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P.U.! The Lowdown On Pet Odors

Posted December 21, 2014 in Dog Diseases & Conditions A-Z

What's that smell? Dr. Ruth MacPete admits that sometimes, pets just don't smell that great. Read on for some great tips to keep your pet smelling fresh and clean. For more from Dr. MacPete, find her on Facebook or at!

Love your pet but not his odor? Having a pet doesn’t mean your house has to smell like a kennel or litter box. Here are some tips to tackle unwanted pet odors.

Oral Hygiene. Avoid “doggy” and “kitty” breath by promoting good oral hygiene in your pets. Take your pet to the veterinarian for yearly examinations. Your veterinarian will check your pet’s mouth and teeth and let you know if professional dental cleaning is necessary. Help keep their teeth clean in between visits with regular brushing using pet-safe toothpaste. Promote good habits by starting early with your puppy or kitten so that brushing becomes part of the daily routine.

Bathing. You wouldn’t dream of bathing once every few months! So why do we let Fido smell a little ripe before we give him a bath? Like people, pets need regular baths to stay clean and odor-free. However, how frequently we need to bathe our pets depends on different factors, such as coat, lifestyle and health. An active outdoor dog will need to be bathed more frequently than an indoor-only pampered pooch, and cats rarely need a bath because they are meticulous self-groomers. To find out how often you should be bathing your pet, ask your veterinarian for advice about your pet’s particular bathing needs.

Haircuts. Having a luxurious coat comes with a cost. Besides the daily brushing and frequent grooming necessary to keep their coats beautiful and free of mats, pets with long coats need extra care, from top to “bottom.” As anyone who has a pet with a long coat knows, pets with long hair often have the unpleasant problem of getting stool caught in their hair. Besides the obvious problem with odor, this can cause more serious issues like skin irritations and infections. To prevent this smelly and embarrassing problem from occurring, keep your pet’s bottom clean and trimmed. Some veterinarians and groomers offer “sanitary clips” that can keep this vulnerable area groomed to prevent issues.

Waste Management. Since our pets can’t use a toilet and flush away the problem, cleaning up after them is a necessary part of being a pet parent that no

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Ruth has more than 15 years of experience in the veterinary industry as a companion animal veterinarian in private practice. Along with being a writer and media personality, she is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.