Do Ferrets Smell Bad?

By Matthew Humphries

Ferrets have an odor all their own, much like any other pet. Some people like the musky scent, while a few can’t stand it, many people fall between the two. If your ferret isn’t yet altered, having this done will cut down on the odor a lot. Keep in mind whole (un-neutered) males, particularly, have a very strong smell. Young kits also have a peculiar, sharp scent which they lose as they get a bit older.

Descenting a ferret doesn’t change the day-to-day smell. Only the scent glands near the tail are removed, which prevents the ferret from releasing bad-smelling musk if it’s frightened or excited, but this doesn’t stop the normal musky oils from glands throughout the skin.

Two things you can do to cut down on your ferret’s odor are to bathe them less often and clean their bedding more often. Most of the musk stays in the cloth, on the litter or paper bedding, and on your floors and furniture, not on your ferret. Cleaning these items can be a big help. Also, right after a bath the ferret’s skin glands accelerate to replenish the oils just washed away, so for a few days after bathing a ferret will actually smell worse. Foods containing fish may make your ferret, or their litter pan, smell worse than diets containing chicken, lamb, etc… You may also find that your ferret smells more during shedding season in the spring and fall.

Many people use Ferret Sheen or other spritzes and sprays with success. Generally they can be used daily; however each ferret’s sensitivity to such products may differ, so make sure you pay close attention to each manufacturer’s directions for use, as well as your ferret after using them.

M. Humphries

“Information used with permission Ferret FAQ, by Pamela Greene”

7 thoughts on “Do Ferrets Smell Bad?”

  1. Thanks for your kind words, Courtney! Glad you found my site informative and I must say yours looks good too ?
    Kindest regards

  2. Such good info: clear, concise, to the point. But I am still confused about the bathing issue. Someone told me they need a bath once a week to cut down on the smell. But you are saying this increases musk production? Could you elaborate?

  3. Hi there
    If you’d like more information about the ferret as a pet, please start with this page …

    If you look at the menu on the left, you’ll see lot of pages which will help you decide whether or not a ferret is the pet for you ?
    I saw your gmail address and thought that this page might also be of interest to you …

    There are lots of other pages about ferrets through the ages which you might find interesting …

    Hope that is of help to you ?

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