13 Reasons Why Your Pet Ferret Keep Sneezing [Explained]


Welcome pet lovers! Today, we’re diving into the world of ferrets – specifically, why our cute, little friends may sneeze more than usual.

If you’ve noticed your ferret sounding like they’ve got the sniffles, don’t worry! It could be for various reasons and it’s always important to be well-informed about our pet’s health.

Like humans, ferrets can get the occasional bout of sneezing due to common reasons like dust or a minor cold. But sometimes, it might indicate something more serious.

This blog post will walk you through the various reasons why your ferret keeps sneezing.

Why do Ferrets keep Sneezing?

Here are the thirteen (13) reasons why;

Reason 1: Common Cold or Flu

It might surprise you that ferrets can catch a common cold or flu just like humans. They are one of the few animals that can catch human influenza viruses.

So, if you or a family member are under the weather and your ferret starts sneezing, they may have caught your bug.

Symptoms can include sneezing, runny nose, fever, weakness, and loss of appetite. So, how do you know if your ferret has a cold? Well, these signs are a good indication.

Most of the time, with a little rest and TLC, your ferret should bounce back from a cold within a week. But if their condition doesn’t improve or they seem seriously ill, a trip to the vet is in order.

They can provide the appropriate treatment and rule out more serious causes of sneezing.

Reason 2: Allergies

Allergies are a common cause of sneezing in many animals, and ferrets are no exception. Like people, ferrets can have allergic reactions to various substances in their environment.

These changes could trigger an allergic reaction if you’ve recently introduced a new food, bedding material, or cleaning product into your ferret’s surroundings.

Common signs of allergies in ferrets include sneezing, itching, skin redness, and sometimes even hair loss. If your ferret is sneezing and also showing these symptoms, they may be dealing with allergies.

Identifying the allergen causing the reaction is important to avoid future episodes. Common allergens can include certain foods, dust mites, pollen, or even certain types of bedding material.

Reason 3: Dust and Debris

Even the cleanest homes have some dust and debris, and these tiny particles can often cause your ferret to sneeze.

Whether it’s dust from their bedding, tiny fibers from a carpet, or even particles from the air, your ferret’s delicate respiratory system can be easily irritated, resulting in a case of sneezes.

If your ferret’s sneezing fits often, occur during or after their playtime or exploration, dust or debris could be the culprit. Why is your ferret making sneezing noises? They’re trying to clear their nose of these irritating particles.

Ensuring your ferret’s living area is as clean and dust-free as possible can help. Opt for dust-free bedding and litter, and avoid using strong chemical cleaners that can leave fumes lingering in the air. A regular, thorough cleaning of your ferret’s cage and play area can also help keep dust and debris to a minimum.

Reason 4: Upper Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections are another common cause of sneezing in ferrets. Various viruses or bacteria can cause these infections and often irritate the nose and throat, leading to a sneezing reflex.

How do you treat a ferret with an upper respiratory infection?

It’s crucial to seek veterinary care if you suspect your ferret has a respiratory infection. Symptoms often include sneezing, nasal discharge, coughing, loss of appetite, and lethargy.

The good news is, most upper respiratory infections in ferrets can be successfully treated with a course of antibiotics, prescribed by your vet. But as with any illness, early detection and treatment are key.

If left untreated, these infections can progress, leading to more serious health complications.

Reason 5: Foreign Body in the Nose

Ferrets are naturally inquisitive creatures. They love to explore their environment, often using their noses to investigate new smells and objects.

Sometimes, however, this curiosity can lead them into trouble. Small objects or particles can become lodged in their nasal passages, causing irritation and prompting a sneezing response.

If your ferret frequently sneezes, particularly after an exploration or play session, it could signify a foreign body lodged in its nose. Other signs might include pawing at the nose, excessive nasal discharge, or even difficulty breathing.

In these cases, it’s crucial to seek veterinary help immediately. Your vet can gently examine your ferret’s nasal passages and safely remove any foreign object, alleviating discomfort and eliminating the cause of sneezing.

Trying and removing the object yourself is not recommended, as this could potentially cause more harm than good.

Reason 6: Dental Diseases

When it comes to our pets, we often don’t think of dental health impacting anything beyond their mouths. But believe it or not, dental disease can sometimes lead to sneezing in ferrets. Here’s why.

When a ferret develops a tooth or gum infection, the bacteria can spread to the sinuses just above the upper teeth. This can lead to sinusitis, where the sinuses become inflamed and irritated.

And, you guessed it, one of the symptoms of sinusitis is sneezing.

If your ferret is sneezing, has bad breath, seems to be having trouble eating, or has visible tartar or redness, they may be dealing with dental disease. It’s time to head to the vet for a check-up.

Reason 7: Fungal Infections

Though less common, fungal infections can also lead to sneezing in ferrets. Certain types of fungi can affect the respiratory system, causing irritation and inflammation, which often result in a sneezing reflex.

The symptoms of fungal infections in ferrets can resemble those of a cold or upper respiratory infection. They include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and sometimes difficulty breathing.

If your ferret is displaying these symptoms, it’s essential to consult with a vet as soon as possible.

