Why Do Ferrets Smell Like Pee? Handful Of Reasons

When you are a new ferret owner, the string smell that they have might bother you for quite some time. They have a strong smell due to their scent glands, therefore, they smell stronger than other animals.

So, if you are asking, why do ferrets smell like pee, the reason can be that their natural odor smells like pee to you. Otherwise, hormonal changes, lack of bathing, and improper hygiene maintenance may also act as making your ferrets more smelly than usual.

If you can’t stand one moment more of this smell, let’s figure out what you can do!

Why Do Ferrets Smell Like Pee?

Why Do Ferrets Smell Like Pee

Ferrets typically possess a strong natural odor due to their scent glands. If you are not used to having ferrets around, the scent might smell like pee to you. However, in certain cases, the odor gets heightened.

Scent Glands

Ferrets’ olfactory systems include scent glands on their skin, in their mouths, and close to their anus. Therefore, due to that, they have a significant smell that owners often talk about. These glands produce secretions that ferrets use to establish territory and communicate with one another.

Hormonal Changes

Ferrets become smelliest during their mating seasons. So, if you notice a heightened smell of pee, maybe that’s their natural smell which increases due to hormonal factors. Ferrets attract mates through the use of pheromones. This may smell unpleasant if you are not used to it.

Unneutered males have a strong musky odor and mark their territory with urine. When a ferret is fixed (spayed or neutered) its odor will be eliminated almost entirely.


As ferret’s diet mostly includes protein, if you don’t clean their feces and pee fast, the smell will bother you. Odorous chemicals may be produced during the digestion of the protein in their meal, adding to their overall stink.

Excessive Bathing

Ferrets don’t take regular baths since their skin has a different pH and oil composition than humans. Also, frequent bathing can cause skin issues. Due to excessive cleaning and bathing, their body produces more oil. This results in a rise in the strength of the oils’ odor.

Do Ferrets Smell Bad?

Ferrets are wild animals, so of course, they will smell to an extent. But their odor differs from time to time depending on several factors.

Body Odor In Ferrets

The ferret’s signature aroma comes primarily from the oil that is secreted all over its body. This odor gets stronger when they are in their reproductive season. They use their smell to attract partners, so during this time, their natural scent becomes more potent, and oily fur becomes more noticeable.

Stink Bomb

Ferrets have anal glands that can emit a fairly nasty stench. These glands can generate an exceedingly unpleasant odor, often known as a “stink bomb.” This typically occurs when a ferret is under high stress, such as when it is afraid.

Almost every pet ferret may occasionally let off a stink bomb during its lifetime. The removal of these anal glands by a process known as “descenting” can lessen the likelihood of this happening.

Do All Ferrets Smell The Same?

One distinctive feature that ferrets possess over other animals is that all of them don’t have the same smell. Their smell differs when they go through different phases of life.

Baby Ferrets

Young ferrets, especially those who are still feeding at a few weeks of age, have a stronger, sweeter scent than older ferrets. This aroma is an amalgam of their mother’s milk, their excrement, and the characteristic muskiness of ferrets.

Unneutered Adult Ferret 

Regardless of gender, unneutered adult ferrets have a sharp stink. When intact male ferrets are in their mating season, the odor they produce can be intolerable. The combination of their musky smell with the smell of their pee creates an extremely strong stink.

Male ferrets who haven’t been neutered use their urine to mark their territory, and they have a strange habit of dragging their bellies and testicles through the pee. 

Odor Difference Between Female And Male Ferrets

Female ferrets typically have a more subdued odor than their male counterparts. Both male and female ferrets can produce a potent odor when they’re in heat, but with the right diet and after they’ve been neutered, the odor will fade to the point where it won’t be noticed at all.

How To Get Rid Of Ferret Smell?

If the smell has been intolerable for you, you can take a few steps to get rid of your ferret’s stink. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Neuter Your Pet: Spaying or neutering your ferret can help minimize the unpleasant odor it emits. This technique, when performed by a trained veterinarian, can help tone down the animal’s inherent muskiness. 
  • Change The Diet: A poor diet is a common cause of unpleasant ferret odor. Choose a high-quality ferret diet to solve this problem. They should stay away from fishy food because it can contribute to an unpleasant body odor.
  • Don’t Bathe Your Ferret Frequently: It is a popular misconception that giving a ferret frequent baths may help mask its unpleasant odor. Excessive bathing might indeed make one smellier than before. Instead, ferrets, like cats, are excellent at keeping themselves clean, so you should let them groom themselves.
  • Maintain Additional Hygiene: In addition to the aforementioned attention and diet, you have to keep your ferret’s living space clean. The cage, litter box, bedding, and hammocks of a ferret must be cleaned regularly because of the slobbery nature of the animal. Keep the litter box clean by periodically replacing the litter and removing solid waste.
  • Use Air Purifier: Pet stinks in the home can be diminished with the help of an air purifier. The particles that cause the ferret odor can be filtered out with the use of a high-quality air purifier equipped with a HEPA filter.

How Often Should You Bathe A Ferret?

Similar to cats, ferrets are excellent groomers by nature and rarely need baths. Unless they get into something especially nasty or messy, it’s best to avoid bathing them too regularly. You should limit bathing your ferret to once per few months, or only when necessary.

Most ferrets despise being wet, so giving them regular baths when it’s not necessary might be stressful for them. Furthermore, prolonged bathing might strip their natural oils, making them even smellier.

Wrapping Up

We know how frustrating a situation might cause you to ask, why do ferrets smell like pee? Remember that, some medical conditions can contribute to a stronger or unusual odor.

If you suspect something unusual, you should consult a vet immediately.