Care and Training
A raccoon is not the most social animal so it is very important to socialize him with your other household pets. Your dogs will probably be their best friend. Our raccoons have also done very well with and bonded to our cats, rabbits, a ferret and even our chickens. If they are taught mutual respect for these animals you shouldn't have any problems. I don't allow my raccoons and cats to get into hissy fights. Sometimes I will have to remove the one who is being the most agressive out of the room.
A raccoon should not be raised in a cage. They will need to have full run of the house. If they must be caged for short periods the cage should be large. They should have a room or space of thier own. In thier own room or space they should have thier own bed. Raccoons are very destructive and have a tendency to dig large holes in a bed to nest so if they have thier own stuff they will be less inclined to destroy your stuff. Provide them with pillows, blankets, plenty of safe toys. They love balls, stuffed animals and many infant and childrens toys. I have gotten all of my raccoons room items from local thrift stores. Just make sure you clean them well. Some other fun additions could be a heavy duty carpeted cat tree with as may platforms as you can get. The higher the better. You will need to firmly attach it to the ceiling or the wall so that they don't knock it over and hurt themselves. We have one of these that we got at a local garage sale and our girls love it. I put their toys in the little nooks. It makes great fun for them. A litter box can also be added and cleaned out often. We have the litter mates here and they sure come in handy. For more information on littler training please go to the litter box training section. You can also add a water dish for them if desired. Since they have full run of the house these last two items are of course optional. Raccoons can be destructive but if you teach them at an early age they will leave your stuff alone. Hopefully...
Training a raccoon takes a lot of patience but it is well worth it in the end. Never never hit, slap, strike, throw or otherwise abuse your raccoon. He will consider it an attack and will attack back. A raccoon can be taught with the word no spoken in a stern voice and I have been known to add bad boy or bad girl to this as well. It devastates them and they usually immediately comply. I am always talking to my raccoons in a soft pleasant voice so when they hear that gruff voice it really does the trick. You must raccoon proof your home. Raccoons will open your fridge and help themselves unless you fix it so that they cannot. On a side by side fridge I have started using real wide velcro wrapped around the handle-tying a string or something like that will not work. I then found a rolling pin that is about the right size and I put that through the handle. Make sure that you push it down as far as it will go or they still might be able to shimmy your fridge open. Remember if you or a family member forget to put the rolling pin in the fridge that is your fault just get them out but don't punish them. All cupboards will need to have child proof locks on them as they will open your cupboards and help themselves to what is inside. All knickknacks shoud be put away or up where they cannot reach. Raccoons seem to have a great fascination for porcelain.
If your raccoon chews on something of yours just say no and give them one of thier toys as a substitute. Make sure you follow up by telling them they are good and stroking them. The same goes if they chew on you. Say no put the toy in thier mouth and follow up by telling them how good they now are. They really catch on quickly to the word no and that stern voice. It is very important to talk to your raccoons just like you may talk to your dog or your cat. You can teach them to mind certain commands such as UP, DOWN, GET OUT, GET IN, BATH, and of course the dreaded NO etc.
Toys: provide a wide variety of toys but mostly toys that do something. Raccoons don't have much use for toys that don't do anything. Provide them with stuffed animals, balls especially baby ball toys with bells etc inside, dog rawhide chew toys, my raccoons just love my cats toys but they don't last long. Remember you can get childrens toys at local thrift stores and garage sales.
Also a word about keys, purses, bags, etc. Put them up. They are an easy target. Read about my pet raccoons and you will see more on this subject.
When they get a little older your baby raccoons start to go to the bathroom on their own when you stimulate their peeing and pooping do it over the litter box. This way they will Iearn by scent that this is where they are supposed to go. At this point I will put the baby raccoon in the litter and allow them time to go to the bathroom before I start stimulating them. Alot of times the scent will get them started. Don't forget to still stimulate them if they don't go pee and poop on thier own just in case. One of the problems with litter training raccoons that I find is the litter. It is dusty and can also cause respiratory problems plus it is gritty and sticks to baby and adult raccoons feet. Raccoon feet are very sensitive and so I would recommend using a natural cat litter rather than the clay. You will get a much better result with your litter training this way. When you see your baby squat on the floor to go just tell them no and put them in the litter box. Even if you see this after the fact take them in and put them in the litter box anyway so that they get it that this is where they are supposed to go. This way they will get the message. Also make sure that you get an extra large litter box. A raccoon is much larger than a cat and they need the extra compensation.
At 5 or 6 weeks you will need to take your babies in for distemper shots and have them dewormed for roundworm.
It is also important to have your raccoon spayed or neutered at 5 or 6 months. An unneutered male will get aggressive. So you will need to have him neutered. Spaying your female is an option however some females will become extremely irritable when they come in heat. Also at this time you will need to have them vaccinated for rabies.
A raccoon should only be bathed once or twice a year with shampoo. Don't bath them more often than that because of loss of body oils. Throughout the year without shampoo you can fill up the bathtub with plain water and let the raccoon play with their toys.
A raccoon should be gently brushed with a brush or wire comb. In the spring and early summer your raccoons fur will come out in clumps. The fur can become a tangled mess. Comb this matted fur out very gently.