Ferret Urine Smells Like Ammonia — Potential Causes

Ferrets fighting for dominance

Ferret Urine Smells Like Ammonia. Under normal conditions, ferret urine doesn’t have a strong odor, even if it contains a certain amount of ammonia. If the ammonia scent gets stronger, that could mean that the ferret is experiencing some health issues. For instance, your pet might be dealing with a urinary tract infection, kidney problems, or dehydration. 


It’s no secret that ferrets have a terrible odor to them. Some people get used to it, while others can’t stand it. Natural musky odor aside, ferrets’ urine can also be foul-smelling sometimes, especially when the ferret is non-neutered or has underlying health problems. In this text, I will try to explain why ferret urine smells like ammonia and how you can deal with this situation.


Keep in mind that inhalation of ammonia can have serious negative effects on humans. Low concentrations can cause eye and skin irritation. On the other hand, high concentrations and prolonged exposure can cause burning in the nose and throat, dizziness, permanent eye damage, and skin burns. 


So, if your ferret’s urine smells like ammonia, you should take care of the issue as soon as possible. And if this smell persists for a while, you might want to consult with a vet. Your ferret might have an underlying health problem that you aren’t aware of.




Why Ferret Urine Smells Like Ammonia


Under normal conditions, ferret urine doesn’t have a strong odor, even if it contains a certain amount of ammonia. If the ammonia scent gets stronger, that could mean that the ferret is experiencing some health issues. 


Urinary Tract Infection

Bacterial infections are the leading cause of urinary issues in ferrets. I advise you to be careful if you have a female ferret, especially an older one. In addition to a strange smell, you might notice some blood in the urine. If it has a UTI, you might see your ferret urinating frequently but in small amounts. 


As I said previously, it’s best you consult with your vet. If left untreated, a UTI could lead to bladder stones and even tumors.


Kidney Problems

Kidney diseases don’t happen too often in ferrets, but when they do, they can cause the ferret’s urine to smell like ammonia.


I suggest you observe the ferret’s activity level. In most cases, ferrets with kidney diseases become lethargic and depressed. Also, you might notice a loss in your ferret’s appetite but an increased level of thirst and urination.



There could be a simple explanation as to why ferret urine smells like ammonia — dehydration. Even though healthy ferret urine shouldn’t smell like ammonia, it can become more concentrated if the ferret is dehydrated.


In addition, leftover urine in your ferret’s litter can develop a stronger odor as it dries. So, I suggest you clean the litter box first, then judge the smell of the urine.


What You Can Do About It 


First things first — if you think that your ferret has a health problem or if it exhibits concerning behavior, I advise you to go to the vet as soon as possible. The sooner you manage the issue, the less damage it will cause. Besides that, the vet will surely give you some useful ferret maintenance tips.


Another thing you might want to discuss with your vet is feeding. Improper diet could be the reason why your ferret’s urine smells like ammonia. Typically, a vet will recommend a diet that features plenty of protein (lean meats, to be more specific). 


Finally, you should perhaps consider teaching your ferret to use a litter box. That’s much better than having it urinate in its cage all the time. Believe me, it will make your life easier. You can easily clean the litter box every day, and that takes much less time and effort than scrubbing a cage. Anyway, using a litter box will significantly reduce the strong odor of ferret urine.




When ferret urine smells like ammonia, that might indicate some health issues, such as UTIs and kidney failure. On the other hand, the reason could simply be dehydration. In any case, I suggest you pay a visit to the vet as soon as you notice a change in smell.


Our Ferret Care Guide

As can be seen in the About Us page my son Bobby and I have been lifelong ferret owners and breeders and have experienced every problem and question that may come up.

As ferrets are our passion we have compiled our very own ferret care guide which took us 6 months to complete. It is perfect for new and seasoned owners alike and should be by your side.

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To also help other ferret owners select the correct items then we have the hand-picked items that we indeed use and are all available from Amazon. See them here.

Michael Grover

My Son Bobby and I have both been avid Ferret keepers for all of our adult lives. We have experienced all of the Ferret’s problems and how to deal with them. So, we decided to write the ultimate and most comprehensive guide to keep Ferrets. It is a guide suitable for existing Ferret owners or for people that are thinking of getting a Ferret. It took many years to complete and we believe that there is no better guide to Ferret keeping anywhere in the world.

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