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How to Hide Pet Odors in Your Home

Have you seen those “nose-blind” commercials? I have, too, and I think it’s true: Some pet owners really just live in a stench they’re not aware of. Many dog and cat owners take precautions to avoid a stinky house, like making sure the dog doesn’t track in mud or hastily brushing the cat hair off of the couch before guests come over. On the other hand, some of the most important things a pet owner can do to prevent bad smells are done on a nearly constant basis and not right before people come over. Here are some things one can do to get better control of pet scents, from urine to that oh-so-familiar wet dog smell.

The Secret to Fresh Kitty Litter

Changing the litter frequently is important, but if you’re living in a small apartment in NYC where the scent can travel across the whole space, it might not be enough. Buy a covered litter box, one with plenty of room for a cat to move and turn around, to prevent the spread of litter across your floors. You don’t need to buy a ridiculous technological wonder, just a cover. Also, give your cat a little entryway to wipe off its paws. Don’t forget that the box itself needs to be wiped down and cleaned every once in a while in addition to being freshened with new litter. The box itself should also be replaced about once a year.

Having a Clean Carpet

The secret of making sure your carpet won’t stink is to not let accidents sit around. Try to get pet messes up as soon as you possibly can. After picking up as much as possible with paper towels, you’ll want to cover up the scent to avoid future accidents there (as pets I’ve known over the years tend to pee in the same spot after that if you don’t get it up well enough). A mixture of distilled vinegar, water, and baking soda will allow you to blot up stains and get rid of the smell quickly. The next thing to do for set-in stains or major odor problems is to steam-clean your carpet. In very extreme cases, if you’ve already done the whole steam-cleaning thing and you have a very bad stench still (I’m talking to the landlords of New York here), the best choice might be to spray the subflooring with vinegar. Vinegar will neutralize the odors.

Getting Rid of Pet Odor in the Couch

A favorite trick is to get up pet fur with a squeegee or a damp rubber glove. After getting the hair off, though, the odor often still remains. Take off what you can, like pillow covers and cushions, and wash it with laundry detergent and a quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar. For the upholstery that you can’t take off and launder, spread baking soda on it overnight. After that, vacuum the powder away. Now, it will just smell fresh!

Tips for Pet Cleanliness

A veteran pet owner can often spot the difference between a normal pet smell and a strange smell, and a bad odor in your house from your pet might be caused by its poor health. Make sure your dog is regularly bathed. Check its ears for infection, its teeth for oral hygiene issues, and its skin for any hot spots. The same goes for cats. Older cats may not be able to clean themselves as well, so a bathing regimen might be necessary. In general, pets should be checked and looked after with the aid of an occasional vet visit. Some owners have told me that even changing their dog’s diet has resulted in a change in their smelliness. Some essential oils, like rosemary and eucalyptus, have been known to help prevent fleas and ticks and will make your house smell great at the same time.

Washing Your Pet’s Toys and Items

The source of the stink might be the thing your pet uses the most, like your dog or cat’s bed, for instance. If your dog has a favorite chew toy, giving it a rinse or a wash might not be the worst idea. Check their beds, their favorite blankets and towels, their food trays, and also the item that many owners forget about: your pet’s collar. Pet food itself also has a certain aroma, so store that in an airtight tin rather than the loose bag it often comes in.

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