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Pet Stains and Odors

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Among the many pleasures of pet ownership come a few pains -- mostly in the form of odors and stains. But don't let fear of accidents keep your child from enjoying the companionship of a furry friend. Just keep these remedies on hand for dealing with any messes your pet might throw at you -- or throw up at you.

Hairballs and Other Stomach Contents
What animal owner hasn't woken up at least once to the awful sounds of Rover or Fluffy retching in the night? (Consider yourself lucky if your first clue was the sound and not your bare foot making contact). Whatever presents your puppy or kitty has left behind, you can take care of it by following a few simple steps.

  • Pick up any solid material and flush it down the toilet. If residue remains, scrape as much as possible off the carpet or couch with the flat side of a knife blade, or other dull edge.
  • Blot wet areas following these directions from Mary Findley, professional cleaner and founder of Mary Moppins and www.goclean.com. Cover your knuckle with a barely damp rag and work the knuckle back and forth, then left to right, across the stain. When working on a carpet stain, twist your wrist in a clockwise direction to remove stains and spills from between the carpet without fuzzing the fibers. Frequently rotate the towel to a fresh place to keep the stain from spreading.
  • Use a product containing natural enzymes, which "eat" bacteria. If you've used any kind of cleaner first, enzyme products won't work. Instead, try using a five-to-one solution of water and distilled white vinegar. Keep in mind that when urine hits carpet padding, it spreads, says Findley. So treat an area two to three times as large as the surface stain to eliminate the odor.

Wet Dog Smell
Findley recommends an enzyme air deodorizer, since it actually "eats" odor-causing bacteria rather than just temporarily masking the smell. "Be sure to spray or clean their bedding so the pet does not continue to be 'recontaminated' by contact with it," she suggests. You may also want to spray the carpet where your pet lies down, or any drapes or furniture that your pets brush up against often, Findley advises. If you don't have an enzyme cleaner available, sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, sofa, or anywhere else your pet spends time. Let the baking soda sit overnight if possible and vacuum up the next day. You can even sprinkle baking soda into your pet's fur and brush it out to help remove odors. A cup of white vinegar in the laundry cycle can help bedding smell fresher, too.

Litter Box
Clean the box thoroughly with sudsy water once a week to eliminate odors. (Pregnant moms should check with their health care provider first, as litter boxes can carry a common parasite that can be harmful to developing fetuses.) A little distilled white vinegar in the sudsy water will help eliminate odors, says Findley. You'll also want to make sure you remove any solid messes daily to keep smells at bay.

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