Learning how to take care of a ferret is not too difficult, though ferrets are not quite as easy as some other pets to care for. If you’re becoming a new ferret owner, you owe it to yourself and your pet to pick up a book or two on ferrets. The pet store or shelter where you select your ferret may have free handouts on ferret care available, but if not, here are some basic care tips:
Grooming and good hygiene are important factors in how to take care of a ferret. Ferrets are naturally clean, like cats, but even descented animals will get smelly after a while. You will want to give your pet a bath once a month or so. Many people bathe their ferrets as often as once a week, but more frequent baths can lead to more oil production and a ferret that gets stinky even faster. You don’t need any special equipment, just a clean sink. Or, take your pet into the shower.
You can use a special ferret shampoo from the pet store, but baby shampoo works fine. Just be sure not to get any in your ferret’s eyes and nose. After your pet is thoroughly rinsed, drying can be left up to the ferret. Lay a few towels on the floor and let your pet roll and wiggle through the towels until it’s dry. Don’t worry about brushing your ferret’s fur afterwards unless it likes being brushed or is shedding heavily.
Cleaning It's Ears
Cleaning a ferret’s ears is a two person job, and you may not feel comfortable doing it unless you have your veterinarian teach you how to do it properly. Nail trimming is usually easier with two people also, one holding and one trimming. While ears don’t need to be cleaned frequently, your ferret will have problems when its nails grow too long and snag on everything. Their nails are thin enough that a regular nail clipper designed for humans will do the job nicely. Just be careful not to cut the nail too short, into the blood vessel showing through the nail. Most ferrets hate having their claws trimmed, so in addition having help, try distracting your pet with treats as you do the clipping.
Don’t forget to check your ferret’s teeth. Ferrets often experience problems with broken or damaged teeth and gums, so if you’re going learn how to take care of a ferret, you have to remember to look in its mouth, at least as often as you give it a bath. Any problems need to be handled by a vet right away.
Fleas can cause ferrets serious problems, including anemia and other illnesses. Caring for your ferret in flea season means checking your pet regularly for fleas and eggs. Keep its bedding and play room clean. To control fleas already on your pet, only use flea medications that are designed for cats, because the ones for dogs can harm ferrets.
The most important tip on how to care for a ferret is to always watch your ferret when it is out of its cage, or only let it play in a secure, ferret-proofed area. Ferrets die frequently from getting stuck, crushed or suffocated in places their owners would never expect them to go. It only takes a moment for a ferret to find its way into a heat vent, a dryer, refrigerator or a pile of laundry that gets tossed into the washer without you realizing your pet is in there too. So look at everything as a potential hazard and never let your ferret out of your sight in an area you haven’t inspected first.
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