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Splish, Splash, There’s A Ferret In The Bath!

What do ferret owners look for in shampoo and how do their ferrets like baths?

Our Reader’s Choice poll puts the spotlight on ferrets and shampoo. What do ferret owners look for and how do their ferrets like baths? Read on to find out!

A wide variety of Reader’s Choice volunteers responded to this poll. The group was 70 percent female and 30 percent male. Their ages ranged from 21 to 73, with the highest percent of respondents (44%) from those in their 50s. They represent 13 states and have owned ferrets from 1 to 24 years.

How often do you bathe your ferret?
52% Five time or less per year
12% When needed
12% Six times per year 
6% Five to six times per year 
6% 8 times per year 
6% 17 times per year 
6% 26 times per year

What factor is most important to you when choosing a shampoo for your ferret?
70% Safety
12% Price  
6%  Brand  
6% Natural ingredients  
6%  Recommended by other owners

What factor is most important to you when using a shampoo on your ferret?
36% Safety
30% Rinses easily
13% Leaves ferret smelling clean
13% Ferret likes it 
4% Good lather 
4% Gentle

Have you ever tried a waterless shampoo or wipes for bathing your ferret?
75% No
25% Yes
(Those who used wipes said that they were good for between baths, but not a bath substitute.)

How does your ferret seem to view getting wet (whether playing in the water dish, visiting a lake, etc.)?
47% My ferret dislikes getting wet
35% My ferret likes getting wet
18% I have multiple ferrets with different reactions to getting wet

How does your ferret seem to view getting a bath?
58% My ferret dislikes getting a bath
30% My ferret likes getting a bath
12% I have multiple ferrets with different reactions to getting a bath

How many different brands of pet shampoo have you tried?
41% One brand
23% Two brands
18% Three brands
12% Four brands 
6% Several brands

What do you consider to be the best shampoo for your ferret?
29% Marshall’s brand
23% Johnson’s Baby Shampoo
12% Unnamed ferret-specific shampoo
12% Several unnamed brands 
6% Zoomed brand 
6% Hartz brand 
6% Ferret Glow-It 
6% Milksheen

Now for the fun part. Anyone who’s ever given a ferret a bath knows that strange things can happen. Several respondents shared stories about escapades that occurred while bathing their ferrets.

Twiggy, my first ferret, loved her bath so much that she would lie over the drain to try to stop the water from going out. She would just lie in the sink and enjoy her warm bath. She also loved to swim in the garden tub when I put her in for the final rinse.
— Deanna Penzkofer, Arizona

We three live in a small apartment where all we have is a shower stall. When I take a shower either Bucky, Buckette or both climb into the shower with me. Afterward, they want to get into their drying drawer, which is a spare drawer of the dresser where I keep old towels they use to burrow down into and dry themselves off. After I shave each morning, they want to get into the sink where the water has been. I indulge them, one at a time.
— Robert Gailor, Florida

I have several tips and learning experiences to share:
1) Never let the ferret know you intend to give her a bath — she will disappear! If the ferret doesn’t know she is on the schedule, she will be right there at the door wanting to get in and help whoever is getting the bath

2) We give showers because we don’t have a tub and because the whole bathroom gets wet when we try to give a bath in the sink (although we have given sink baths to sick ones)

3) Make sure the ferret goes potty before the bath; they will either poop on your toes or they will hold it and go right to the litter box when let out — then you’ll have to start the bath over

4) Don’t clip claws right before you bathe; fresh-cut claws will scratch you much worse than unclipped, sharp claws

5) Do all the prep work beforehand. I always drop the bottle of shampoo in some hot water in the sink for about 10 minutes to warm it up, that way the ferret is not shocked by the cold spritz; then I toss the drying towel into the dryer to get it nice and toasty warm for when we get out to dry

6) Make sure you get the water temperature right; Cody used to open his mouth and pant if the water was too hot. Watch their behavior — they’ll shiver if they are cold, so make them comfortable

7) While you’re at it, go ahead and use a syringe bulb to wash out the ears several times with warm water to aid in the cleaning process

8) Right after the shower, we use the Q-tip ear cleaners and clip the claws. We offer healthy treats after each task.— Susan E. Jones, Texas  I tried doing four or five at once one time, in the bathtub, and they all started trying to jump out or climb up my arms at once. Not a good idea!
— Laurie Schubert, Ohio

My fuzzbutts love to snorkel. It’s so funny to watch them blow bubbles and try to swim underwater like their cousins the otters. They love playing in the water and get a little huffy when water time is over and they have to actually get bathed — then it’s a scramble to see who can get out first and hide under the towels.
— Cindy Michou, Alaska

One of my ferrets, Fizban, does not enjoy a bath. He was a pet store ferret and they bathed them one or two times a week. He would panic if I took him to the bathroom and began to run water. His tail would poof and he would hide. So I filled the bathroom sink with a small amount of the baby shampoo, making him a ferret bubble bath. I then filled a regular dishpan with clean, warm rinse water. I carefully bathed him in the soapy water and then rinsed him in the clean water. He was much more relaxed for this process. He loves drying off in a pile of dry warm towels as much as his ferret friends enjoy the water!
— Kristen Elsey, Mississippi

The first time I bathed my very first ferret, Daisy, she escaped from the tub and managed to get up under the bathroom cabinet. I lived in an apartment at the time and had no idea if she was in the floorboards or if she would wind up in someone else’s apartment. I pried the board off the front of the cabinet and managed to get her out. Luckily there was no place for her to go.
— Lisa Staffeldt, New York

Whether your ferret is a water-lover or water-hater, we hope this poll gave you some insights into what other ferret owners experience when facing their pet’s need for a bath.

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Reader Comments
I find my fuzzies love water...that is until we start the bathing! Give them a water bowl and they are thrilled!! Start a tub and watch them run!!
Robin, Baltimore, MD
Posted: 2/17/2014 10:07:47 AM
i have six ferrets and 2 of them love baths and the other 4 don't i give them separate baths in the sink i always make sure they poop first because I've had several incidents where they've pooped in the water and i have had to start over.
Windy, Bokoshe, OK
Posted: 5/12/2008 6:14:15 PM
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