Posted: March 1, 2011, 5 a.m. EST
Q: I have two ferrets; one is Rudyard (3 years old) and the other is Jack (1 year). I hate to admit it, but it wasn't until last summer that I started to even attempt cleaning my boys' teeth. I started this because I read that the older a ferret gets the more important it is to have their teeth cleaned up. I also read that twice a week is a pretty good average for teeth cleaning.
Anywho, it's really hard! First, they lick the "toothpaste," and then when I pry open their lips and attempt to scrub, they have a fit! Additionally, when I get too forceful and scrub at their teeth, their gums also bleed (admittedly, this has only happened once). But if I'm not forceful, how do I brush their teeth?
Rudyard really needs a cleaning, and I will probably end up getting them groomed by someone who knows how, but I would like to do it on my own at home.
A: Make sure you use a ferret-safe toothpaste (a pet toothpaste or baby toothpaste without fluoride). Both of these pastes are enzyme-based and don't require brushing to work. This makes it easier to start.
When I brush my ferrets’ teeth, I put a small amount of toothpaste on the brush and let them lick it a bit. Once they like the taste, they start to chew the toothbrush. I don't often "brush" as much as I move the brush around as the ferret is chewing the toothbrush.
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