How to Get Rid of Fleas on Ferrets

If ferrets live with dogs and cats they can often become infected with fleas, typically Ctenocephalides felis. Killing fleas on ferrets is not much different than getting rid of fleas on cats and dogs. The first thing you have to do is kill the adult fleas living on your ferret as well as prevent fleas in the environment from developing and reinfecting your weasel. Just like cats and dogs, some ferrets can develop signs of flea allergy dermatitis so it’s best to get rid of the fleas as quickly as possible.

Because of the ferret’s small size you’ll want to be very careful using OTC flea products including shampoos, dips, collars, and sprays. In fact, I would recommend staying away from them altogether. Like cats, ferrets also like to groom themselves excessively and can easily ingest sprays and powders that are potentially toxic.

To get rid of adult fleas on the ferret you can give him a bath using warm water and Dawn dish soap. You may also use a flea comb to brush out any fleas you find in the fur. Be sure to dry your ferret well and keep him warm after the bath. This will get rid of any fleas living on your ferret at the time but remember that there are lots of baby fleas living in your home that will eventually hatch into adults. Unless you want to give your ferret a bath everyday for the next 60-90 days you’ll want to invest in a safe product that both kills adult fleas and prevents flea reinfestation.

There are several products that have been developed for flea control in dogs and cats that may be safe to use in ferrets. Although the manufacturers of these products have not approved their use in ferrets, anecdotal reports of toxicity are uncommon. One such product is Advantage (imidacloprid). In one study, imidacloprid removed the adult flea population in ferrets and prevented flea reinfestation for 1 week when administered once at a dose of 10mg/kg and for 3 weeks when administered once at a dose of 0.4 ml 10% imidacloprid. No adverse effects were seen at either dose.

Progam (lufenuron) has also been given to ferrets at a dose of 45 mg (half a cat dose). Program does not kill adult fleas but inhibits the growth of immature stages of the flea’s life cycle. If Program is the only flea product you use on your ferret it may take 6-8 weeks to see a significant decrease in the number of adult fleas.

Revolution (selamectin) also may be effective at treating flea infestations in ferrets. According to veterinarians, anecdotal reports of using Revolution in ferrets at dosages used in cats have been promising and reports of adverse effects have been rare.

No matter what, you will definitely need to do a lot of vacuuming in your home while you try to get rid of fleas. Vacuuming alone has shown to be a very effective part of a flea management system since recent studies have shown that the beater brush from the vacuum cleaner is enough to kill, dessicate, and destroy flea eggs, larvae, and pupae. However, this will be more difficult to do if you have carpeting that is extra deep or plush. Also, it’s essential that all other pets living in the household are also treated for fleas.

Be sure to contact a veterinarian that specializes in ferret medicine if you have questions or concerns about how to tackle your flea problem.

Reference: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery

Amanda is a 2-Star Diamond Beachbody Coach, retired Licensed Veterinary Technician and RRCA certified running coach. Her geekiness is legendary and is most proud of the fact she finally found a way to turn her passions for running, fitness, nutrition, writing, and pets into a full-time business that now helps others get off the couch and get after their dreams. Proverbs 3:5-6


  1. Christie says

    Finally! Someone who actually posts something with scientific backing! I’m so sick of idiots posting absolute crap about flea control. :)

  2. Samantha says

    I tried the dawn dish soap and it did not work at all on my three ferrets. So I had to go to the vet he told me to use Bio Spot for cats and kittens under 5 lbs it’s a once a month treatment and within 24 hours There were no fleas on any of my three ferrets.

  3. says

    Hi Samantha, thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m glad the Bio Spot worked for you–we haven’t had good experiences with that product at our clinic but each situation is different.

  4. crystal says

    i just bought the hartz ultra guard one spot treatment for cats and kittens i was wondering if this is ok to use i would hate for him to get sick cause of somthing i put on him

  5. debs says

    my ferret has fleas….he actually got them a few days ago. im not sure where they came but they are there. i used some flea repellent but it didn’t work…thanx for the help <3

  6. Josh says

    We have used the dawn dish washing soap and flea comb it does work for us but only for a short time. I vacuum quite regularly but my ferret still continues to get fleas. Is there a product that I can put on the carpet to help without harming my ferret. she lives outside of her cage because she was attacked by a dog and can no longer use her back legs normally. Despite the fleas she seems too happy for me to have her put down and we are quite attached to her after nursing back for that almost fatal incident.
    Anything you can suggest would be helpful.

  7. tiff says

    A lot of websites say that Dawn dish soap drys out the ferrets fur and skin. Im scared to use it but he has bad fleas. i cant go out and buy expensive flea replent products consdering im under 18 and my parents wont buy me any. and i dont get an allownce. so i dont know what to do.

  8. says

    I don’t recommend using BioSpot on any pet, esp. a kitten under 5 pounds. Find a vet in your area and ask them what they recommend. Anything you purchase from a pet store is going to be unsafe and a waste of money.

  9. Chordsy says

    Debbie, I wouldn’t use cedar bedding or any bedding that includes cedar or pine. There are oils in cedar and pine chips that are harmful to a ferret’s lungs and liver. Ferrets get along fine without bedding, and often prefer a durable fabric floor for their cages.

    Amanda, thank you for the article. I will have to try the dish soap method, as it’s hard to come by anything ferret-specific in flea control that I trust to be safe.

  10. Melissa says

    We used ultra concentration dawn dish soap that was recommended from petco where we purchased our ferret and it worked perfect. leave it on him for 5 mins.

  11. Eric says

    I have three ferrets, I asked a vet and he recommended Advantage for kittens under five lbs. And to use only one tiny tenee drop because it can be fatal to ferrets. PLEASE ask a vet, hopefully one who knows about ferrets. I didn’t see a lot of difference but the vet told me it may take a few tries. Anyway, I heard about Dawn soap and was told not to use it before I could even try it because it dries out their skin. So I ended up using Magic Coat for kittens (the one that kills fleas). With the first bath I could see quite a bit of improvement but disinfecting their bedding, other pets, and vacuuming makes a difference.

  12. bonnie says

    i ‘ve used a tiny amy of advantage on my ferrets for years. when i last tried to purchase it , it was sold as advantage 2. my ferrets tolerated it except for one who had massive seizures and died less than 24 hours after using it. it really could not have been anything else but the advantage 2. obviously we are heartbroken. be careful what you apply to your ferrets-