your grand-daughter wanting a ferret, I suggest her mom visit ferretlovers and read some of the articles on what is required to care for a ferret. Ferrets require a daily time commitment–quality time. They also require proper housing, food and vet care–a financial commitment.Some children loose interest in their pets after awhile. Ferrets are pets that do not do well without lots of daily love and attention. I recommend the following articles as a starting point, “How much time should a ferret spend in and out of cage?”, “What is the best ferret food”, “Ferret care tips”.

  8. Hi Sandra,
    This is a great article. I will have to send my daughter to your site. She is wanting a ferret and you are so knowledgable. I didn’t realize there were specific ferret shampoos and conditioners. I like the tip about putting some rubber down so they don’t slip while you are giving them bath. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

    1. I’m happy you enjoyed the article on How to Bathe a Ferret! If you or your daughter have any questions about ferrets, feel free to let me know and I will try to help.

  9. Hi Sandra,

    Wow ferrets have their own shampoo and conditioner! I didn’t know that. Such an interesting post and a fun one too. I loved it. Those little creatures really do have a great life.

    I am waiting one day for a celebrity ferret with his or her own brand of shampoo now haha! Keep up the brilliant work,


    1. Funny, Kev! I’m glad you enjoyed the article on How to Bathe a Ferret!

  10. This is great information. My husband has always wanted a ferret. I love the pictures, are they all yours? I love how you layed this out in a step by step process with recommendations for products. I never knew you should warm the shampoo before applying.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Candice. These particular ferrets are not mine. Mine won’t hold still long enough to get a good picture in the tub!

  11. Oh my goodness! I have lots of animals and never thought of a ferret as a pet; however, after seeing that beyond adorable picture of your ferret in the bath tub, my heart has melted. I noticed on one of your other pages, you talked about the possibility of getting a ferret from a shelter. Any idea how to go about finding shelters? Thanks.

    1. Hi Anita,
      I’m so happy you a are considering adopting a ferret from a shelter! Depending where you live, there are a number of options. See Where Can I Buy a Ferretfor more info. Also, please take a look at some of my other articles before you decide to add a ferret to your family, such as Ferret Care Tips and Are Ferret sGood Pets?.

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