Pet Odors – How to Elimenate them
Pet Odors – How to Elimenate them
We love our pets. In fact, studies show that about 63% of Americans have at least one pet. About 2/3 of pet owners have more than one pet, and 20% of pet owners have a whopping five or more pets. 48% of pet owners consider their pets members of the family.
There are more cats out there than dogs – but more families actually have dogs than cats. It seems, you see, with cat owners that one is never enough. And, while cats, dogs and fish remain the most popular pets, other species are gaining in popularity. For example, turtle ownership in the US has grown by 86% since 2001.
Americans spend lots of money on pets, too. In 2006, Americans spent more than $24.5 billion on veterinary expenses alone. There’s no shortage of products out there to take care of every possible imaginable pet situation. You’ll find gourmet foods, expensive toys, clothing and lots of gadgets for all our animal companions.
With our pets becoming such a part of our families, it’s no wonder that we’re anxious to get their odors under control. It can be frustrating to tame the smells of these stinkier family members. Whether it’s a smelly litter box or just the vague lingering scent of dog fur on the couch; it’s annoying for us and embarrassing when we have visitors.
Pet odors do require regular attention; and there is no shortage of products promising to conquer them. But, how do you know which ones work? And what are the techniques that can help you control odors effectively and without spending too much money or using harmful chemicals?
In this guide, we’ll give you lots of ideas on how to remove and control those pet odors in your home. We’ll include both commercially available products and things you can make at home. No, you’re not going to have to get rid of the cat.
UNDERSTANDING THE ODORS IN YOUR HOME
Just where are those smells coming from, anyway? Well, there are lots of causes for pet odors. Because they come from different sources, some are more difficult to remove than others. Dog odors from fur, for example, are far simpler to remove than cat box odors.
But, both kinds of odors can be conquered if you know the right techniques.
It’s important to note that you are likely somewhat immune to the odors in your home. Rest assured pet odors are much more noticeable to visitors in your home than they are to you.
If you want to really conquer the pet odors in your home, ask a true friend to help you out. Have them try to identify the odors (are they ammonia from urine, the smell of feces or the smell of wet dog?). In what parts of the house can you smell them?
Then, as you work to get them under control, be certain to ask them periodically if things have improved.
You may find that once you get the worst odor under control, a new one comes to light that had been buried by the more overpowering one.
So, if you really have pet odor problems, it may take a while to get them under control. But rest assured; it can be done.
URINE IS THE NUMBER ONE OFFENDER
The likely most offensive odor in your home is that of urine. It has the smell of ammonia, and is very pungent. If you have a cat litter box, the urine odor is usually very prominent.
You can also have urine odor if your pets have had accidents in your home; particularly on your carpet. These odors can be hard to remove from carpet. They are especially hard to remove to the point that your pets, which have a much stronger sense of smell, no longer smell them.
But, it’s important to fully get rid of the urine odors to prevent repeat offenses from your pet. As long as they can smell the spot they soiled, they may return to it to soil again.
Second in order of offense in terms of odor is the smell of feces. This is a problem with cat litter boxes, but is also a problem if you have birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. too.
It can even be a problem with fish if your tank isn’t cleaned out regularly. Luckily, most of the smell of feces is gone once the incriminating evidence is removed. But, the smell is particularly offensive and pungent. If left too long, it penetrates the things around it.
Fur odors can be a problem, too, and they are able to penetrate rugs, fabrics and upholstered furniture in your home. This smell creeps in over time, but can ruin fabrics and furniture if left too long.
Fur odors also linger on your pets themselves, too. Some animals have more trouble than others; dogs like sharpei’s with lots of wrinkles are prone to lots of odors. Finally, Seborrhea, a skin irritation can cause redness, irritation and infection in the skin, along with a foul odor. Your vet can treat this, most likely with a special shampoo.
Dogs can have other odors, too. They are likely to have bad breath, which can be alleviated by regular brushing, as well as by providing treats especially designed for removing tartar from their teeth.
Some dogs also have ear problems that can cause severe odors.
