A complete guide to your ferret’s itching and scratching.
It was early morning, and my mind went into a frenzy asking, Why Is My Ferret So Itchy? Now, you may wonder why I was being so paranoid. Let me explain.
I was peacefully sleeping, after setting up a beautiful cage for my new pet ferret. I thought I had sorted out everything. But to my surprise, I could hear my ferret making weird noises and trying to scratch itself badly.
That’s when I started my research about why is my ferret so itchy and after reading out many things, and discussing them with my friends, I realized that it is not always normal for a ferret to scratch too much.
Read on to know more.
Why Is My Ferret So Itchy?
There can be many reasons for your ferret to be itchy. The sensation of itching and scratching in ferrets is known as Pruritus.
Scratching and itching is a common behavior in ferrets, and your ferret might be no different. Many new ferret owners are unaware of this and can be extremely worried about this behavior.
Check out this ferret scratching itself without any reason!
However, sometimes, excessive scratching may be an indication that your ferret has inflammation in the skin due to bacterial and fungal infections. Other parasites like fleas and mites can also cause skin irritation and itchiness in your ferret.
Seldom, severe itching indicates the presence of underlying serious diseases like adrenal disease and mast tumor.
If you find your ferret scratching too much, you should consult a vet. After microscopic examination, the vet can decide the course of action for your ferret.
For tumors, a surgical procedure is needed. For other types of infections, oral medications and cream will suffice.
Is It Normal For Ferrets to Scratch a Lot?
It is completely normal for ferrets to scratch. As a matter of fact, ferrets itch more than other domestic animals like cats and dogs.
You may notice that your ferret is itchier particularly in the morning. If you have your ferret’s cage somewhere near your bed, be prepared, as it is possible that you might wake up by their scratching and itching!
A funny thing that happened with my friend who owes a ferret is that his ferret would simply keep on jumping across the various levels in his cage! Yes, he has a hammock setup. All this was just because his ferret wanted to itch and scratch badly, out of nowhere!
Moreover, ferrets will also scratch a lot during the shedding season. Once their coat reappears, the scratching will also stop.
Thus, it is normal for ferrets to scratch a lot. The only time when you should be worried is when the scratching is accompanied by other symptoms like the appearance of red spots or lesions on the skin, hair loss in your ferret, or if your ferret is lethargic.
When Is Itching Bad For Ferrets?
Ferrets are normally very itchy pets. They tend to scratch themselves more than cats and dogs do. Scratching is also a part of your ferret grooming itself. Scratching and itching in the morning is a common behavior for ferrets.
If your ferret is excited, he will jump and scratch more. Also, older ferrets tend to scratch more.
However, even though itching is normal in ferrets, it can be bad in your ferret if:
- Your ferret is continuously scratching itself all the time
- The continuous scratching can lead to deep cuts and wounds in your ferret.
- Your ferret’s skin shows red lesions due to scratching
- Along with scratching, your ferret becomes lethargic
Top 10 Reasons of Scratching and Itching In Ferrets
Let’s discuss the main reasons why your ferret might be scratching itself.
1. Flea and Tick Infestation
Fleas and tick infestation are one of the most common reasons for itching in your ferrets. If you want to check out for flea infestation, check out the shoulder blades.
Fleas keep on sucking the blood from your ferret’s body. These flea bites will irritate your ferret. An irritated ferret will try to scratch and itch its body, to remove the fleas. Fleas can cause red patches on your ferret’s skin.
If your ferret is constantly scratching and itching its ear, there is a high probability that it has ear mites. Apart from this, if your ferret’s ear smells, you should check out for ear mites and ear infections.
To avoid ear mites, you should properly clean your ferret’s ear with an ear solution. Check out this amazing product I found out for my ferret.
You should also clean the ferret’s bedding and cage regularly, to prevent dust mites. These can also cause itching in ferrets.
3. Irritation and Itchiness Because of the Bathing Products Used
Sometimes, your ferret might be itchy due to the use of harsh shampoo while bathing. You should always use a mild, ferret safe shampoo while bathing your ferret.
Moreover, it is important to rinse your ferret till it is totally clean. Your ferret might have the itching sensation if the shampoo is not rinsed off properly from its fur.
4. Low Quality or Improper Ferret Diet
Feeding your ferret low quality diet or diet with incomplete nutrients can result in dry skin, lustreless coat, and itchy skin in your ferret. Apart from this, improper diet can also cause epizootic catarrhal enteritis(ECE) and insulinoma in ferrets.
Once you have fixed your ferret’s diet, with high quality ferret food, you can also provide a linoleic acid supplement. This supplement works great to make your ferret’s skin condition healthy.
5. Allergies in Ferrets
Even though allergies are less common in ferrets, they can have an allergic reaction to certain types of food, or a fabric material, causing your ferret to develop itchy skin. Flea or mite treatment medications can also cause skin allergy in your ferret.
Vaccine reactions can also cause allergies in ferrets.
You should watch out for any allergic reaction in your ferret, and get rid of the allergens.
