Any ferrets owner on here? Need help with the horrible smell.

Johnv713

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Ive had a male descented ferret for about a year now and the smell is just atrocious. I bathed him with warm water once a month. Clean the litter bix 2x a day. I feed him kitty kibble, table scraps, and Marshall brands. The smell is so bad it knocks you back to the 16th century :)
 

basscat

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What smells? Himself or what he does?
 
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Johnv713

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Both :(
 

Willowy

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If he's neutered it shouldn't smell like that. "Descenting" doesn't actually do anything; it's neutering that makes the most difference. If you live in the US he's definitely neutered but if you live in another country I'm not sure.

Is it a musky odor or an ammonia-ish odor?

What kind of litter do you use? How often do you wash his bedding?

Also try to avoid foods with fish. I think Marshall's has fish so maybe try to transition him to something else (I know how imprinted ferrets get on food, so mix slowly) (ETA: Marshall's doesn't have fish, they must have changed the formula since I had weezels). What brand of kitty kibble do you use? What kind of scraps?
 
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basscat

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For the litter boxes, I scoop it daily into a bucket with a lid...the bucket lives outside. I empty the bucket once a week.
For the litter boxes, after I scoop them(every time) I sprinkle a layer of "Sweet PDZ" all over the top of the litter.
When he's eating a certain type of food, his stuff will melt glass. I'll scoop that up AS SOON as I know about it. And when I say "melt glass"? The smell is bad enough it bothers HIM :lol:
I completely empty and wash the litter boxes every two weeks.
I have a litter box in every corner of his room (well, actually every place that "makes" a corner). If not, he'll go in corners just a little bit just to mark his territory.
His room goes from smelly...to not so much when these methods are followed

For a scent gland? I have no idea what to tell you.
I do know you'll eventually get used to it, but.....embracing the aroma? Nah...I'll never think it's a good smell...:lol:
I don't have a ferret. Mine's a bobcat and he's sure got some strange bathroom tendencies. Only about half of which are like a well trained, no problem housecat.
 

basscat

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But mostly himself. His coat smells like my toilet after i had Mexicans :)
If ferrets wallow in dust....you might try a litter box of just "Sweet PDZ". If he would wallow around in that, it'd sure make him smell better
 

Willowy

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He shouldn't smell like that at all. A musky smell is normal but not a bad poop smell. How often do you wash his bedding? Is he good about not soiling his bed?
 

Willowy

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If ferrets wallow in dust....you might try a litter box of just "Sweet PDZ". If he would wallow around in that, it'd sure make him smell better
Hmm, there's an idea. But is it safe for them to inhale the dust? Ferrets like to stick their face right in and I don't know what zeolite does to the lungs or eyes when it's that close of contact.
 

basscat

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Hmm, there's an idea. But is it safe for them to inhale the dust? Ferrets like to stick their face right in and I don't know what zeolite does to the lungs or eyes when it's that close of contact.
True
 
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Johnv713

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Actually ive never pick up his poo to see how bad it smell. What i do know is his coat smells horrendous everytime i pick him up. Got him from Petco and his ear are marked with two small blue dots( descented?) Do i need to get him neutured too? How much is that gonna set me back?
 

Willowy

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Nah he's already neutered. That's what the dots mean. It's extremely difficult to get an unneutered ferret in the US.

A clean neutered ferret shouldn't smell except for a faint musky odor.

What kind of litter do you use? How often do you wash his bedding?
 

Willowy

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Anyway, make sure his cage and bedding are clean. His sleepsack/hammock/all cloth in the cage should be washed at least once every 2 weeks, and the cage itself should be wiped down. His litterbox should be changed and scrubbed about that often too. Of course if he goes anywhere else that should be cleaned up right away.

Clay litter can cause dry skin and paws, and clumping litter can cause blockages. Paper litter is best for ferrets, or plant-based pellet litters. Most stores sell Yesterday's News so it's the easiest to find.

Bathing him is optional; the biggest factor in the odor is keeping his surroundings clean.
 

goingpostal

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Ferrets are always going to have that musky ferret smell but most of it is diet. Raw is best for ferrets for their health and odor. Marshalls is mid range quality but all kibbles are too high in carbs for them and increase your chances of insulinoma down the line. You want something like Wysong or Orijen if you are feeding kibble, heavily meat based, low carb, stay away from pea products as they cause stones. It also takes several months for odor to go down when you change diet, I've taken in a dozen kibble fed ferrets and they all reek strongly at first compared to mine, my husband notices too. Stop bathing him entirely, all you are doing is stripping his coat of oils and making it overproduce and making him smellier. As Willowy said, no clay clumping cat litters, scoop the litter box multiple times a day, ferrets have a super short digestive system and poop a lot. I clean my ferrets room and wash their bedding weekly.
 
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Johnv713

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I use pine shreddings and in a pinch cat litter. His beddings get washed once a wk. i understand ferrets will always have that mild to moderate smell but his is too much to bear. I set up a cat box in the corner for hum to go but the forker :) never does. Instead he goes next to it. I just order Wysong so hopefully that will help some.

Homeoworl for tonight: sniff ferret poo to check for odor. Glorious isnt it?
 

Kieka

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How big is his enclosure? I dont know about ferrets explicitly but with hamsters and rabbits, the larger the enclosure the better for both their health and smell. A hamster kept in a standard pet store enclosure will need 2x a week cleanings to keep the smell down but a large tote storage container will be good for several weeks with just spot cleaning. Same with rabbits, if you keep them in the cages pet stores "recommend" you'll be dealing with a stinky rabbit if you don't clean several times a week.
 

Willowy

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Pine shavings aren't great for the way ferrets go. Plus I'm surprised he hasn't dug them all out of the box, lol. So some of the soiled shavings might be getting places they shouldn't be. Try some pellet litter and see if that helps.

I always used Yesterday's News, got it at the grocery store, but farm stores have a lot of different pellet litters available for cheap.
 

LTS3

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Hmm, there's an idea. But is it safe for them to inhale the dust? Ferrets like to stick their face right in and I don't know what zeolite does to the lungs or eyes when it's that close of contact.

Chinchillas require weekly baths in dust and have no problem with it. They roll around in the dust and it gets everywhere.

Is it the ferret itself that smells or the cage or poop? Ferrets have a musky body odor. Food may cause stinky waste much like it can for cats. Maybe cut out the table scraps? Are you familiar with these ferret web sites that have info for ferret owners?


I don't know if a visit to an exotic vet would be helpful or not. Maybe there's a medical issue causing the stinkiness like worms?
 
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Johnv713

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Ok i just took a whiff of his chocolate an it smells like unicorns and lucky charms. Heck who am i kiddding it smells like a rotten fish stuffed in a week old unwashed sock. I gagged a couple of times. As for his coat the musty smell is on par with his poops.
He’s not kept in an enclosure. Has a free range of the entire second floor of my house, except the bedrooms. I will check out the websites.
 
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