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How to Clean My Ferret’s Ears: 3 Vet-Approved Steps

Chris Dinesen Rogers

By Chris Dinesen Rogers

veterinarian examines a pet ferret to a veterinary clinic

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Part of owning a ferret is keeping them clean, including those adorable ears. Just like dogs and cats, ferrets need occasional ear cleaning to remove dirt, debris, and wax that can cause discomfort or infection.

Ferrets do have small ears, however, so it can be a little daunting. Here are the steps to clean your ferret’s ears safely and effectively.

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Supplies You’ll Need

  • A ferret-safe ear-cleaning solution
  • A bowl of warm water
  • Cotton balls or swabs

Tips for Cleaning Your Ferret’s Ears

1. Prepare the Ear-Cleaning Solution

It’s important to bring the ear-cleaning solution to a comfortable temperature before you start cleaning your ferret’s ears. Set the bottle of ferret-safe ear-cleaning solution into a bowl of warm water to let it warm up.

young and cute ferret lying in bed waiting
Image Credit: Best dog photo, Shutterstock

2. Apply the Solution

Hold your ferret by the scruff, which means grasping the fur on the back of the neck firmly. Gently apply a few drops of the ear-cleaning solution to your ferret’s ear canal after it warms up (make sure it’s not hot!). Keep holding your ferret while you massage the area behind the ear, which brings the drops deep into the ear canal to break up debris and wax. Your ferret may shake their head.


3. Swab Out the Debris

While still scruffing your ferret, use a dampened cotton ball or cotton swab to loosen debris from the outer ears. Do not push the swab or ball deep into the ear, as you can pack the wax in or accidentally damage your ferret’s eardrum.

ferret resting in his cage
Image Credit: justart7, Shutterstock

4. Do Ferrets Need Ear Cleaning?

All ferrets produce some discharge from their ears. This is how the ears clean themselves. You shouldn’t need to clean your ferret’s ears all the time, but you can clean the debris that makes its way to the outer part of the ear.

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Is It Safe to Clean a Ferret’s Ears?

It’s safe to clean a ferret’s ears, but you need to be careful; their ears are very small. Make sure you only clean the debris that’s visible on the outside of the ear with a cotton ball or swab. Never force a swab or anything small into the ear canal. It’s also important to use only ferret-safe ear-cleaning solutions. If you’re not sure what’s appropriate, ask for a recommendation from your

When to See a Vet

A ferret’s natural ear discharge is orange or yellow. If the debris is dark brown or black, has a foul odor, or seems to be excessive, you should take your ferret to the vet to make sure there isn’t an infection or an ear mite infestation. Ear mites are a common but uncomfortable condition for ferrets and require professional treatment.  Also, if any part of the ear looks swollen, red, or otherwise inflamed, make an appointment with your vet.

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Conclusion

Cleaning a ferret’s ears on occasion is part of keeping a happy, healthy ferret. Follow these steps to clean your ferret’s ears safely and comfortably. If you notice any strange discharge—or your ferret isn’t comfortable having their ears cleaned—contact your vet for an exam and a professional ear cleaning to be safe.


Featured Image Credit: LAWJR, Pixabay

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