Ferrets are captivating little pets with their cute faces and comical antics. Said to be smarter than a dog and retaining an almost kitten-like playfulness even through adulthood, they are popular, save for one problem; time and time again, ferret owners find themselves put on the spot or questioned about their odiferous pets. Is there any way of combating this problem or are ferret owners doomed to always have the stinkiest pets? While many ferrets are abandoned, every year, due to issues with their smelling, there is hope yet. In fact, by taking a few simple steps, ferret odor can be practically eliminated, leaving pet owners free to enjoy their little furry friends.
Belonging to the same zoological family as creatures like skunks, wolverine, mink and badgers, the fact that ferrets can be smelly is an entirely natural thing. Possessing musky scent glands behind their ears and around their anus, ferrets have no idea that their own particular eau de ferret is not what most humans consider the prettiest of scents. Fortunately, most ferrets which are sold in pet stores have been “descented,” removing the glands from around their anus and preventing them from spraying, though the glands behind their ears remain.
So how do we combat “stinky ferret syndrome?” There are many steps to take that will help eliminate odor. First of all, it will definitely help to cut down on the potency of your pet’s smell rating by ensuring that s/he has been spayed or neutered. When a ferret is ‘fixed,’ they are less inclined to mark their territory or to exhibit many of the traits that a breeding ferret might show. Additionally, spaying and neutering your pet will also improve their health, making them less susceptible to disease, as well as reducing the likelihood that they will exhibit territorial behaviorisms.
They say that you are what you eat, and ferrets are no exception to this rule. Feeding ferrets a diet that consists of fish-based foods can contribute to your pet’s odor, as well as giving their a coat a sheen that tends to be quite oily in appearance. For best results (and least odor), feed a chicken or meat-based ferret food and avoid vitamins or treats that contain fish oil. Ferrets that are extremely obese, or that are fed a diet that is particularly fatty, can also carry a strong odor. Diet is essential to helping control pet odor.
Many ferret owners will bathe their pets, to help eliminate excessive odor and, while this can often help to keep your little pet clean, you must still take certain precautions while bathing your ferret. Like a child, always test your water before placing your ferret in for his bath and never leave him unattended in the tub or sink. Furthermore, when bathing your ferret, be sure to use ferret-specific shampoos and conditioners. These will not wash out the natural oils that are present in your pet’s coat. Additionally, you should not bathe your ferret more than once a week; bathing him more extensively will also wash out these natural oils and can lead to dry, itchy skin and dander. In-between bathings, the use of deodorizing sprays and conditioners may help alleviate strong odors, until you can give your fuzzy friend another soak in the tub.
Water-soluble odor reducers have been found to work well for controlling stinky ferrets, although no ferret will remain odorless for long, if proper steps are not taken to keep his habitat clean as well. Cages should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a week, where all bedding is taken out and washed. An excellent suggestion is to purchase two of everything and then alternate them on wash day; cleaned bedding can then be placed into a small plastic tub with an unwrapped bar of scented soap and left until ready to use (the scent of the soap will rub off on the bedding and on your ferret as well, acting as a deodorizer in-between baths.
In addition to switching the bedding, you should also be cleaning the enclosure with a non-toxic, non-ammonia cleaner (ammonia will mix with your ferret’s urine and make a stronger odor). This should be an easy task as a ferret’s litter box should be emptied twice a day, to prevent him from tracking mess around his cage. The use of odor-reducing ferret litter can be helpful, or many people have found that the newer ‘scoop-able’ kitty litters work well, provided they are dust-free.
If, after bathing your ferret and cleaning his cage, you still experience an odor, you may try using some sprinkle deodorizers on your carpeting or, even better, move your ferret into a room that does not have a carpeted floor. While somewhat costlier, plasma or minus ion air purifiers also work well to eliminate the odors in the air and, therefore, make for a less-stinky ferret.
There are many different steps that one can take, in order to keep their ferret smelling good; all it takes is a little bit of time and perseverance. A regular routine will make this chore seem like a breeze and, in no time, you will be amazing your friends, when they discover that you have a beautiful and playful ferretÃ¢Â?Â¦ but without all the rumored bad smell!