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Ways to Minimize Your Ferret’s Smell
Ferrets will always have an odor about them, just as you always have an odor about you and your dog always smells like dog. There is nothing you can do about it. You can, however, minimize the smell. Here’s a list of what you can do to minimize your ferret’s smell, in order of importance.
Clean the litter box daily.
Keep the litter box clean. Clean the litter box at least once a day, and if you have more than two ferrets, you may need to clean the litter box more than once a day. A creature’s output smells much more than the actual creature.
Feed your ferrets that smell good.
You are what you eat. I like garlic. Whenever I eat my plate of potatoes and garlic, I sweat the garlic the next day. My body odor changes significantly.
Ferrets are also what they eat. Look at the ingredients in your ferret’s kibble. What do the individual ingredients smell like? I don’t buy food for my ferrets that contains fish because I think fish is the stinkiest of all meats. My ferrets get chicken, turkey, deer and duck food. (They like Totally Ferret.)
Remember to change slowly if you decide to change your pet’s food. Some fogies get used to a certain food. Some fuzzies have allergies. I have a young lady who cannot eat chicken without suffering from gastrointestinal problems.
Clean the cage every week.
Wash all plastic trays in your ferret once a week. I use a solution of vinegar and water. Several times a year, remove the cage completely and scrub it. I have a Ferret Nation cage and I put it outside, hose it down, spray it with soap and let it soak. After removing the soap, I do a visual inspection for anything missing. Sometimes I need to take a scraper and scrape.
Change the bed linen every week.
You have pores all over your skin and you sweat. This gives you a nice, human smell. Ferrets have scent glands all over and this gives them a nice musky smell, ferret. Scent glands release oil. The oil accumulates in their bed.
So, change their bedding once a week. I like to keep at least two sets of bedding so I can have some in the wash while the ferrets use the rest in their cage.
Think of the scent glands.
Most ferrets go down before they get to the pet store.
This means that the scent glands of the anus are removed. You know how your cat or dog sometimes drags its bottom on the floor? The cat or dog is trying to express their anal glands. Most creatures express these glands naturally when doing their job, and unless your creature is in trouble, you’re better off getting by well enough on your own.
Ferrets also have these anal scent glands when they are born. If your ferret still has its scent glands, you may consider having them removed. Do lots of research and talk to a vet or two before doing this. While this surgery is routinely performed in the US, in the UK it is considered cruel and vets only perform it when medically necessary.
I live in the US and every ferret I have rescued or encountered has already been put down. I was told, however, that while ferrets with their scent glands intact have a generally stronger smell, they rarely “poof” and the “poof” smell goes away quickly (unlike a skunk where you bathe your dog in tomato sauce for days ).
Do not over-bath your ferret.
The bathing schedule is important. That is, it is important not to bathe your ferret too often. It may seem counterintuitive, but if you give your ferret a bath, it will stink more. Do not Bathe your ferret more than once a month. Less is better.
Bathing removes the ferret oil produced by the body’s scent glands and the little one’s body works to correct this problem. If you bathe your ferret too much, your little friend’s body will become overloaded and a bunch of oil will result.
Do not bathe your ferret more than once a month. My ferrets usually only take three baths a year, and those baths are generally because they are covered in mud. If your ferret gets excessively dirty, tangled, or the like, wash your ferret only on the affected area or gently wipe it with a baby wipe or damp cloth.
Products are a choice.
I don’t think additional products are necessary, but if you really need to reduce your ferret’s odor more, there are a few products that can help. Some products, designed to reduce body odor, are a clear liquid that you put in your ferret’s water. I have tried them on my ferrets. They actually do work. I don’t notice it, however, until I take the product out. (It’s like watching a puppy grow. You don’t notice the growth from day to day, but suddenly, your puppy is a dog.)
I no longer use this product. I don’t think it’s necessary and I can’t find an ingredient list. This makes me nervous.
Scents are another method, but instead of reducing the odor inside the animal, they mask the odor by making another odor stronger.
My sister hates the smell of musk ferret, so when she comes to visit, I make my ferrets smell like baby powder or cucumbers. My ferrets don’t like it and I don’t like it, but it calms my sister down. However, we don’t do it very often.
1. Clean the litter box daily.
2. Change the bedding every week.
3. Clean the cage every week.
4. Feed your babies food that doesn’t stink.
5. Don’t overdo it.
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