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What’s that Smell? Cleaning Up After Pet Accidents

October 14, 2010 | 191,093 views
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Cleaning Pet stains and messesAccording to Suite101.com:

“Urine smell from pets can ruin the most beautiful of homes. What makes dealing with that urine smell especially difficult is that after just a few weeks, the unsuspecting pet owner can become completely desensitized to the smell, not realizing how offensive it really is to visiting family and friends.

Urine smell from pets goes beyond home owner embarrassment. If you are considering putting your home on the market; that offensive odor will directly affect the sale price.”

Dr. Becker's Comments:

If you have a pet, especially a dog, there’s a very good chance you’ve dealt with at least a few puppy piddle accidents in your home. Hopefully you’ve had only a few and your adult dog is now thoroughly housebroken and wouldn’t dream of peeing indoors.

But what if you have a new puppy or perhaps an adult dog you’ve adopted that hasn’t been properly trained in the fine art of not soiling your house?

The very first thing I recommend is to purchase a crate and begin housetraining your dog immediately.

Stop the Problem Before It Starts

The very best way to prevent puppy piddles from ruining the look, smell, comfort and even the value of your home is to do a top-notch job housebreaking your canine companion.

For a thorough and hopefully enlightening discussion on how to prevent potty problems, crate training, and other helpful tips to get your pooch squared away in the toileting department, view my video series on how to housebreak a dog of any age.

You’ll meet Meredith, an older stray I rescued by the side of the road on the way to work one morning, and follow along as I take her from her squat-wherever-she-happened-to-be routine to a near-perfect example of a well house trained pet.

Most cats are very easy to manage because they instinctively look for surfaces that allow them to bury their waste. A litter box filled with a few inches of clean litter is all the encouragement most kitties need to eliminate in the right spot.

You can learn all about litter, litter boxes, and how to select the right supplies for your own kitty here.

Go here to learn what to look for if your cat's elimination habits suddenly change.

Make No Mistake -- Accidents Will Happen

Even after your pup is thoroughly housebroken or your kitty is a veteran at using the litter box, if you’re a pet parent, you WILL have the occasional mess to clean up.

Your dog may get a temporary bout of diarrhea or drink too much water and wait too long to be walked. Your cat may develop a urinary tract problem and eliminate outside her box, or she may throw up a hairball.

Aging pets, just like elderly people, occasionally have a bathroom accident.

It’s a fact of life with pets, just as it is with children that messes will happen.

Once you’ve done all you can do to set your pet up for success, the only thing left is to anticipate the occasional accident and arm yourself with the supplies you’ll need to do a thorough cleanup.

Cleaning Pet Urine Spots from Carpet and Rugs

Your dog’s urine is a combination of ammonia, bacteria, hormones, nitrogen and uric acid. It’s the uric acid that creates a lingering smell even after you’ve cleaned up after your dog. It can be especially potent when the air is humid.

Since the canine sense of smell is hundreds of times more powerful than ours, it’s important to remove all traces of urine odor. If you don’t, your dog is very likely return to the same spot to do it all over again – especially if he’s not thoroughly housebroken or is left too long between trips outdoors to eliminate.

Take the following steps to thoroughly clean urine stains and odor from carpets and rugs:

  1. Using paper towels or other absorbent material like a rag or cloth, blot up as much of the urine as possible.
  2. Pour plain water over the spot and soak up the moisture again using clean paper towels – continue blotting until you don’t see any more yellow on the towels.
  3. Apply a homemade natural cleaner (see below) or an enzyme-based ‘digester’ preparation like Nature’s Miracle or Urine Off to the spot and let it sit for the prescribed amount of time.
  4. Using more clean paper towels, blot up as much moisture as you can and allow the spot to air dry – avoid walking on it while it is damp.

Depending on how long the urine spot has been there, you might need to repeat steps 3 and 4 at least once to remove all the odor and yellow staining.

Suggestions for safe, natural cleaning agents for urine:

  • Combine one part hydrogen peroxide and two parts water. Let the mixture sit on the spot for five to ten minutes before blotting up the moisture.
  • Undiluted white vinegar. Soak the area completely and let it sit for several minutes before blotting dry.
  • Baking soda. Cover the area with baking soda and let it sit for a few hours. Vacuum.

Cleaning Other Pet Messes

If your pet poops on your floor, with any luck she’ll leave a nice, dry solid little mass, which you’ll pick up cleanly with a tissue. To your delight, it will leave no trace of itself on your carpet.

Or not.

If the pile leaves a small stain on your carpet, wipe or blot it gently using a damp paper towel or clean damp cloth, then perform step 3, above (and 4, if necessary).

If the mess is more extensive, for example from diarrhea or vomit, first scoop up as much of the solid or semi-solid material as possible using something flat like a piece of cardboard and discard. Try not to mash or spread the mess further during this process.

Then perform steps 2 through 4 above.

A Few More Tips

If you prefer to buy a cleaning solution for pet stains, there are a number of good ones available at pet stores – some are even specific to cats or dogs.

Just don’t make the mistake of using a regular carpet-cleaning product you have on hand instead of a specialized pet formula.

The products sold specifically for pet messes contain bacteria and enzyme digesters that very effectively eliminate staining and odor in both the carpet and padding, without damaging or discoloring most flooring materials.

If you try something else on the spot first, then use a specialized pet formula, you may not get the same good result you can achieve using the pet product only.

No matter how bad the stain may look or smell when you discover it, resist the urge to use a harsh scrubbing motion during the cleaning process. You can quickly destroy the texture of your carpet or rug this way, and scrubbing isn’t necessary -- trust me!

If you’re patient and follow the steps listed above for stain removal, even if you have to repeat the process a few times to get all the stain out, there’s a very good chance you won’t notice the spot after it dries thoroughly.

Even light-colored carpeting and rugs can be returned to mint condition with the right cleaning agent and technique.

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