Quick Tips on How to Scruff a Ferret


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Ferrets are becoming popular members in innumerable households as their popularity has increased by leaps and bounds. They are also known as carpet sharks or fuzzies and are fond of becoming a member of a family, which has plenty of space. After all, they love to get into mischief and roam around. You have to keep a close tab on your houseplants when there is a ferret at home. Before getting familiar with how to scruff a ferret, you must understand the meaning and purpose of scruffing.

What is scruffing?

Scruffing entails holding a ferret by the scruff or nape of its neck. They will not get hurt and the technique can be deployed to disciple or pacify them. When you scruff a ferret, it will go unusually limp and permit you to do different types of things to them. These include checking their teeth, cleaning their ears, checking them over, cleaning a wound, brushing their teeth, and so on.

When do you have to scruff your ferret?

Scruffing, when done properly can calm down a ferret. For instance, in case you have to cut your ferret’s nails or do any other task, which needs them to be quiet for some time. This way, a ferret can link scruffing as a form of a parental bond, as well as, consider it as something good.

You should also use scruffing for medicating your ferret apart from doing delicate works. These are times when they have to be absolutely still. So, scruffing is an excellent technique to accomplish this.

You can also discipline a ferret by scruffing it. You should not lift it by the scruff while disciplining it so that it is pinned to the ground for some seconds. It will again not harm your ferret but will simply mimic the way their mothers would behave when they are being naughty. Most of the time, a ferret freezes when it is scruffed correctly. It will instantly start yawning.

Is your ferret being scruffed for the right reason? If it is so, is a proper technique being used to scruff it? The answers to these two questions are extremely important and relevant.

What will happen when a ferret is being scruffed?

Something adorable and incredibly interesting happens to your ferret when it is being scruffed. It becomes submissive and relaxed immediately. Typically, within some seconds after you pick them, they start yawning. If this happens, you also realize that you have scruffed it properly.

How to scruff a ferret properly- Quick tips

You should both your hands to scruff your ferret. It can be tempting for you to use just one hand as ferrets are small and light. However, there is a possibility to hurt your ferret when you scruff it in the wrong way accidentally. So, make sure to use both your hands for this task. While one hand should be used for the actual scruffing, you should use the other hand to rest the ferret on as a form of support. By doing so, you are making sure that your ferret feels comfortable always. Plus, it is an excellent way to bond with it as there is plenty of direct contact.

So, now that you are aware of the basics, check out this step by step guide to know how to scruff a ferret the proper way:

First, pull the ferret close to you gently with both your hands but be gentle. Once the ferret is close to you, the dominant hand should be used to grasp the skin of the back of its neck. Make sure to grasp the part slightly lower than its ears’ height. While you do that, your other hand should be used to provide support to the ferret’s front part of the body. Place it by its chest and between the front legs.

After firmly grasping your ferret in the proper place, shift the other hand, which was earlier supporting the ferret by the chest. It means now it is resting on its back legs and buttocks on your palms. This way, you are also supporting their body weight completely.

When you have done it properly, the ferret starts yawning within a few seconds. It is a symptom that you have managed to calm down. It will usually remain in this state until you keep it scruffed. Make sure that you are not using your nails to scratch them, specifically when they are long.

After having the ferret in this posture, you may wish to inspect its belly. Alternatively, you might want the ferret to rest on the back while clipping its nails. You may use the non-dominant hand to support the back of your ferret while it is kept in a scruffed position.

Ensure that there is somebody to assist you in clipping the ferret’s nails. That is because your main focus should be holding your furry buddy. After all, you would not like to attempt cutting its nails while scruffing it. Doing so can injure it as you have just two hands.

Different ways of picking up a ferret

There are different ways of picking up your furry friend apart from scruffing them. We will check them out in this section:

Method-1- You can lift your ferret

1. Put one of your hands near the ferret’s front armpits—It will support its spine, which is quite flexible. Your ferret will also feel secure and comfortable this way. Hold it tight enough to make sure that it does not get away. However, the hold should not be too tight to squeeze it. In case the ferret begins squirming, hold its body close to yours. The gesture will aid you to make it steady. It will also pacify the ferret.

