Ferrets, although they are absolutely adorable, have a strong natural odor. While some people don’t mind it or simply get used to it over time, others find it unbearable. Whatever the case may be, life is much easier if you know how to get rid of ferret odor in a room.
In order to reduce ferret odor in your home, you should dust and vacuum regularly, as well as clean the ferret’s cage and litter box. In addition, you should keep your pet healthy and clean, bathing it once a month and feeding it plenty of protein. Finally, if your ferret is younger than four months old, you might want to think about neutering.
Why Ferrets Smell
First of all, ferrets have scent glands in their skin, which produce a musky, earthy smell. This scent basically can’t be removed even if you regularly groom your ferret. In addition, it can intensify if the ferret is not neutered, especially during the mating season. However, most people don’t even mind this smell at all, as it’s pretty mild.
On the other hand, the smell can get a lot worse when the ferret is scared. Much like skunks, ferrets have anal glands that spray a foul-smelling liquid to mark their territory. Luckily, that only happens when they feel attacked or are preparing to mate. Also, you might be able to descent your ferret, but you need to discuss that with your vet first.
How to Get Rid of Ferret Odor in a Room
Keep the Room Dust-Free
If you don’t want your home to smell like ferrets, you need to clean it on a regular basis. Ferrets have natural oils in their skin, which can stick to carpets, curtains, furniture, and every other place the ferret can reach.
Mixed with leftover dust, these oils give off a strong, somewhat musty smell. So, I suggest you dust and vacuum your home thoroughly every week. Also, make sure to open the windows whenever you can to let fresh air come in.
In my opinion, it’s best to limit the ferret’s movement to a few rooms. That way, you don’t have to bother cleaning and ventilating the whole house just to get the scent out.
You can also use a deodorizer to freshen a room, but it has to be non-toxic and out of the ferret’s reach. And obviously, a deodorizer can’t substitute proper hygiene.
Clean the Ferret’s Cage
An average ferret will spend most of its life in a cage. Even if you allow it to run around the house, a ferret will still utilize the cage frequently. That’s where it eats, sleep, plays, and when it’s young, even urinates and defecates. As a result, the cage can smell quite bad if you don’t clean it regularly.
First of all, I suggest you acquire a metal cage rather than a wooden one. Unlike metal, wood can absorb the ferret odor and it’s much more difficult to clean.
Once a week, take all the toys and accessories out of the cage and give it a good scrub. Food leftovers can sometimes stick to it, but warm water and soap should take care of that. While the cage is drying, use that time to wash the ferret’s toys, litter box, etc. Also, don’t forget to change the bedding, as it easily absorbs the unpleasant odor.
Use a Litter Box
Ferret excrement has a strong odor, and that’s an understatement. As their diet is high in protein, ferrets have a remarkably fast metabolism. And being that they have a short intestinal tract, you’ll most likely have a lot to clean up.
Since it’s common for them to defecate once every few hours, the litter box can quickly get dirty. Therefore, cleaning your ferret’s litter at least once a day is a must if you want to keep the foul odor at bay.
Personally, I’d recommend cleaning the litter box two or three times a day. In addition to reducing the smell, it’ll also help with potty training, as the ferret always has a clean place to do its business.
Keep Your Ferret Healthy and Clean
In addition to keeping its living space clean, you should regularly groom your ferret as well.
As far as bathing is concerned, I strongly advise against using shampoo or soap designed for humans. Instead, buy a ferret-safe shampoo that will preserve its natural skin oil. You can find it in almost every pet store.
Bathing the ferret once a month is enough. If you bathe it too frequently, its skin will start producing more oil and develop an even stronger scent.
Make sure to also groom the ferret’s ears and teeth every week or so.
It goes without saying that spraying your ferret with deodorant or lemon water won’t keep the stench away. In fact, it may cause a skin irritation, which can then cause an even stronger ferret smell. In addition, the artificially strong deodorant fragrance might confuse or even scare the ferret.
Another likely cause of ferret odor could be an unhealthy diet. If you notice your ferret’s fur is becoming greasier, I suggest switching to less-fatty food. Ferrets should eat a lot of protein, ideally raw meat.
However, you can also find dried ferret food, or even replace it with kitten food. Whatever you choose, just make sure that it’s high in animal protein, and that it doesn’t contain any carbohydrates or vegetable protein.
Spaying and Neutering
Keep in mind that all ferrets have a strong musky smell if they’re not spayed or neutered. So, if your ferret is younger than four months old, you might want to think about spaying or neutering it. And if you have a female ferret and you don’t intend on breeding it, you should spay it, regardless of the smell.
As I mentioned, not de-scented ferrets have a tendency to spray an extremely strong-smelling liquid when they’re frightened. When that becomes a problem and the owner can’t figure out how to get rid of ferret odor in a room, they typically opt for de-scenting.
However, de-scenting is a controversial topic. On the one hand, this procedure can eliminate the risk of scent gland infections that can lead to a multitude of other health issues. Also, many breeders descent the ferrets before selling them (or at least they claim they do).
On the other hand, some experts call de-scenting unsafe and unethical. Whatever your stance on this issue may be, please prioritize your pet’s health over your own comfort when making a decision.
When you know how to get rid of ferret odor in a room, living with these small furry creatures becomes much more enjoyable. In case you have any further questions about neutering, de-scenting, or changing your ferret’s diet, I recommend you consult with your vet.