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Ways to Minimize Your Ferret’s Smell
Ferrets will always smell around them, just like you always have a smell and your dog always smells like a dog. There is nothing you can do about it. However, you can reduce the smell to a minimum. Here is 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. The result of a creature smells much more than the actual creature.
Feed your ferret things that smell good.
You are what you eat. I like garlic. Every time I eat my chopped potato and garlic dish, I have garlic sweats the next day. My body odor changes significantly.
Ferrets are also what they eat. Look at the ingredients in your ferret’s pellets. 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 food made with chicken, turkey, deer and duck. (They like Totally Ferret.)
Remember to switch slowly if you decide to change your pet’s food. Some fluffies get used to certain food. Some furries have allergies. I have a young lady who cannot eat chicken without suffering from gastrointestinal problems.
Clean the cage weekly.
Wash all plastic trays in the ferret cage once a week. I use a solution of vinegar and water. Several times a year, completely disassemble the cage and scrub it. I have a Ferret Nation cage and I take it outside, hose it down, spray it with soap and let it soak. After I hose off the soap, I do a visual check for anything that was missed. Sometimes I have to take a scraper and scrape.
Change the bedding every week.
You have pores all over your skin and you sweat. This gives you a subtle human smell. Ferrets have scent glands all over and this gives them a subtle musky smell. Scent glands secrete 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 wash them while the ferrets use the rest in their cage.
Consider the scent glands.
Most ferrets are down before they get to the pet store.
This means that their anal scent glands have been removed. You know how your cat or dog sometimes drags its bottom on the floor? The cat or dog is trying to express its anal glands. Most creatures secrete these glands naturally as they go about their business, and unless your creature has a problem, it’s best to just leave it alone.
Ferrets also have these anal scent glands when they are born. If your ferret still has scent glands, you can remove them. Do a lot of research and talk to a vet or two before doing this. While this operation 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 ever rescued or met has already been bred. However, I was told that while ferrets with intact scent glands generally have a stronger smell, they “puff” rarely and the “puff” smell dissipates quickly (unlike a skunk where you bathe your dog in tomato sauce for days ).
Do not over bathe your ferret.
A bathroom schedule is important. That is, it is important not to bathe your ferret very often. It may seem counterintuitive, but if you over-bath your ferret, it will smell more. Do not bathe your ferret more than once a month. Less is better.
Bathing removes the sebum that the body’s scent glands generate, and the little guy’s body works to fix this problem. If you bathe your ferret too much, your little friend’s body will start to speed up and produce a bunch of oil.
Do not bathe your ferret more than once a month. My ferrets usually only get three baths a year and those baths are usually because they are covered in mud. If your ferret gets extra soiled, stained or similar, rinse the ferret only in the affected area or gently wipe it with a baby wipe or damp cloth.
Products are optional.
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. A few 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. However, I don’t notice it until I pick up the product. (It’s kind of like watching a puppy grow. You don’t notice the growth from day to day, but suddenly your puppy becomes a dog.)
I no longer use this product. I don’t think it’s necessary and I can’t seem to find an ingredient list. This annoys me.
Perfumes 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 over I make my ferrets smell like baby powder or cucumbers. My ferrets don’t like it and I don’t like it, but it comforts my sister. We don’t do it very often though.
1. Clean the litter box daily.
2. Change bed linen every week.
3. Clean the cage weekly.
4. Feed your babies non-smelly food.
5. Don’t bathe them too much.
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