Causes of Pet Odors in the Home

Picture of a boy and dog

We love our pets.  But we don’t necessarily love the smells that come with them.  As many wonderful, loving traits as our pets have, they also have some that seem to be at odds with what we want for our homes.

Odors are part of the reality of living with pets.  Whether the odors are from rolling in something unpleasant, eating it, or even producing the smells themselves, we want to find ways to increase the positive aromas in our home without having to give up activities we enjoy with our beloved pets.

What Causes Pet Odors?

There are a lot of different causes of pet odors.  Here are some of the leading pet smells and their origins:

  • Wet dog—Bacteria lives on the coats of our pets. No odor is detected when the animal is dry, but when they are wet, the bacteria begins to release a potent aroma.  There is no mistaking the wet dog smell for any other!
  • Stinky breath—Another smell with bacteria as the culprit is bad breath. While bad breath can simply indicate the presence of plaque or other debris lodged in the teeth or gums, it can be indicative of more serious medical issues such as kidney disease, diabetes, or even an infection.
  • Skin issues or infections—Yeast and bacterial infections of the skin give off a distinctly unpleasant odor. Bacteria and dirt can gather in folds of skin. Skin folds should be cleaned regularly for proper hygiene and to avoid infection.
  • Ear problems—Ear infections produce a thick waxy substance in an animal’s ear that acts a protective coating against the irritant. Ear problems can be the result of allergies or the presence of foreign bodies.  Yeast infections produce a particularly pungent smell.
  • Anal glands—Some dogs have difficulty releasing their anal glands. When anal glands are full, they are very uncomfortable and even painful for your dog.  They produce a smell that strongly resembles rancid fish.  It is quite unmistakable.  Anal glands left too long without being released can become impacted and require antibiotics as part of routine treatment once the glands have been expressed.
  • Gas—Much like humans, our pets sometimes have reactions to foods they eat that can result in the release of a noxious gas. While gas can be indicative of more serious health issues, it is generally just a sign of a dietary change or of foods that don’t agree with the pet.
  • Pet-induced odors—Things that smell good to our pets often are not things that smell great to us. Our pets like to roll in their favourite “scents” perhaps allowing them to “enjoy” the smell for a longer period of time.  The down side is that we also get to “enjoy” them, and we’d rather not!  Among our pets’ most beloved scents are feces, dead animal carcasses, and rotting food.
  • Skunk—One of the worst smells your pet can bring home is the smell of skunk. The smell of skunk is particularly difficult to remove from an animal’s coat, and it is impossible to ignore.

What Can You Do to Minimize or Eliminate Pet Smells?

The number one thing that you can do to reduce pet odors is to keep your pet clean.  Regular grooming and dental maintenance will help eliminate any bacteria that can cause coats, skin, and teeth to emit powerful smells.

Feed your pet a regular, balanced, high quality diet.  Do not switch brands without a proper transitioning period.  Keep added human foods to a minimum to reduce the chances of any digestive distress and flatulence problems.

Wash pet bedding frequently.  If you make use of throws or protective coverings on your furniture, replace them as they become dirty.  Keep an extra supply handy to allow you to wash things as necessary.

Make use of cleaners and deodorizing sprays formulated specifically to deal with odors from pets.  Odoban is a fantastic product that effectively deals with offensive smells, virtually eliminating their presence from fabrics and flooring.  Many people like to make use of products like Febreze and Resolve to help reduce pet odors as well.

Maintain proper veterinary care.  Annual veterinary visits are a great way to ensure that Fido and Fifi are the picture of health.  Making visits to your vet allow you to spot potential problems before they arise and to get immediate treatment for anything that is a cause for concern.

Remove “objectionable” items from your backyard.  Your dog can’t roll in poop if there isn’t any in your yard to roll in!  Dispose of any dead animal carcasses or garbage swiftly and make certain it is contained in a sealed garbage bin to eliminate the possibility of re-investigation at a later date.

Yes, our pets are guilty of bringing foreign and offensive smells into our homes.  But we don’t have to have a stinky house!  Follow these few simple tips to keep your home and your pets smelling like a rose.



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