Dear Tabby,

We have two cats and a dog and, between the litter box and the dog bed, our house stinks! We love our pets so much, but we don’t love the odors that they cause. Any tips for keeping our house from smelling like an animal shelter?

Sick of the smells in Shepherd Park Plaza

Dear Sick of the Smells,

We here at The Leader hear you, friend! Pets are a blessing indeed, but, man alive, do they create some funky odors in your home! Litter boxes, accidents in the house, fur and dander--it all adds up to create some truly gnarly smelling situations in the home. Good news though: it IS possible to cohabitate with pets and not have to endure a smelly house. All it takes is a little extra care and some healthy habits, but you should be able to get your home back in ship-shape in no time!

Here are a few tips for keeping your house smelling nice (and no, none of the tips include air fresheners or getting rid of your sweet pets!):

Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum

This probably isn’t what you want to hear, but your vacuum is really your best friend when it comes to eliminating your home of pet odors. Your vacuum will suck up dander, fur and loose kitty litter, helping to freshen the floors and furniture of your house. Make sure that your vacuum bag or canister is dumped out or changed often. Vacuums with HEPA filters are great for homes with pets, so consider buying a vacuum that features this type of filter to help keep the dust and dander at bay. If you hate vacuuming, consider a robot vacuum that will do some of the work for you.

Be diligent about the litter box

Litter boxes can be a source of odor in the home if not maintained properly. Plus, cats can be really picky about where they use the bathroom, so if the litter box doesn’t live up to their expectations of cleanliness, they might start going outside of the box, which creates a whole next-level of odor issues in the home. Obviously, scoop the litter box at least once daily (since you have two cats, you might consider adding an extra box or two, also) and completely clean out and replace the litter often as well. It doesn’t hurt to toss the whole box once a year and replace it with a new box and litter entirely.

Keep your pets clean

Bathe and/or groom your dog often to keep him or her smelling and looking their best. While cats don’t require baths the way that dogs do, if you find that your cats are getting smelly, give them a run-over with a wet washcloth periodically, as well. A clean pet makes for a clean(er) home and makes your pets happier and healthier.

Consider going with all hard-flooring

If you plan to have pets for a while, consider removing wall-to-wall carpeting in your home and going with an easier-to-clean option like tile or wood floors. Carpet traps all manner of odors, dust, dander and fur and can really make it difficult to keep a fresh-smelling home. In the long run, the expense of switching to hard flooring might be worth it.

Pets are a joy to share our homes with, but the odors--not so much. Try to get into the habit of cleaning a little every day so that you don’t end up with a bigger job on your hands than you have the energy for. Enlist the help of your roommates or family to help, as well. Soon enough, you’ll have a home that is fresh enough to have company over without suffering the embarrassment of having that tell-tale “dog smell” greeting them at the front door!

Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at

Pet of the Week



Meet Winston. Winston is a 7 year old pittie mix who has been waiting for his forever home for too long. Winston is the perfect mix of active (he loves going on walks in the mornings or evenings) and cuddly couch-potato. He knows his house manners and, while he isn’t a fan of being in a crate, he is very good about just hanging out on his bed and snoozing when his foster parents are out of the house. To learn more about this big, sweet lug, go to

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