Tip Five

Tip 5: OOOH!! That Ferret Smells.

When properly maintained your ferret should not smell any stronger than your dog, just different.

First some background:

Ferrets have a natural musky odor. The intensity of that odor varies with several factors. Spayed and Neutered Ferrets will not smell as strong as complete unaltered ferrets. Fortunately most pet ferrets come altered. Descenting also reduces the natural smell but mostly makes it so your ferret canít spray. Yes ferrets that are not descented can spray similar to a skunk, although the odor only lingers 10-30 minutes.

Female ferrets usually have less odor than males.  There are two reasons for this male ferrets produce more oils and due to their physical size one male can produce as much smell as two females.

Controlling the odor:

Donít bathe your ferret unless there are unusual circumstances, like he got into the cupboard and spilled the honey then rolled in it.  Ferrets like cats are good natural groomers.  Bathing will wash away the oils and dry the skin which in turn causes the ferret to produce more oil.  Many people notice an increase in the smell after they give a bath.

Change the bedding.  If you keep the bedding clean the oils donít build up in the bedding then get back on the ferret. You should change your ferrets bedding 1-2 per week depending on cage size.

Empty that litter pan. Although ferrets donít have all of the bacteria in their systems that cats and dogs do the litter will still smell if let go more than a day.

Feed a high quality food.  Ferrets are strict carnivores and canít digest vegetable fiber. Check the ingredients on the food you are feeding and make sure the first two preferably three ingredients are meat based. Rice and corn are just binders that allow the kibble to hold its shape.  The higher the meat content in the food the more digestible it will be to your little fuzzy and the less that ends up in the litter box.

In summary the best way to control your ferrets smell and keep it to natural levels is to bathe them only on occasion, a year or more between baths wonít hurt at all. Change the bedding frequently if you wonder if it is time to change the bedding it is. We get flannel sheets from the local thrift stores and cut them up to fit the cages. Keep the litter box clean. We recommend scooping daily.  Finally feed a good quality food.


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