2. Use the other hand for supporting its bottom- After you have placed your dominant hand around its middle, position your other hand under your ferret’s bottom.

3. Lift the ferret- When your hands are supporting the ferret properly, it is time for you to lift it.

Method-2 Scruff the ferret

1. Grab the scruff of the ferrets’ neck. Use your index finger and thumb to do so- The scruff happens to be the skin just behind your furry friend’s neck and below its head. You should ensure that the grip is on the skin close to its head. It is how mother ferrets like to carry the young ones. Pinch the skin and then pull it up a little bit. Pull it enough to make your ferret freeze.

2. Slip the hand under its feet- Your ferret should never be lifted just by its scruff as it can damage its skin and hurt it badly. Instead, once you have pinched the scruff, place your hand under both its feet. This way you are also supporting its body weight.

3. Lift the ferret- When you hold it by the scruff, it will get a signal to relax. As such, you will observe it yawning a lot. Ensure that your hold is intact on its scruff so that it cannot squirm and then fall.

Method-3-Carry the ferret

1. Hold it against your body- Your lifting motion should be regular. Place one of your hands around its middle. Use the other hand under the hind legs. Cushion the ferret against your body. It will start feeling relaxed against you and then you may carry it around like this.

2. Use a carrying cage when you take it for a vet visit- You have to carry the ferret for a visit to the vet from time to time. Use a tiny carrying café to carry it on such occasions. You may buy such a carrying cage especially made for ferrets or one that is made for other small animals such as cats. Ensure that you put bedding inside the carrying crate to make your pet feel comfortable.

3. Put it in a carrying sack if you embark upon a longer trip- Several pet stores sell carrying sacks particularly designed for carrying a ferret. They are a great choice when you have to carry your ferret but are busy with other tasks. These are also good if you plan to be away from your house for many days.

How to deal with a squirmy ferret?

Owners may have difficulty scruffing some ferrets. They make the task difficult by squirming around a lot. These ferrets also follow this behavior with some clawing. They may also bite their owners in some cases so that the owners release them promptly. If you have observed such behaviors in your ferret do not panic.

One of the reasons why it could be occurring is when you do not hold it firmly. You have to be firm while holding them yet making sure that they are not hurt in any manner. So, do not feel scared to grab them slightly harder on their skin. Simply be cautious that you did not grab their neck. Perhaps, that could be one of the reasons why the ferret was protesting so aggressively. In case you attempt to grab it by its neck, the action might hurt it and also make it feel extremely uncomfortable.

When you observe your ferret is still wriggling, biting, or clawing you, it could be time for you to give it a little training on behavior. However, you should first be sure of scruffing the ferret correctly. That is because, in a majority of cases, they should calm down fully if you scuff them correctly.

Ferret, Animal, Pet

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Summarizing scruffing for disciplining or grooming

1. A mother ferret usually holds the young one by the latter’s scruff for disciplining it in the wild. You may use the same technique at the vet or home.

2. You should use your first two fingers and thumb to grab the loose skin behind its neck and below the head. While the hold should be firm, you should also be gentle.

3. If a ferret is held in this way, it normally relaxes goes still, and can even start yawning. The position is familiar to them and is not painful.

3. Avoid holding it by its scruff for a long time without giving support to the hindquarters.

4. Scruffing can enable you to groom your ferret safely, brush its teeth, or clip its nails.

5. You should not use scruffing during litter training, with ferrets who were abused in the past or after fear biting.

Ferrets are cuddly but mischievous at the same time. So, you need to handle them properly to make sure it feels safe and relaxed. However, you need to ensure that they are lifted properly and carried comfortably. Scruffing is a good technique to hold your ferret when you have to examine it. It is also an excellent way to pacify the ferret. If done properly, your ferret will get a positive experience. We have tried to explain how to scruff a ferret in detail so that you feel confident the next time.

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