Dental Care of Ferrets
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

Ferrets should have their teeth professionally cleaned to remove plaque and tartar, and prevent early periodontal disease and loss of teeth. Ferrets fed a soft diet are more likely to have a significant build-up of plaque and tartar (calculus) on the teeth than those fed a dry pelleted ration. Check your ferret's teeth regularly, especially the canine teeth and upper molars, to see how much plaque has accumulated.

Professional care

Oral Exams by Your Veterinarian: A thorough dental exam can identify potential problems such as plaque and tartar build-up, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and fractured or abscessed teeth. During an oral exam your veterinarian will:

  • Examine the face and head for asymmetry, swelling, or discharges.

  • Examine the outside surfaces of teeth and gums, and the "bite".

  • Open the mouth to examine the inner surfaces of the teeth and gums and the tongue, palates, oral mucosa, tonsils, and ventral tongue area.

Dental Cleaning by Your Veterinarian: If your ferret's teeth have tartar, it is necessary for your veterinarian to remove it and polish the teeth. This professional veterinary dental cleaning is also called a prophylaxis or "prophy." A routine dental cleaning consists of:

  • Anesthetizing your ferret and flushing the mouth with a solution to kill the bacteria.

  • Cleaning the teeth with handheld and ultrasonic scalers. All calculus is removed from above and below the gumline.

  • Using a disclosing solution to show any areas of remaining calculus which are then removed.

  • Polishing the teeth to remove microscopic scratches.

  • Inspecting each tooth and the gum around it for any signs of disease.

  • Flushing the mouth, again, with an antibacterial solution.

  • Recording any abnormalities or additional procedures on a dental chart.

  • Determining the best follow-up for your ferret.

Professional dental cleaning may have to be done once or twice a year in older ferrets, depending on the condition of the teeth and the diet.

   Click here for the web viewable version of this article.

Click here to email this article to a friend.

Copyright © 1997-2017, Foster & Smith, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted from