Are Ferrets Stinky

Ferret Snow

Ferrets are attractive and charming pets you ever grew. But most of us think thrice because of their naughty nature and that stinky smell, which is going to spread all over your home. Yes! ferrets have a musky odor, don’t worry there are oodles of ways to fix this problem.

Are Ferrets stinky

Though the ferrets are super clean, the musky odor of the species never fades out. Male ferrets have more aggressive smells than female ferrets. Also, ferrets neutered at the perfect stage will not smell worse compared to the ferrets which are not neutered. The musky odor is due to anal glands and oily skin.

Anal glands

Ferrets are carnivorous animals and like all carnivores have anal glands that are located just outside the anus. Under certain circumstances, a ferret can discharge a bad-smelling odor from these glands.

Stinky Ferrets

This is also called a poof and it can be released when a ferret is excited, scared, or angry. Luckily the smell doesn’t last very long and will dissipate after about 10 minutes.

Oily skin

Besides this special kind of smell, ferrets are naturally smelly pets. Their skin has a lot of oil glands and this oily skin has a certain smell that can be different from ferret to ferret.

The smell of a ferret can be compared with the smell of a dog. Some will like the smell, others will be neutral towards it and some people even like the smell. There’s no real way to know this unless you take a sniff of a ferret’s smell.

Reasons for a specially bad smell

Mating season

When the mating season arrives for ferrets, unneutered male ferrets will produce more oily skin and the smell will be a lot more than normal.

After the mating season, a male ferret will again have normal skin and have the same mild odor as before. You can prevent this bad smell by neutering your male ferret. This is always recommended when you’re not going to breed ferrets.

Adrenal disease

Adrenal disease is a common health issue in ferrets. This disease can cause excessive growth of the adrenal glands and even tumors on the adrenal glands. The body will produce excessive hormones and this can cause a bad smell depending on the kind of hormone that is produced excessively.


Ferret ears can have yeast or bacterial infections. When your ferret has such an infection the ears will often be itchy and the skin will be irritated and smelly. You can treat these infections by going to your vet and giving your ferret the right treatment. The smell will quickly go away when the infection is treated.

There are other diseases that can also cause a bad smell. When you notice that your ferret has a bad smell (that isn’t caused by the cage or litter box) and other symptoms of a disease you should seek the help of a vet and find treatment.

How to Reduce the Smell of a Ferret?


The majority of pet ferrets that are sold in the United States are already descented and neutered. Descenting is the surgical removal of the anal glands that cause a bad smell under certain conditions.

However, there’s no real way to know if your ferret is descented and even when the anal glands are removed, your ferret will still have a smell from their oily skin. If you buy a pet ferret elsewhere chances are high that the ferret wasn’t descented.

For example, in Europe, this is forbidden and ferrets still have their anal glands. This is also recommended because descenting can cause a wide range of health issues (such as abscesses and incontinence) and most vets won’t descent a ferret unless there’s a really good medical reason.


When your ferret is really smelly, a bath can do wonders but you should be careful not to bath a ferret too often. When you bath a ferret you remove the oils from the skin which will in response produce more oil. The result is that your ferret will even smell more than before.

A bath is for these reasons only recommended once a month and you can even limit it to once every three months unless there’s something dirty in the fur of your ferret.

When you bath a ferret don’t use a shampoo that’s used for humans. You should use special shampoo for ferrets. If you can’t find such a shampoo easily, a shampoo used for kittens can also be used.

Ferret Pet

Cleaning a Ferrets ears

Ferret ears get very waxy and tend to have a strong, musky odor. Clean ears with an ear cleaner made for pets, and use a moistened Q-tip on the outer part of the ear in the nooks and crannies. Do not push the Q-tip into the ear canal, as you risk puncturing the eardrum if you do. Clean your ferret’s ears once a week for best results.

Cleaning the ferret cage

Most of the time the smell you notice isn’t caused by your ferret but by the cage, bedding, or toys that absorb the smells. When your ferret comes in contact with its cage or other objects inside the cage the oil rubs of on these objects. This will cause them to have a smell and they should be cleaned regularly.

The ferret cage should be cleaned every week and the litter box should be cleaned daily to reduce smells. A ferret will use the litter box several times a day and depending on their diet the smells can be really bad.

The cage accessories like beds, hammocks, and toys, and anything that your ferret comes in contact with should be washed regularly.

Bedding material

Use a bedding material that is scent absorbing but don’t use any potentially dangerous materials like cedar chips. Some people use cloths to put on the cage floor as bedding material. This can be a good idea if you regularly wash this cloth bedding.

Proper diet

Ferrets are carnivorous and should eat meat like they’re supposed to. When you feed a high-quality diet with meat the nutrients will be absorbed in the body and there will be less poop.

The poop will also smell a lot less. On the other hand, ferrets are sometimes fed kibble which is less nutritional and leads to smellier poop. If you do choose to feed kibble, use quality kibble with meat and no fruit or vegetables in it.

Perfumes and odor control

If you really can’t handle the smell of your ferret you can try a perfume for ferrets. These perfumes are fairly cheap and last long. However, most ferrets won’t need such perfumes because the smell isn’t that bad.

Other common things to keep your ferret clean

  • Train your ferret to use the littler box or have a corner easy to clean
  • Clean your litter box or cage daily
  • Scrub your ferret cage at least once a month
  • Launder your ferret bedding weekly
  • Use our air filter on top of your ferret cage or litter box