During the shedding season, your ferret might feel itchy and scratch his skin. However, excessive itching, during the shedding period can be a sign of disease.
7. Mange in Ferrets
If your ferret has come in contact with an itchy dog with mange infection, it can be infected with sarcoptic mange. Sarcoptic mange usually affects the feet and can cause the skin to become red, scaly, and itchy.
The mange mite will reside in the top layer of the skin, and cause extreme itchiness to your ferret. Mange affected ferret can injure itself if it rubs, chews, or licks his skin excessively.
If your ferret has contracted mange, you should immediately consult a veterinarian.
8. Adrenal Gland Tumor
Adrenal gland tumors are usually seen in older ferrets. It can occur more in neutered ferrets. If your ferret is itching and scratching, without any redness on the skin, and tends to have hair fall, it can indicate an adrenal disease.
Clinical signs of adrenal gland tumor are:
- Itchiness in ferret
- An enlarged adrenal gland causing an enlarged vulva in female ferrets and an enlarged prostate in male ferrets
- Difficulty in urination
Surgical removal of the adrenal gland is required. Once the surgical procedure is completed, your ferret will get rid of the itchiness.
9. Mast Cell Tumor
Your ferret can suffer from bacterial skin disease like mast cell tumor which can cause itchiness on the skin. These tumors appear as raised and dry scabs on the ferret’s skin.
10. Fungal and Viral Disease in Ferrets
Even though fungal diseases are uncommon in ferrets, Ringworm is a fungal infection that many pet owners report.
Ringworms will cause your ferret’s skin to be dry and flaky, causing inflammation on the skin and also cause hair loss in your ferret.
Viral infections like canine distemper can cause red rashes and skin lesions in your ferret.
How Do You Stop a Ferret From Itching?
Now that you know the common reasons for your ferret itching, you can see the various methods to stop the itching. Depending upon the reason for itching in your ferret, you can select one of the below mentioned methods.
1. Use of Oral Medications
If your ferret is itching and scratching itself due to reasons like parasite infestation like fleas or mites, you can provide them with oral medications as prescribed by the vet.
Simply add a powdered form of flea medication in your ferret’s food to cure the itching. For more serious ailments like mange, your vet will provide oral medications after proper examination.
It is always advisable to consult a veterinarian before giving any medication to your ferret.
2. Use of Cream
You can use the cream on your ferret suffering from fungal and viral infections. Make use of antifungal creams like miconazole to soothe your ferret.
3. Surgical Procedure to Remove Tumor
If your ferret is diagnosed with an adrenal tumor, your veterinarian will surgically remove the affected glands. Once the glands have been removed, all the itchiness caused due to this will be resolved.
Mast cell tumor is also treated by a surgical procedure of removing these cells.
4. Home Remedies
You can follow the below home remedies to maintain a healthy fur coat for your ferret and relieve him from itchiness.
A. Use Coconut Oil to Massage Them
You can apply some coconut oil to your ferret’s hair and gently massage it. This will give your ferret a healthy coat, and avoid drying out of the ferret’s skin.
B. Give Oatmeal Baths to Your Ferret
You can occasionally give an oatmeal bath to your ferret. This works great to retain your ferret’s skin moisture when it dries out and becomes itchy.
To give an oatmeal bath, simply grind the plain oats, put that in a cloth, keep the cloth in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes, and then simply use this water for bathing your ferret.
You can take a look at this video and get an idea about oatmeal bath for your furry friend:
C. Provide Nutritious Food
Your ferret’s fur can dry out and become thin causing itching and scratching if it does not get proper nutrients. It is essential to give your ferret food rich in protein and fats. Always opt for high quality kibble for your furry friend.
FAQs on Why Is My Ferret So Itchy?
1. Why Is My Ferret Scratching His Mouth?
If your ferret is scratching his mouth, it can be due to a bone or a piece of food stuck up in his mouth. A ferret scratching his mouth may also indicate that he is in pain or is feeling nauseated.
If you see your ferret scratching his mouth, you should immediately take him to a vet.
2. Do Ferrets Scratch Humans?
A ferret’s natural instinct is to dig which will cause scratches to humans. Hence, yes, ferrets do scratch humans. If you want to save yourself from getting scratched, you should put your ferret on your lap or keep a thick cloth or towel in your lap. It is best to regularly trim your ferret’s nails.
Since ferrets scratch humans, they should not be left unattended with a child.
3. Are Ferrets Allergic to Anything?
Corn Gluten is the most reported food item that causes allergies in ferrets. Apart from this, several medications used for flea treatment or mite treatment can also cause allergies in ferrets.
A food allergy can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea in ferrets.
In conclusion, the answer to Why Is My Ferret So Itchy, is that ferrets love to scratch themselves and are naturally itchy animals. They scratch themselves more than the cats and dogs!
However, you should always look out for your ferret if it is scratching and itching itself excessively to a point where it makes painful noises or wounds itself.
We have discussed several home remedies that can be easily followed to provide your ferret with a healthy and itch free fur coat!