Ferrets have a better sense of smell than dogs, which benefits them given that they have relatively poor eyesight. Unfortunately, not all smells are good for ferrets due to their sensitive respiratory system.
So, if you’re wondering, “Are incense bad for ferrets?” the answer is yes, they are. We’ll explain why here and provide you with alternatives for making your home smell as nice as if you were burning incense.
Is Incense Bad for Ferrets?
Incense is bad for ferrets because they irritate a ferret’s respiratory tract. If you burn incense near your ferret, they may start coughing, having a runny nose, and struggling with breathing.
Are Ferrets Sensitive to Scents?
Ferrets are sensitive to scents because they have a delicate respiratory system. In addition, incense contains essential oils that are toxic to ferrets.
Unfortunately, ferrets carry their own unwanted smells—they have scent glands in their anus and skin that make them reek to humans. So, it’s natural for ferret owners to want to light candles and incense near their ferrets.
Instead, consider using baking soda and vinegar to improve the smell of your ferret’s living conditions. These are non-toxic products that won’t give your air the flowery scent that incense might, but they’ll decrease the ferret stench around your ferret’s cage.
Alternatively, you can purchase a pet-safe deodorizer such as Nature’s Miracle Cage Cleaner. Such a deodorizer is ideal for ferrets since it doesn’t leave behind a strong scent that could irritate your ferret’s respiratory system. It also harnesses bio-enzymatic properties, eliminating even the deepest odors from your ferret’s cage.
What Scents do Ferrets Hate?
Ferrets don’t like the smell of bitter apples (or their taste, for that matter). They also don’t handle any kinds of smells coming from incense or candles well.
Incense contains essential oils, as do many wood shavings. For this reason, you should never provide your ferret with wood shavings as bedding, except for aspen. Otherwise, you’re setting up your ferret for respiratory trouble.
If you love incense and don’t want to give them up for your ferret, it’s okay to burn them in a part of your house where the smell won’t reach your ferret.
Bathing Your Ferret
The American Ferret Association recommends bathing your ferret no more than a few times per year. That way, you don’t have to worry about stripping away important oils from your ferret’s skin. These oils can overproduce if you bathe your ferret too frequently, creating an even greater stench that can tempt ferret owners to pull out their incense.
When selecting shampoo for your ferret, choose a pet-friendly product (baby shampoo works too) that doesn’t have added scents. Your ferret’s respiratory tract will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Symptoms of Respiratory Issues in Ferrets
If your ferret ends up breathing in incense or candles, they may show respiratory distress such as:
- Runny nose
- Difficulty breathing
- Discharge from their eyes
At first, these symptoms may simply feel uncomfortable for your ferret. But with continued exposure to incense and other smells that irritate their respiratory tract, they could come down with severe respiratory diseases such as pneumonia.
If you notice your ferret is showing signs of respiratory discomfort, and you can link it to incense or another smelly product you used in your home, move them to a place where they can get fresh air. If their symptoms don’t improve within a day, it’s best to take them to the vet.
Alternatives to Incense for Ferrets
When considering the question “Are incense bad for ferrets?” it’s safe to assume that any smelly, non-natural product likely isn’t good for your ferret’s respiratory system. That includes products that smell good to us.
The good news is that you can make your home smell good through safe methods such as simmering ingredients together on your stove.
Below are some ingredient suggestions. Feel free to get as creative as you’d like by combining them to create a signature smell in your house.
- Orange slices or orange peels
- Lemon slices or lemon peels
- Sliced apples
- Rosemary sprigs
As a word of warning, don’t let your ferret near your concoction once it cools down. Although these smells won’t harm your ferret’s respiratory tract, ferrets are carnivores. Therefore, eating these ingredients could harm their digestive system.
Can You Use Incense Around Ferrets?
You should never use incense around ferrets because it could cause harm to their respiratory system. If your ferret comes in contact with incense, immediately move them to a place where they can breathe fresh air.