Pet odors and stains are sometimes the price we pay for the love and affection we get from our beloved family pets.
Accidents happen, especially when pets are too young, or at an age where they find it difficult to control their peeing and pooping behavior. At other times, inappropriate urination or defecation may be due to behavioral problems or physical illness.
Whatever the cause, pet poop and pee odor and stains can become a major problem if left unchecked.
How to get rid of pet odors & stains
First, identify where cats and dogs are peeing or pooping inside the home. This can be fairly easy since, once they have marked a favorite spot, most pets will return "to the scene of the crime" over and over again.
NOTE: Rather than just disguise the smell, enzymatic pet odor neutralizers available at pet supply stores have been found to be the best odor removers when it comes to cat urine and dog urine. They are often just as effective at stain removal. Although more expensive than homemade solutions, try surfing the web at comparison shopping sites for the best prices.
Homemade solutions such as vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and ammonia are proven ineffective in some instances. Ammonia, in particular, should be avoided for cleaning cat stains and odors since it mimics the smell of cat urine and may even attract your cat back to the problem spot.
On wood floors, blot the area with newspaper or paper towels to absorb as much of the urine as possible. Next, douse the area with cold water to dilute the remaining urine and blot again with paper towels. Before mopping or waxing the area as you normally would, try washing the area with diluted vinegar to neutralize the smell.
If the odor persists after frequent washings, you may have to sand and re-varnish the area to totally remove the stain or smell.
For odors in washable items like clothes, bedsheets or throw rugs - blot up as much of the urine as you can before laundering. Along with your regular detergent, add two cups of baking soda to the water and wash thoroughly.
If the problem persists, try adding an enzymatic pet odor neutralizer (available at pet stores - try Nature's Miracle or Zero Odor) to the wash, and repeat the process until the stain and odor disappear.
For carpet and upholstery, blot with paper towels to absorb as much of the urine as possible, then rinse thoroughly with cold water. To dry, blot with paper towels or use a wet vac. Avoid steam cleaners on carpet since the heat will help bond the odor to the fibers making it impossible to remove the smell entirely.
After a thorough cleaning with a carpet or upholstery shampoo, use an enzymatic pet odor neutralizer to help lift any stains and remove the smell.
Preventing pet stains and odors
There may be a variety of causes why dogs or cats may suddenly change behaviors in regards to relieving themselves inside the home. The most obvious cause may be failure to provide them with enough opportunities to appropriately relieve themselves.
For Fido, more time outside might be the quick solution. For Kitty, more frequent cleaning of the litter box, or moving the litter box away from its feeding area, might solve the problem.
Besides chewing up your favorite slippers, puppies will pee or defecate in the house if left alone for too long. Mature cats will even "raise a stink" by urinating or defecating on the bed or carpet to express their displeasure during your particularly long absence.
If you cannot identify the cause of your pet's misbehavior, or suspect an illness (feline diabetes in cats can result in frequent urination), your vet may have expert advice on the problem as to why pets are inappropriately relieving themselves inside the house.
More information about pet stains & odors around the Web:
Removing Pet Stains and Odors- The Humane Society has step-by-step tips for getting rid of stains and odors from carpets, beds, walls, floors and furniture along with behavior modification and retraining tips.
Pet Stain and Odor Tips - Find more than a dozen visitor-submitted tips for removing cat urine odors, cleaning dog feces from carpets and upholstery, and related advice.
Pet Stains - This University of Nebraska Extension guide offers advice and suggestions for getting rid of pet stains in carpet and wood floors.
How To Get Rid of Cat Urine - Check out a good discussion on the difficulty of getting rid of the smell with tips on prevention, and suggestions for homemade and commercial solutions.