Do Ferrets Stink?

"Do ferrets stink?" If you are think about getting a pet ferret, this may be one of your top questions.

“Ferrets are smelly.” “Ferrets make the house stink.” These are comments that you will hear from people who listen to myths concerning ferrets. It is true, to an extent. Ferrets are capable of stinking up the place – but only if they are frightened, and not de-scented. Obviously, there are a couple of ways to get rid of this problem – don’t frighten the ferret, and get him de-scented.

De-scenting is a procedure that is done by your veterinary. It is often done when the ferret is either spayed or neutered. The scent glands are simply removed. The scent glands are located right inside of the anal opening. There are two sacs, and these sacs are what produce the very musky scent.

You are not required to have your ferrets scent glands removed. You may be surprised to find that he will rarely – if ever – actually employ his scent glands, as they only do this when they are scared. If you are able to handle your ferret correctly, and keep from startling him, you may never find out what his scent actually smells like.

Most ferrets will only deploy their scent glands when they are attacked, such as an attack by another animal. Furthermore, unlike a skunk’s scent, which just lingers for days, a ferret’s scent will dissipate in a very short period of time – within a few minutes.

The best time to de-scent a ferret is when he is spayed or neutered. This usually occurs when he is between six and eight weeks old. If your ferret is older, do not have him de-scented, as an older ferret will not recover from the surgery as well as a young ferret will. Your ferret will feel like his old young self again within a few days of being de-scented. You may not even have to worry about it. Many ferrets are spayed or neutered – and de-scented – before they ever leave the breeding farm.

You may opt not to have your ferret de-scented. If this is the case, you probably will not regret the decision. However, some ferrets actually have leaky anal sacs, which will emit the scent at all times – even if he is perfectly calm. If this is the case, de-scenting is highly recommended.

Note that all scent glands cannot be removed. Your ferret also has scent glands under his eyes. Fortunately, he cannot emit very much scent from these glands; however he can emit a little. This is why you should pay particular attention to this area when you are bathing your ferret.

Also note that having your ferret de-scented just keeps him from stinking up the place when he is frightened. It does not reduce his body odor. However, ferrets really don’t stink anymore than cats do. They groom themselves often, and as a responsible pet owner, you should bath them at least once a month, but never bath them more than once a week as this will dry out their skin by removing too much of their natural oils.

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