A young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kittenA young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kittenA young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kitten
Barks & Mewsings

The Trupanion blog

7 Ways to Keep Your House From Smelling Like Your Pet

By: Brianna Gunter

A Boston Terrier dog naps inside on a couch.

We love our dogs and cats, but we don’t love the pet odors that come with them! From musty litter boxes and bad breath to classic wet dog, our four-legged friends come with an abundance of smells we humans don’t care for. The last thing you want is to be that house where guests can tell you have a pet just by walking in the door and taking a breath.

Fortunately, there are several key things you can do to keep your home from smelling like your pet. Let’s go through them, shall we?

1. Set a pet bathing schedule

It should be a no-brainer that clean pets are better-smelling pets. But regular pet baths are a simple way of keeping your pal fresh (and subsequently, your home). The American Kennel Club recommends bathing your dog every four to six weeks, although breeds with longer hair may need them more frequently.

While cats are self-cleaning, they too require baths on occasion. Starting bathing while they are kittens will help them learn to tolerate bathing for life. If your kitty is older and has never been accustomed to being washed by your hands, try trimming her claws first. Talking to your veterinarian about ways to keep her calm will also help.

2. Keep pets clean in-between baths

Over-bathing pets can strip their skin of its natural oils and cause irritation. So instead of going to the tub every time your pal seems a little stinky, keep a washcloth or box of pet grooming wipes on hand. Using these will help freshen your furry friend up in between baths and will also be a less traumatic experience for them (because let’s face it—few dogs or cats actually enjoy being washed).

Regular brushing will also help loosen and remove debris from your buddy’s fur, not to mention serve as nice bonding time for you both.

3. Clean pet bedding regularly

You change the sheets on your bed, so why ignore Fido’s? Pet beds pick up all the scents of your furry friend, both good and bad. But beyond the expected dirt and drool, your pal is also at risk of coating his bed in a variety of harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi.

The good news is that most pet beds are machine washable and can be cleaned once a week. Others have removable liners that can be washed, but the bedding interior will need to be replaced faster. To help keep your pet’s bed as fresh as possible, add it to your home vacuuming routine.

4. Clean out cat litter daily

A Bengal cat climbs out of a litter box.

Some pet owners like to wait until the box is “full” to clean it out. But not only will this contribute to strong odors emanating around your home, it also can create a hazardous environment for both you and kitty. Litter boxes can contain bacteria, viruses, and even parasites, which can get stirred up into the air by your cat’s feet.

Scoop out both urine and feces daily, and completely change out the litter at least once a week (but the more often, the better!). To keep things as fresh as possible, clean the box with soap and water before putting in the new litter.

Replace litter boxes annually

Many cat owners don’t realize they should be replacing their feline’s litter boxes about once a year. But doing so is an important part of keeping both you and your cat healthy. Litter boxes—especially covered models—soak up odors and bacteria as time goes on, and simply washing them out won’t suffice. If you’ve changed out the litter, and there’s still a lingering unpleasant scent, it’s an indicator that the box itself is at the end of its lifespan.

5. Feed your pet a healthy diet

You are what you eat, and the same goes for pets. Poor nutrition can lead to a higher prevalence of upset stomachs, diarrhea, and other manifestations of indigestion—all conditions that are linked to being on the smelly side.

Talk with your veterinarian about well-balanced, healthy diet options for your particular pet. If you’re noticing frequent signs of pet indigestion, make an appointment to have your pal checked for underlying illnesses.

6. Don’t wait to tackle messes

A guilty-looking white dog sits at his owner’s feet staring up.

Accidents happen, even among healthy, well-trained pets. But instead of wasting time getting mad at your pal or telling yourself you’ll clean it later, the best way to prevent lingering odors is to clean it up right away. Invest in some good pet-safe cleaning products, and be prepared to go over mess spots multiple times until there’s no trace left. *Pro tip: if your pet is nosing or pawing at a previous accident spot, go ahead and clean it again—even if you don’t see any stain left or notice any odor yourself.

7. Use pet-safe air fresheners

Air fresheners can instantly improve the scent of any home—just make sure that whatever air freshener you use is safe for both your nose and your pet’s. Opt for naturally-derived ingredients, but be aware that certain essential oils are toxic to pets.

On that note, it’s always important to read the labels on any cleaning products you’re considering using at home. If you’re not sure about anything, give your veterinarian a call.

A white and ginger cat peaks out from around a corner inside a house.

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We’re the official blog of Trupanion—chosen by veterinarians as the #1 pet insurance in America. Here you’ll find useful dog and cat care tips, interesting veterinary insights, and fun pet topics galore.

While you’re browsing our pet blog, please note that the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Trupanion. Our articles are reviewed by veterinarians for accuracy, but they are not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Always consult with your own pet’s veterinarian for advice.

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