Certain ear infections, most common in dogs with very floppy ears, such as spaniels, not only cause itching and irritation, but cause bad smells, too. Proper treatment of the infection will take care of the odors too.
Finally, dogs have anal glands on either side of their rectums. These glands are normally expressed as the dog marks his territory, but they can become impacted, causing discomfort for the dog and a foul odor, too.
This odor also requires treatment from the vet. If you notice your dog sliding on the floor on his backside or you see streaks of blood in that area, it’s a likely sign that he needs to visit the vet for help.
So, now that we know the things that are likely to be causing the odors in your home, we can work on getting rid of them.
We’ll tell you the best home remedies, commercial products and techniques to keep your home odor free without having to get rid of your pets.
ELIMINATING SIMPLE PET ODORS FROM YOUR HOME
There are many pet odors in your home that are pretty simple to eliminate. In many cases, simply stepping up your cleaning habits regarding your pets’ living quarters can make a huge difference.
The simplest pet odor to eliminate from your home is usually odor coming from your dog’s fur. Even dogs that live in the house can get smelly, and that smell can penetrate upholstered furniture, fabrics and rugs.
The first step in eliminating these odors is to keep your dog really clean. Regular bathing is a must, particularly if your dog spends time outside, where he is likely to be rolling in the dirt (and who knows what else).
Different breeds of dog, however, can tolerate different frequencies of bathing. Bathing a dog too often can cause problems with dry skin, but this problem can often be eliminated by bathing the dog with a shampoo particularly formulated to relieve dry skin.
To determine how often you should bathe your dog, consider the following things:
• His coat
Rough coated dogs like Collies can probably be bathed once a month, even if they’re mostly indoor dogs, since most of the dirt that gets in their fur can easily be brushed out. The rough coat keeps the dirt from penetrating.
Soft coated dogs like the Maltese may need to be bathed as often as once a week if they go outside, because their fur will hold the dirt. Wrinkly dogs, like sharpei’s and some bulldogs also need frequent bathing. Bacteria and odors grow in those wrinkles, and bathing, working down into the wrinkles is the only way to remove them.
• Where he spends his time
If your dog gets on the couch or sleeps in the bed with you, he needs to be bathed more often than a dog that’s never on the furniture. Otherwise, everything he’s picking up outside, like germs, feces and dirt is getting on your furniture.
• How fastidious he is
A lot of dogs are just cleaner than others. Some roll in the dirt every chance they get, while others just barely get their feet dirty when going outside.
Some long haired dogs, in particular, have issues with feces getting stuck in their hair when they defecate. These dogs need regular bathing, and they need regular grooming to keep the hair short around their backside. Otherwise, not only do you have the dog fur smell to contend with, but the smell of feces, too.
• Allergies in your family
If you have family members that are allergic to your dogs, bathing the dogs regularly will help keep the allergies in check, because you’re regularly removing the dander that builds up, triggering family allergic reactions.
However, if your dog has allergies, you may need to check with your vet before choosing shampoos. Dogs with allergies may have difficulty tolerating frequent bathing unless the proper shampoo is used.
Of course, your next concern may be the fact that the smell of a wet dog, even after a bath with a great smelling shampoo is one of the worst dog smells around.
This is certainly true, and it’s caused by the fact that the sebum in the dog’s skin is activated when the dog gets wet. To neutralize this odor, give your dog a final rinse in 1 gallon of water mixed with either ¼ cup of lemon juice or ¼ cup of vinegar. You’ll have little or no wet dog smell.
On rainy days, keep two towels by the door where your dogs enter and exit. Make sure that both have been dried in the dryer using a nice smelling dryer sheet. (Don’t use dryer sheets on the towels you use for yourself; the dryer sheet makes them less absorbent.)
Put one towel on the floor for them to walk on with their wet feet. Towels will absorb much more water than rugs. Use the second towel to dry them off before you let them get all the way into the house.
The use of the dryer sheet on the towels should help neutralize that “wet dog” smell.
Some people also report a reduction in dog odor by switching their dogs to a higher quality dog food, and by ensuring that their dog has plenty of clean water to drink.