If you are planning to get a pet ferret, you might have a question, Do Ferrets Shed? It is very important to consider the shedding factor before you get a pet.
The reason for this is that many times, the shedding can cause allergies in the pet owner. Even though ferrets are considered hypoallergic pets, still they follow a seasonal cycle of shedding.
Moreover, you must keep a watch on your ferret’s shedding and take proper care during the shedding period. Sometimes, excessive shedding can also be a sign of underlying diseases.
So, let’s discuss in detail everything about your ferret’s shedding.
Do Ferrets Shed?
A simple answer to this question is YES, ferrets do shed. Similar to all the other furry mammals, ferrets will also shed.
If you closely observe your ferret, you will see that they have two fur coats, one is the dense fur for keeping them warm. This is referred to as an undercoat. The other fur with longer strands that repels the dirt and covers the undercoat is called guard hair.
Most ferrets will shed during the spring and fall seasons. You can visibly notice more hair loss in spring, as ferrets shed their winter coat.
Apart from this, a healthy ferret will also keep shedding some hair regularly.
A variety of factors can initiate the shedding process, that includes:
- Hormonal changes
- Changes in food pattern
- Seasonal changes
When Do Ferrets Shed?
The ferret’s shedding is seasonal. A ferret will typically shed its coat two times a year, fall and spring.
Ferrets being photosensitive, are largely affected by the changes in the daylight hours. A direct impact of daylight changes can be seen in ferrets, in form of shedding.
Your ferret will start shedding its winter coat as spring approaches. The dense winter coat is replaced by the sleeker coat, suitable for the summer heat. With the onset of fall, the ferret will again shed the light coat for a dense coat, suitable for the cold.
Usually, the shedding process in ferrets is very gradual. Hence, you may not see a stark difference or massive hair loss in your ferret. But sometimes, your ferret might shed its winter coat drastically and quickly, leaving him with a sparse coat.
Also, sometimes, you might notice a patchy appearance on your ferret due to the shedding of the dark guard hair before the undercoat shed. This is a normal scenario.
A thing to note here is that shedding is more drastic and prominent in wild ferrets as compared to domestic ferrets, as they are more prone to temperature changes.
How Long Will Ferrets Shed?
A ferret will usually have a seasonal shed cycle for 6 to 8 weeks. The shedding that we are referring to here is the loss of hair drastically, while your ferret prepares for the onset of winter or the onset of spring.
Apart from this, your ferret also sheds all around the year. But this is hardly noticeable and hence you may not even know that your ferret is shedding.
If you groom your ferret regularly and properly, their coats will remain healthy and you will see less hair fall around your house.
How Much Do Ferrets Shed?
There is no definite answer to how much ferrets shed. The amount of hair shedding of your ferret is dependent upon factors like:
- Your ferret’s age
- The current month
- The amount of light or room light your ferret is getting
So, you can never expect your ferret to shed the same amount of hair. Moreover, the shedding of the hair is also dependent upon which type of coat your ferret is shedding, is it the undercoat or the guard hair.
Young ferrets are likely to shed more between August and November. On the other hand, adult ferrets start shedding their coat a bit earlier and they shed more guard hair as compared to undercoats.
So, the amount of hair that your ferret sheds is not consistent and it depends upon age and other environmental factors.
Thus, even if you have multiple ferrets, you can expect that their shedding cycles will be different from each other.
When Is Shedding Bad For Ferrets?
Your ferret will shed his hair throughout the year, and mainly in the spring and fall season. If you see some shedding, there is nothing to worry about.
Below are the scenarios when shedding is bad for your ferret:
1. Excessive Shedding
If you notice that your ferret is shedding a lot, causing multiple bald patches to appear on his skin, this can be a sign of an underlying disease. Sometimes, this abnormal excessive shedding can also cause itchiness, scabs, crusts, and lesions on your ferret’s skin.
In this case, you should immediately consult a vet.
2. Excessive Shedding During Winters
A ferret sheds very little, almost negligible during winters. In fact, during the winters, the ferret’s coat will be long and thick. This will act as a protective cover for the chilly winter days.
Hence, if you see that your ferret is shedding more during winters, it is a sign of concern.
If you see patches of hair falling off from your ferret’s skin, it may indicate Alopecia. Alopecia is more common in neutered ferrets between the age group of 3 to 6 years.
Top 7 Reasons of Shedding in Ferrets
Hair loss due to shedding is a common phenomenon in ferrets. However, in some cases, excessive shedding can point to some disease or lack of proper care for the ferret. Let’s take a look at the main reasons for shedding in ferrets below.
1. Normal Seasonal Shedding
Your ferret will shed twice a year as per his cycle and it is completely normal. Moreover, it will also shed a few hair all around the year, which you may hardly notice.
A ferret is photosensitive. So, as the length of available light decreases, they tend to lose more fur. So, during long days, your ferret will shed less as compared to the shorter days.
2. Adrenal Gland Disease
Ferrets can develop tumors on one or both the adrenal glands. Both male and female ferrets can suffer from adrenal gland disease. The hormones produced by the adrenal tumor have adverse effects on the ferrets. This disease plays a vital role in ferret hair loss.
An infected ferret can show symptoms like hair loss, itchy skin, and blackheads on your ferrets.
