Keeping a ferrets teeth and gums clean is more
than just for cosmetic reasons. Ferrets are very capable of getting
cavities as well as gingivitis. Untreated dental problems can
lead into health problems for your ferret, some life threatening,
which can be avoided.
Untreated dental problems
can lead into the bacteria getting into the bloodstream
causing serious health issues including damage to
the heart, liver, kidneys and lungs.
While the hard kibble does help in breaking up tar, more
assistance will be needed. If your ferret will allow, you can try brushing
their teeth on a regular basis with a toothpaste made for cats/ferrets.
You an use a small child's toothbrush or the finger brushes. You should
have your veterinarian inspect and clean their teeth if needed on a
regular basis. Professional tooth cleaning will involve a small amount
of anesthesia, and scaling of the teeth, often with an ultrasonic scraper.
Older ferrets will most likely need to have this done more often.
It is possible for your ferret to break or chip a tooth,
loose a tooth, get infections, etc. Unless a chipped/broken tooth is
causing problems, there isn't an urgent rush to have it attended to.
Canines are problematic due to the root depths. Lower canines are easier
and safer to remove than uppers. Pulling an upper canine, runs the
risk of a hole forming in the nasal cavity, causing serious medical
issues, as the root goes into the upper jaw. It's a decision that needs
to be made with your veterinarian.
One of my ferrets had a cracked upper canine that had
to be removed. She was having a hard time eating, drinking and was
constantly pawing at her mouth. After examination, we found the tooth
to be cracked from the bottom all the way to the gum line, needing
to be removed. That was in 2001, and she is doing fine with no problems...and
has since been nicknamed Tri-fang. You would never know without looking
that she's missing it.
Keeping your ferrets nailed trimmed is very important
to avoid any injuries or having the ferret possibly pull out
the entire nail bed. Long nails can easily get caught in carpets,
towels, clothing, toys, small openings in the house or even their
cage. Nail clipping should take place every 1-2 weeks.
You should have a sharp pair of nail clippers and
styptic powder on hand and ready to go. Examine the nails pushing
back the surrounding fur. Their nail should appear semi-translucent
with a red line going through it which is the blood vessel known
as the quick, which you should never cut into. Locating the quick,
you should cut slightly above it. If your ferret has dark nails
or you cannot find the vein line, you should have your veterinarian
Ferrets will generally not stay still and allow
you to clip their nails voluntarily, so a little bribery is in
order. You can try applying Ferretvite, Laxatone, Petromalt,
Nutrical, Ferretone, etc to their tummy, and while they are busy
licking away, you have the opportunity to clip away. The will
usually be too busy to notice or pay any attention to what you
You can also try other ways, such as waiting until
they are sound asleep. Most ferrets in a deep sleep will not
wake up while your clipping their nails. You can also try scruffing
them with your mouth, and with your two free hands clip away.
Of course having someone to assist you is always by far the easiest.
No matter which technique is used, the important
thing is that they do get done every 1-2 weeks. If you should
ever cut the quick by accident, your ferret will flinch in pain
and start bleeding. Immediately get the styptic on the nail to
stop the bleeding and always reassure your ferret all is well.
Don't panic, as they will sense that and react.
is important to check and clean your ferrets ears on a regular
basis, as well as check for ear mites on a weekly basis. If
ear mites are found, you can treat with the following medications,
including the flea control products Frontline and Revolution:
actually diluted Ivermectin ear drops. You should use 1 tube
per ear and repeat after 3 weeks.
This is an injectable or topical form of Ivermectin, and
should be repeated in 3 weeks.
Drops. 3 drops per ear twice daily for 10 days, stop 10 days
and repeat another 10 days.
are not very found at having their ears looked into or being
the recipient of drops, so this can be challenging. You can
try applying Ferretvite, Laxatone, Petromalt, Nutrical, Ferretone,
etc to their tummy, and while they are busy licking away, you
can tend to the ear cleaning.
all else fails, you will need to gently restrain the ferret
so you can attend to the task at hand. Holding the ferret in
your arm, position him so that with one arm is supporting the
body with your hand under their neck supporting their face.
With your free hand carefully and gently proceed to place the
q-tip into their ear. The hand supporting the neck should also
be slightly pulling back the ear, providing you clear access.
ferrets ear canal is very delicate, so proceed with caution,
without going too far down. Gently swap the surface area and
a small part of the canal. You should use an ear cleaner which
is readily available in stores.
administering drops, the same technique should be used. Try
and place the drops as quickly as possible and rub their ears
to help it make its way down the ear canal.