Bathing a pet ferret is one of many grooming tasks needed to keep a pet ferret happy and healthy. However, it can often be confusing as to what types of shampoos can be used to bathe a ferret.
In this article, we take a closer look at whether or not you can wash ferrets with dog shampoo and what you should use instead.
Can You Wash Ferrets with Dog Shampoo?
Can you use dog shampoo on your pet ferret? The short answer is no; unfortunately, it is not recommended to wash ferrets with dog shampoo.
Dog shampoo is too harsh and can harm a ferret’s skin and mess with its natural oils.
Can You Wash Ferrets with Puppy Shampoo?
Similar to dog shampoo, puppy shampoo is often too harsh for a ferret. Dog and puppy shampoo contain more powerful chemicals than kitten shampoo or baby shampoo. These harsh detergents can dry out a ferret’s skin, leading to health problems down the road.
Both dog and puppy shampoos should be avoided for ferrets.
What Are the Best Shampoos for Ferrets?
The best shampoos for ferrets are shampoos made specifically for ferrets.
If you cannot find a ferret shampoo, then a kitten shampoo or tearless baby shampoo will also do. These types of shampoos are gentle and a great alternative to ferret shampoo.
Keep in mind that some ferrets are more sensitive than others, so what works for one may not work for another. Some ferrets do just fine with a gentle dog or puppy shampoo, and others have such sensitive skin that only the best ferret shampoo works for them.
Just use what’s best for your individual ferret. A good rule of thumb is to look for shampoos with safe, natural, hydrating ingredients.
Ferrets have sensitive skin, and using ferret shampoo will prevent their skin from damage or drying out. Most ferret shampoos contain enzymes that safely clean, deodorize, and condition a ferret’s coat.
Popular ferret-specific shampoos include Petpost Ferret Shampoo and Marshall Pet Products Brightening Ferret Shampoo.
Human shampoos made specifically for babies are convenient and safe to use to bathe a ferret. Baby shampoo is a mild, gentle shampoo that won’t irritate a ferret’s skin.
Some people have found that baby shampoo helps relieve dry and itchy skin a ferret can sometimes have. Johnson’s Baby Shampoo is probably the most popular brand.
Not a shampoo per se, but an oatmeal bath is another method to bathe ferrets that will relieve dry or irritated skin. It is also a great way to clean ferrets as it is entirely natural and chemical-free!
Oatmeal baths, similar to humans, are great for calming the skin. To give a ferret an oatmeal bath, take colloidal oatmeal and place it in a sock. Place the sock in a bathtub and fill it with water.
Once the water becomes cloudy, you can start bathing your ferret in it. This mixture is a less expensive and simple way to wash a ferret and soothe irritated, dry skin, not strip the natural oils from their body, and leave their fur shiny and soft.
What Shampoos Should Be Avoided for Ferrets?
Dog and human shampoos should be avoided for ferrets unless it’s tearless baby shampoo. These shampoos are generally too harsh for your pet ferret and their sensitive skin.
How Often Should a Ferret Be Bathed?
Ferrets have a musky skin odor that is sometimes considered unpleasant. This characteristic odor comes from sebaceous glands under their skin, which produce a natural oil.
If you bathe a ferret too often, it can not only damage and irritate their skin but also cause increased oil production. This increased oil causes an increase in their musky scent.
The odor increase occurs because when you bathe your ferret, you actually strip it of its natural oils, causing them to produce more.
Bathing a ferret no more than once a month is recommended. Every two to three months is better, or only when your ferret has something on its coat.
In addition, excess exposure to the chemicals in various shampoos can lead to skin damage and skin infections for your pet ferret.
Consult with a Veterinarian
As always, if you are unsure about which products are safe to use on your pet ferret, please check with your local exotic veterinarian.
Washing a Ferret with Dog Shampoo
Overall, it is not a good idea to wash a pet ferret with dog shampoo. It is better to use a shampoo known for its gentle cleansing, such as ferret shampoo, baby shampoo, or an oatmeal bath.
Ferrets have sensitive skin and are prone to dry skin and skin infections. Gentle shampoos and soaps will keep them happy. Taking care of your ferret the right way will help them live a long and happy life.