What are the respiratory issues with ferrets?

Both viral and bacterial infections are common, but ferrets can also suffer from fungal infections, which can become serious if not treated promptly.

Your vet will likely run some tests to confirm the diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate antifungal medication. Remember, it’s important to complete the entire course of treatment, even if your ferret seems to be feeling better.

Reason 8: Certain Medications

While medications are designed to help your ferret feel better, sometimes they can have unintended side effects. Sneezing is one such potential side effect.

Certain medications, particularly those administered via a nasal spray, can irritate the lining of the nose and trigger a sneezing reflex.

It’s important to note that this is not common, but it can happen. If you’ve recently started your ferret on a new medication and they’ve begun sneezing more frequently, the medication could be the culprit.

Never stop a prescribed medication without first consulting your vet. If you think the medication is causing your ferret’s sneezing, reach out to your vet for guidance.

They may be able to adjust the dosage or recommend a different medication that doesn’t cause this side effect.

Reason 9: Certain Types of Cancer

While it’s unpleasant, it’s important to understand that certain types of cancer can lead to sneezing in ferrets. Nasal and sinus tumors, though relatively rare, can cause symptoms like sneezing, nasal discharge, or even nosebleeds.

If your ferret has persistent sneezing that isn’t responsive to treatment for more common issues, your vet may recommend imaging tests like X-rays or an MRI to rule out the possibility of a tumor.

The good news is while cancer is a scary word, many tumors in ferrets are treatable, especially if caught early. Surgical removal, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy are all potential treatment options that your vet may consider.

Reason 10: Stress

Believe it or not, stress can lead to sneezing in ferrets. While this may seem odd, the body’s response to stress can manifest in various ways. Stress can cause an inflammatory response in the body which can, in turn, lead to sneezing.

Stress in ferrets can be caused by various factors, including changes in their environment, the introduction of new pets, or even a change in diet. If you’ve noticed your ferret sneezing more frequently following a significant change, stress could be the culprit.

A stable, calming environment for your ferret can help minimize their stress levels. Stick to a routine as much as possible; when changes are necessary, introduce them gradually.

Reason 11: Dehydration

Dehydration can cause a myriad of health issues in ferrets, including sneezing. When a ferret is dehydrated, the mucous membranes in its nose can become dry and irritated, leading to sneezing.

Signs of dehydration in ferrets include lethargy, dry and sticky gums, and loss of appetite. If your ferret is showing any of these symptoms along with frequent sneezing, they might be dehydrated.

It’s crucial to ensure your ferret has access to fresh, clean water. Some ferrets prefer drinking from a bowl, while others might prefer a water bottle. Find what works best for your furry friend and ensure they drink enough.

Reason 12: Allergens

Like us, ferrets can also suffer from allergies, and one of the common symptoms is sneezing. Allergens can be found in various places, from certain foods to pollen in the air, dust mites, or even certain types of bedding or litter.

If your ferret’s sneezing is seasonal or seems to occur more often after cleaning their cage or switching their diet, it could be an allergic reaction. Watch out for other symptoms of allergies in ferrets, such as itchy skin, redness, or digestive issues.

If you suspect your ferret has allergies, it’s best to consult with a vet. They can help identify the allergen and recommend appropriate treatment, including medication or changing your ferret’s environment or diet.

Reason 13: Exposure to Tobacco Smoke

Last but not least, exposure to tobacco smoke can cause your ferret to sneeze. Just like in humans, secondhand smoke is harmful to pets, including ferrets.

It can irritate their nasal and respiratory tracts, leading to sneezing, coughing, and other respiratory issues.

If you or someone in your household smokes, it’s essential to do so away from your ferret. Better yet, consider making your home a smoke-free zone to protect the health of all its inhabitants.

Moreover, it’s not just tobacco smoke that can be irritating. Other types of smoke, like that from a fireplace or candles, and strong fragrances, can also trigger a sneezing response in sensitive ferrets.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Let’s tackle some frequently asked questions that ferret owners often have when their little buddies start to sneeze.

Q1: How do I know if my ferret has a cold?

A: Signs of a cold in ferrets can include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If your ferret displays these symptoms, seeking veterinary advice is best.

Q2: Why is my ferret making sneezing noises?

A: Sneezing noises in ferrets can be due to various reasons, including a simple irritation of the nose, an upper respiratory infection, or exposure to allergens or smoke. Consult with your vet if the sneezing persists.

Q3: How do you treat a ferret with an upper respiratory infection?

A: An upper respiratory infection in ferrets is typically treated with antibiotics. Your vet may also recommend supportive care such as ensuring your ferret stays hydrated and has a comfortable resting place.


Sneezing in ferrets can be caused by a multitude of factors, from simple nose irritation to more serious health concerns like upper respiratory infections or even certain types of cancer.

As a ferret owner, it’s essential to pay close attention to changes in your pet’s behavior and seek veterinary advice when necessary.

While it’s helpful to understand potential causes, this article isn’t a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your ferret is sneezing frequently or showing other signs of distress, don’t hesitate to consult with a vet.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top