Ferret Bathing – The Complete Guide

While ferrets look intelligent and social, their musky smell is a downright turnoff. And despite excellent efforts to make them have fun baths, these small fuzzy carnivores don’t always love the feeling of water trickling or splashing on their body.

So how will you keep the little friend clean all day long? Read this complete guide to the end for a step-by-step process on how to give a ferret a heartwarming bath that guarantees a positive experience.

Also Read: How to Teach Your Ferret to Swim?

But First, Why Do You Even Need to Bathe a Ferret?

Ferrets have anal glands that produce musky-scented oil. However, the anal smell is only prevalent when the furry critter feels frightened or stressed. The scent is also frequent in their excretions.

Additionally, the sebaceous glands in the skin of ferrets produce oily substances with sharp musky-scent. Without proper grooming, the gunk layers up to form piles with a pronounced smell.

Vets recommend bathing ferrets once a month to shed the greasy smelly substance. when you clean the skin properly, the coat becomes more aerated, reducing the musky odor.

However, unlike cats and dogs, bathing ferrets regularly does more harm than favor, as it sheds off the upper oily layer, exposing the sebaceous glands. This way, the oil-producing glands become more active, producing even more gunk to cater for what has been lost.

Additionally, regular bathing makes the ferret’s coat dry and itchy, making them feel uncomfortable, stressed, and even smellier.

Ferret’s Bathe Temperature

A few things matter when bathing a ferret pretty much like the temperature of the bathwater. The body temperature of your pet should range between 100 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything colder than that will make the small buddy shake and shiver, hence becoming more stressed.

For an ideal bath, keep the temperature warmer, just like the one you would want to bathe with. Something lukewarm (105 to 115 Degrees Fahrenheit) is preferred since it is not too hot to cause trauma or too cold and shivers.

How to Bathe a Ferret?

If you have bathed a cat, bathing a ferret should not be any daunting. Follow these few steps, and you’ll see your pet glow in just one bath.

– Step 1: Pick the required items

Below are few items that you’ll need for the success of this process:

  • Ferret shampoo: Ferret shampoo is ideal since it is specifically made for ferrets. It doesn’t make the skin too dry, neither does it cause discomfort. However, if you suspect fleas infestation on your pet, use a special flea-killing shampoo.
  • Conditioner: Ferret conditioner replenishes the oil layers that you are going to scrub off your pet. Whatever you choose to work with should also not irritate or cause discomfort to your beloved pet.
  • Towel: A towel is going to be more useful for drying the small buddy after it is done bathing. Shedding the oil layer exposes ferrets to cold. And since they get cold quickly, you may need to place the towel in a dryer to spruce the process up.

– Step 2: Lower the pet slowly into the tub

One thing is for sure; your pet won’t like water, especially when it is its first time bathing. Therefore, keep it as comfortable as possible, and prevent it from feeling nervous.

Using two hands, support the pet’s body completely, then slowly submerge the pet until the water level reaches its chest area. Some ferret toys can help to distract attention and make the pet feel relaxed and normal about the whole ordeal.

In case the water is too deep, run off some water. The feet of your pet should touch the floor of the tab, while still keeping the water level at the chest area. Finally, let it stand on its four feet as you prepare for the next process.

– Step 3: Shampoo the coat

Gently splash some water over the coat of your pet from head to tail. Once the body is all wet, run a thin layer of shampoo on the ferret’s coat and start massaging gently. Extend the massages to the head area, lower abdomen, to the tail. Pay close attention to the eye, making sure that the shampoo doesn’t cover them.

– Step 4: Rinse and condition

Immediately you are done shampooing the whole body, drain your tub and refill it with clean water. Run a faucet over the back and tail areas of your pet to drain off the shampoo. Then use your hand to scoop some water and rinse the head carefully, ensuring that the shampoo doesn’t run into your pet’s eyes.

Do not leave any shampoo to overstay on the skin as it will make the coat dry out. Once you are done rinsing all the shampoo, apply a conditioner and rinse.

– Step 4: Drying your ferret

The towel should be clean and right from the dryer to rescue the now aggravated ferret. In gentle rubs, run the towel over the coat of your pet. However, if the pet is reluctant, free it to self-dry, only that, you’ll have to keep focus to prevent the pet from rolling on the floor.

Why do Ferrets Go Crazy after a Bath?

After the bath, expect the pet to behave oddly; right from shaking funnily, running around, to rolling on the floor multiple times. It does this for several reasons.

Even after drying the coat with a towel, your pet would wish to attain an extra level of dryness. As such, it will shake its body weirdly to remove the remaining water molecules that are still lurking in its fur.

A ferret can also roll on the floor to release the unfamiliar scent from the bathing ingredients. This behavior is more prevalent especially when it is its first bathing session.

Also, a ferret can behave oddly to release nervous energy that results from post-bath hyperactivity. To some extent, the skin may itch, so expect that too.

Why Does My Ferret Hate Baths?

Some ferrets enjoy bathes, while some hate it. Generally, ferrets hate baths since water makes their fur heavier and uncomfortable. For this reason, vets recommend that you thoroughly dry the pet’s fur so that it doesn’t have to self-dry.

When bathing yours, do not prolong the session. Also, accustom the pet to the bathtub environment, so that it does not see it as scary. Lastly, lure the pet inside every time and make it feel relaxed when bathing.


Bathing a ferret should not be a fighting experience. Before immersing your pet in the water, make sure that it is relaxed enough and less nervous. Also, be as quick as possible since ferrets get cold quickly. The whole bathing process should not take more than four minutes.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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