Affected adrenal glands should be removed through surgery. If your ferret shows any signs as mentioned above, it is best to consult a vet at the earliest.
3. Rat Tail Shedding
If your ferret is shedding all the hair on its tail, this is known as rat tail shedding. The name has been given such because a ferret’s tail will now appear like a rat’s tail. Rattail shedding is more common in intact male ferrets during the shedding season.
Seldom, the hair on the tail may return during the next shedding cycle, however, again with the onset of summer, the rat tail will appear.
Rattail shedding is sometimes an early sign of adrenal disease. Hence, you should consult your veterinarian if your ferret shows rat tail shedding.
4. Improper Nutrition
Ferrets being obligate carnivores require protein and a fat rich diet. If your ferret is not getting the nutrients that its body needs, you can see poor quality, brittle and thin coat of fur on your ferret.
Improper nutrition can also lead to partial alopecia. Your ferret must have a properly balanced diet to prevent alopecia.
You should always feed high quality food to your ferret.
5. Improper Hygiene and Grooming
You should always maintain your ferret’s hygiene and groom him properly. If your ferret’s hair is not brushed properly, it can cause the fur coat to be oily and greasy.
Moreover, you should take proper care in bathing your ferret. Bathing your ferret too frequently can cause the essential oils to be washed off from your ferret’s fur coat, which may lead to hair loss.
Make sure to clean the litter box daily and litter tray at least once a week.
6. Parasites Infestation
If your ferret is infested with parasites like fleas and ear mites, it can cause hair loss.
Your ferret can get flea infestation if he spends time with other flea infested pets or remains outdoors. A flea infestation can cause scratching and itching in your ferret, which can lead to hair loss in the affected areas.
Ear mites are also common in ferrets. If your ferret is infested with ear mites, due to excessive scratching, the hair around the ears may be lost.
7. Other Infectious Agents
Infectious agents like ringworm, yeast, virus, and bacteria can lead to hair loss in ferrets. Even though infectious diseases are less common in ferrets, they are still susceptible to them.
Ringworm is a fungal infection in ferrets that appears like a red circular rash with healthy skin in the center. Ringworm can cause small patches of hair loss on your ferret’s skin.
Yeast infection is less common in ferrets. However, older ferrets who are suffering from adrenal gland disease can get a yeast infection. Yeast infection causes hair loss and it will make the skin appear brittle. Yeast infections mostly occur on a ferret’s face.
Bacterial infections can cause hair loss due to excessive itching and scratching on the ferret’s skin. These infections can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by the veterinarian.
Just like other animals, ferrets can also suffer from the influenza virus, which can cause excessive scratching and hair loss, along with coughing and sneezing. Canine distempers caused due to RNA virus can also lead to itching and hair loss.
Top 3 Grooming Tips When Your Ferret is Shedding
As a ferret owner, you should follow the below grooming tips when your ferret is shedding:
1. Brush Your Ferret
You should regularly brush your ferret’s hair while it is shedding. This will help in the shedding process, and it will ensure that your ferret gets a nice and healthy coat. It is best to use a soft brush for brushing.
Frequently brushing will also keep the dander away.
Take a look at this video:
You can get a variety of brushes at a pet store. Confused about which brush to use? We vouch by the Marshall's Soft Brush!
2. Bathe Your Ferret
Bathe your ferret with a ferret safe shampoo to provide a healthy coat to your ferret’s body. Make sure that you only bathe your ferret once a month.
Excessive bathing can cause the ferret to lose out the essential oils on its fur, making its coat dry.
Check out this amazing ferret shampoo that I love to use on my ferret.
3. Provide Chewable Supplements to Prevent Hairball
Ferrets often groom themselves with their tongues. Unlike cats, ferrets do not cough out the hairballs.
During the shedding period, the hairball can be lodged in your ferret’s stomach or intestine, leading to various complications like:
- Difficulty in passing urine and stool
- Excessive weight loss
To avoid hairballs, you can provide your ferret with chewable laxative supplements. Take a look at these softball chews for ferrets.
FAQs on Do Ferrets Shed?
1. Do Ferrets Shed in Winter?
Ferrets do shed in winter, but it will be almost negligible. During winters, ferrets will grow thick coats as a natural defense against the cold.
If your ferret sheds excessively during winters, you should consult a vet, as it can indicate some abnormality in your ferret.
2. What Months Do Ferrets Shed?
Ferrets will shed throughout the year. However, usually, young ferrets shed around August to November. The adult and older ferrets will shed from May till October.
Apart from this, male ferrets tend to shed more from January to June, whereas female ferrets shed more during April and May.
3. Why Is My Ferret Shedding So Much?
If your ferret is shedding too much during the shedding cycle, that is normal ferret behavior. However, if your ferret sheds excessively all around the year, it can be caused due to factors like:
- Adrenal gland disease
- Parasite infestation
- Improper nutrition
In conclusion, Do Ferrets Shed? YES, they do. A ferret will shed mainly during the spring and fall seasons. You can expect the ferret to shed more as summer approaches, whereas new fur will develop as winter approaches.
While shedding, you should groom your ferret properly. You should also look out for excessive shedding as it can be a sign of an underlying disease.
Most importantly, if you have an allergic reaction to pet hair, you should try brushing your ferret’s hair during the shedding period. This will save you from unwanted hair all across the place, adding up to your allergies!