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Banish pet odors with easy steps

Animals are important members of many households. Although a pet parent may love a wagging tail or the sweet purr of love, he or she may not enjoy the odors that usually permeate from a pet.

All animals give off some type of aroma. Humans have different grooming products that can help them smell fresh and clean. Pets cannot control their own odor and must rely on their owners to address any issues. There are different ways to keep smells at bay and prevent new ones from happening.

Identify the odor

Pets emanate odors for different reasons. Some aromas may be linked to the pet, while others may involve the pet's waste. Still others may be indicative of illness and should be treated immediately. Once the source of the smell is identified, it is easy to take action to alleviate it.

Clean pets

Naturally, a clean animal smells much better than a dirty one. Dogs and cats may accumulate bacteria in their fur as well as organic matter that gets stuck and decays. When animals groom themselves, the saliva applied to the fur through licking also may be prone to bacteria growth; and eventually their fur can start to smell. Pet owners with dogs or cats that have long fur around the face may find their pet's fur gets dragged through the water bowl and food dish, attracting particles that can end up leading to smells.

Some pets also engage in "scent camouflage," according to veterinarian Janet Crosby. The pet may roll around in the grass or something odoriferous to mask his own scent, and this can also be a source of foul odors.

Considering the fur can be a prime source of odor problems, it is adviseable to groom the pet as needed. Check with a veterinarian to find out how frequently the pet may need to be bathed. Dogs that have oily skin may need frequent baths. Cats may not need baths often but can benefit from a thorough brushing to remove matting and any debris caught in the fur.

If grooming is not something a pet owner enjoys, he or she can sign up with a professional groomer for regular appointments for the pet. The groomer may be able to establish a schedule that will help control odor.


Certain pet illnesses elicit a certain smell. If a dog has an ear infection, there could be an unpleasant scent emanating from the ear. Pets that have tooth decay and gum disease will have poor breath. A pet with gastrointestinal upset may have flatulence or diarrhea. Skin problems like mange may lead to open sores or abscesses that can smell foul as well.

Dogs and cats also have anal glands that contain an oily, smelly substance. The glands are usually naturally expressed during a bowel movement. However, if the glands become impacted or fail to drain, this can lead to leakage and odor. The glands also may rupture or become infected.

If a pet smell doesn't go away with routine bathing, it is adviseable to take the animal to the vet for a checkup. If an underlying medical issue is identified, the vet can prescribe a treatment that will make the pet smell and feel better.


It is well known that waste excreted from the body does not smell pleasant. Animals who are allowed to relieve themselves indoors, such as birds and cats, might create some unpleasant odors as well. To avoid such unpleasantness, stay on top of cleaning waste receptacles. Pets generally don't like to use areas that smell poorly, either. Keep everything clean so the odors will be limited and the pet may not stray elsewhere to do his or her business.

Dogs, especially puppies, may take some time to get acclimated to going to the bathroom outdoors. Accidents can happen indoors. It is essential to clean urine and feces accidents quickly and to remove all traces of the odor. This way the house will not smell and the animal will not have marked his or her scent. Otherwise the dog may return to the same area over and over.

Pet odors can make a home interior smell unpleasant. Instead of covering up the problem, pet parents can get to the root of the problem and banish odors for good.