By Dr. Shantanu Kalambi
October 29: Pets roam around our houses like our heartbeats do. But these fluffy friends sometimes leave behind unpleasant odours in the house. Even though we may have grown accustomed to the fragrance due to habit building, visitors are likely to notice as soon as they enter our areas. So, here are some practical strategies for minimising the impact and range of pet odour:
It always starts with the hygiene and grooming of your pet:
Regular bathing schedule for pets is an important step – like for dogs it could be once every 7-10 days. And post this, drying them well after a wash is important to keep away infections as well as the wet smell of pets.
Wash their feet as they come in from a walk- a dog foot washer is something that could be invested in.
Grooming pets regularly is important – brush everyday, for both long and short haired dogs and cats.
Trimming your dog’s fur from time to time is key – especially before summer and monsoon months. Paying extra attention to trimming the hair around their paws helps to keep sand and mud out of the house.
Clean the source of odour:
It’s important to ensure cleaning pet trails like fur, dander, mud, traces of faeces and urine and to remove these odour sources. And these traces are very stubborn as they cling onto surfaces- a good vacuuming session for the entire house, especially the places where they spend a lot of time like bed, furniture, floors, cushions, rugs and mats, really helps with reaching every nook and cranny.
Use enzyme cleaners to clean any sticky spills and stains. Enzyme cleaners are effective because they will break down the proteins in urine, faeces, vomit, and other such stains. They are also a great alternative to chemical cleaners by overriding certain risks such as allergic reactions and skin problems and are planet friendly.
Litter material- Clean the litter trays once a day and ensure replacing the entire litter material on a regular basis. It is recommended to change the entire litter once every 7-10 days.
Wash pets’ beds, their toys, bowls, carriers as well as our beds frequently.
Eliminating odours around the house:
Keep the windows open for effective air circulation around the house.
Use an air purifier – Try using an air purifier equipped with a HEPA filter which helps in trapping dander and fur.
Absorb smells with a deodorizer. There are lots of deodorizers that can target pesky pet smells. They are easily available in stores, or some effective and cheap DIY solutions are also there if one is feeling crafty and thrifty. Two of the most popular items are baking soda and vinegar, easily found in our pantries.
Dust baking soda over dry carpets, rugs and carpets- baking soda is an effective dry deodoriser that absorbs the odours. Post which they can be easily swiped clean using a vacuum.
Using vinegar – add one cup of distilled white vinegar to your laundry to remove any stubborn stains and odours. Another way to use vinegar would be to fill a spray bottle with 1 part plain vinegar and 3 parts water and spritz it on sticky spills to clean up. Optionally, one could also add 5 to 10 drops of essential oils if you like, such as lemon or lavender.
Using essential oil diffusers, scented candles and fresh flowers is also a nice touch around the house.
(Dr. Shantanu Kalambi, Chief Veterinarian, Supertails)