You love your pet, but... the smell!


You love your dog or cat, but you don't love how he smells. Unfortunately, some level of doggie odour is usually inevitable for two main reasons. First, dogs don't sweat like we do (with drops forming and rolling off their skin), but they do sweat from their paws and hair follicles. Each dog's sweat smells different, though it may smell pretty much the same to us. Second, dogs produce oil (some more than others), which also contributes to the dog smell.

But there are a few medical conditions that can make a dog's natural smell seem more sinister. If you're concerned about any of these, take your pet to the vet:

  • Ear infections. If bacteria build up inside your dog's ear, it can cause a nasty smell - have it checked out at the vet if it persists.
  • Bad breath. Brush your dog's teeth regularly. Grab a toothbrush from the tooth care aisle in the grocery store, but if that does not work for you, find a toothbrush specially designed for dogs and cats at the vet. Some dogs are also not keen on a minty taste. If so, opt for "dog friendly" toothpaste that comes in chicken or liver flavour - also obtainable from your vet. If the problem persists, there may be a more serious underlying issue, like periodontal disease or gingivitis which requires medical treatment. It's best to start brushing your dog's teeth when they are still young.
  • Leaky eyes. Your pup's eyes may be running for several reasons such as allergies, conjunctivitis, dry eye or a foreign body in the eye. Wiping and cleaning his eyes can help keep the smell at bay.

Getting rid of nasty pet odours in your home

If your pet is healthy and you can rule out a medical reason for the foul odour, then it's time to tackle places in your home where bad smells can lurk. All the soft surfaces your pets snuggle up on can harbour foul odours, but you can keep your home smelling fresh without chemicals.

Whether you have a dog, cat or even a bunny, here's where to start:

  • Pet beds. Buy a dog/cat bed that's machine washable so you can throw it in the washing machine once a week and keep odours at bay. The same goes for any pet linens, blankets and toys - wash them in hot water once a week. You may add ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar to the wash.
  • The couch. Take off the cushions, dust them, and if they're machine washable, run them through a hot wash cycle. You can also try baking soda: sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda into surfaces and spread around. Let it sit overnight to absorb odour and then vacuum the baking soda up the next day. You might consider a professional couch cleaning as well, but try the baking soda trick first, so the shampoo just doesn't mix with the dog smell.
  • Doors etc. Cats love to rub their smell on the corner of couches, chairs, tables, doors or anything else that they can potentially mark with their scent. Try wiping furniture with vinegar - provided that it is not delicate fabrics.
  • Carpets. Vacuum rugs every day to suck up pet hair, which can trap foul smells, and consider steam cleaning them every few months to keep them fresh. If your dog has an accident, soak up the mess right away with paper towels and rinse it with cool clean water. Avoid using chemicals or vinegar, as strong odours may encourage your pet to mark in that area again.
  • Hardwood or tile floors. Sweep the floor every day and mop every couple of days. Make sure you're wiping down the baseboards and getting into corners where dust can collect.
  • Make an odour neutralizing and fabric spray. This spray does not have any scent, but it will neutralize odours. Place 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar into a spray bottle (preferably with a fine mist). After the foaming action stops, add 2 cups water, then shake well. Spritz the air. Also spritz any water safe fabric/carpets.
  • Bathing. Finally, make sure that you're bathing your dog often - and try to make it fun.

Follow these tips and your friends won't even know you have a pet in the house!


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