February is Dental Care Month for pets. While ferret dental care is important year round, it is good to have a yearly reminder on ways to properly care for your pet’s teeth. While many people think of brushing their ferrets’ teeth as dental care, there other ways to keep your ferret’s teeth pearly white.
It is an important fact to point out the while ferrets are usually classified as small pets, their dental care is more similar to dogs. Ferrets do not need to grind down their teeth in order to prevent dental problems. Instead, ferrets need to have their teeth brushed and scraped in order to prevent the build-up of tartar and plaque. In addition, ferrets need a meat protein diet, so feeding hay and vegetation can cause them problems.
Here are some tips to keep ferret dental care fun, easy, and manageable.
Fun & Easy Ferret Dental Care
Ferrets like to chew. While at times that can be a bad thing, it is a helpful trait when it comes to ferret dental care. In fact, ferrets use their teeth in many ways, such as: eating, grabbing objects, holding objects, and moving objects – much like another hand. Their tendency to do so much with their mouth and teeth helps keep their teeth clean.
When ferrets are fed crunchy food, the chewing of the food helps to scrape off plaque and tartar from their teeth. It is important not to feed soft foods to your ferret on a regular basis, unless there is a dietary or medical reason. Crunchy food will assist in keeping your ferret’s teeth clean.
Ferret treats will help in the same manner as crunchy food. That is especially the case when the treat is created to be a ferret chew treat, such as the N-Bone Ferret Chew Treats. When the treat is hard, it helps scrape away plaque and tarter. When the treat is a dental treat, it helps not only with keeping the teeth clean, but with keeping the gums healthy, as well.
Ferret toys that allow your ferret to chew and scrape their teeth against the toys also help keep teeth clean. Much like the crunchy food, chewing on toys helps ferrets to clean plaque and tartar off their teeth, too. You have to be careful with the types of things that ferrets chew on – toys with too many strings could end up with string wrapped around your ferret’s teeth or, even worse, in the digestive system. As long as ferrets are monitored while playing, ferret chew toys can help keep teeth clean.
Maintenance Ferret Dental Care
There are a few ferret dental care products that I consider maintenance products. These are things to use in between brushing teeth, since most ferrets do not care to have their teeth brushed. One product I particularly like is the DDS Dental Wipes Breath Control.
These pads are super easy to use – just take one out of the jar, and wipe your ferret’s teeth. Just slide the pad underneath and wipe gums and teeth to clean off any junk that may be there. The pads are slightly textured, so they have a little bit of friction to remove tartar and plaque.
Dental pads are available from a few different manufacturers. However, I have used the DDS Dental Wipes on my dogs, so I am slightly more familiar with them.
Heavy Duty Ferret Dental Care
I consider brushing a ferret’s teeth a form of heavy duty ferret dental care. It is recommended that you brush your ferret’s teeth twice a month using a toothbrush and toothpaste that are designed for pets. Using a human toothbrush and especially a human toothpaste is not good for a ferret. A human toothbrush is too big, while human toothpaste is meant to be spit out, not swallowed. Ferrets will definitely swallow the toothpaste, so a dog toothpaste or cat toothpaste is recommended. Using either a pet toothbrush or finger toothbrush will work, depending on how nippy your ferret can be.
When you brush your ferret’s teeth, you should take extra care to work back towards to molars to reach tartar build-up where your ferret’s tongue cannot reach.
Brushing your ferret’s teeth not only helps with removing plaque and tartar, but it helps massage the gums to help prevent them from receding.
If your ferret has a heavy buildup of plaque and tartar, most noticeable by extremely bad breath and gray/green/brown/yellow coloration on the teeth and gums, you will need to have your veterinarian perform a dental cleaning while your ferret is under anethesia.
View more articles written by Kristen Sydelko.