5 Tips for Getting That Pet Smell Out of Your House

Who doesn't love man's best friend or his fluffy counterpart -- the cute, cuddly kitten? But along with their delightful companionship and unflagging loyalty, pets can often add a little something extra to your home. Odor.


Ever notice anyone trying to get out of your house as quickly as possible or breathing only through their mouth, all while your furry friend circles their feet and pants? Yes? Then maybe you have a guest who is too polite to tell you the truth: It stinks!

The truth is, pet owners may not even realize there's a problem -- kind of like how you find your preschooler's lisp adorable until his kindergarten teacher recommends speech therapy. What's good at home isn't ALWAYS good in the world.

Luckily, there is a way to keep Fido while also fighting the pungent air. Here are 5 ways to kill the pet funk once and for all.

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1. Regular Grooming. Frequent grooming is a great place to start when it comes to minimizing odors and excessive fur. 

Tierra Bonaldi of the American Pet Products Association says getting her dog groomed, washed, and brushed has helped tremendously when it comes to keeping that doggie smell under control.

Groomers agree that keeping a pet is clean isn't only important for his well-being but can contribute to the overall health and cleanliness of everyone else in the house. 

"We have a maintenance program where dogs have regular standing appointments every four weeks," explains Grooming by Brandy owner Brandy Penna. 

Bathing too frequently will dry out your dog's skin and strip the natural oils from his or her coat, so speak with your groomer for the ideal frequency for your pet.

2. Constant Cleaning. Be sure to wash your pet's bedding and toys weekly. If your furry family member has a favorite spot on a couch or chair, that should get a good cleaning as well.

Sanitize your pet's bowls with the same intensity you'd use for the rest of your family, as the smell of pet food can linger. Speak with your vet about brushing your dog's teeth or check out the ASPCA's recommendations for ensuring your pet has a healthy, clean mouth. 

"My childhood dog's breath was absolutely horrific," recalls April Walpole, who grew up with a Siberian Husky. "It was so embarrassing when friends came over. We started brushing his teeth, and it made all the difference in the world. Plus, he didn't mind it at all, so it was a win-win."

3. Air Fresheners and Purifiers. Elise Margulis, owner of a Bernese Mountain dog and two Siamese cats, says she wants to guests to remember her pets for their adorable personalities -- not their scent. The proud pet mom uses both air fresheners and an air purifier to keep her home smelling fresh.

"Cleaning the purifier's filter is key," she says. "A ton of fur collects in the filter and that can contribute to the persistent odor. The amount that gets trapped in there will definitely surprise you."

4. Consider Removing Carpets. Margulis said taking up the carpets has done a lot to make her home pet-scent-free.

"We found pulling up the carpets helped reduce dander and made vomit and excrement easier to pick up," she notes.

Rugs retain odors, as does the padding beneath them. If possible, think about removing those. If you have a puppy or an older pet, hardwood floors are also much easier to clean when "accidents" happen.

5. Products. Consult your groomer or veterinarian for a list of pet-safe products that can discourage your cat or dog from "marking" in the same spot.  

When Vince Edwards and his wife adopted three kittens in one year, they worried that not only would they be referred to as "that crazy cat couple" but also become known for their home smelling like their pets. 

"We love to entertain, so we didn't want the scent of our little cat trio to be off-putting," he says. "Our vet recommended we pick up some products that are safe that we can spray right into the litter box to keep things as fresh as possible. Plus, we change the litter constantly, so that helps." 

Baking soda can also be a great neutralizing agent. Sprinkle it liberally on upholstery, fabric, or cushions and leave it for 15 minutes or as long as overnight to absorb odors.

What do you use to keep your home smelling fresh?

Image via GettyImages/MarkRaycroft

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