Pet Odors and Potential Health Risks

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Pet Odors and Potential Health Risks

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Pet odors in the home can be both unpleasant and potentially dangerous, depending on the circumstances. If odors are significant, pet waste can emit ammonia into the air. Ammonia can cause unpleasant reactions in humans, and it can also lead to illness. Regular monitoring of pet activities should help minimize issues from messes and odors. If a pet makes a mess where it shouldn’t, clean it up promptly with special enzymatic cleaners designed to neutralize these messes. Pet dander in the home can also cause allergic reactions in some people. Careful sanitary practices in the home should prevent problems with odors and bacteria.

  • Odors and Your Health (PDF): Odors can be a cause of health problems. The human olfactory system has the responsibility of detecting odors.
  • Indoor Air Hazards Every Homeowner Should Know About: Signs of indoor air hazards may include noticeable odors, stale air, and a lack of air movement in a home.
  • Biological Pollutants in Your Home: Pet dander can be a source of biological pollutants. Some people have sensitivities to biological pollutants, and they may have an allergic reaction.
  • How to Clean Up Cat Urine: When cat urine comes into contact with a household surface, it’s important to clean up the mess quickly. If odors persist after cleaning an area, it may be necessary to resurface or replace materials.
  • Pet Stains: Cleaning up pet stains within an hour or two of occurrence should be enough to resolve the stain and odor. Applying sunlight and air circulation to a stain can also help resolve it.
  • Odors: What’s That Smell? (PDF): It may be possible to neutralize odors in bedding by sprinkling the area with baking soda. Allow the baking soda to sit on the fabric for several hours, then vacuum it.
  • Baking Soda: The Everyday Miracle (PDF): Baking soda neutralizes odor molecules to stop unpleasant smells. Baking soda is also a natural and safe substance, making it ideal for sprinkling on a pet’s bed to control odors.
  • What to Do if Your Dog Soils the House: When pets make messes in the house, you must clean up the mess thoroughly to prevent issues. An enzymatic cleaner will break down molecules to remove them completely from a surface.
  • Help Yourself to a Healthy Home (PDF): Restricting pets from living areas and bedrooms can help if family members have problems with asthma or allergies. This restriction will help eliminate pet dander from these areas.
  • The Indoor Cat Initiative (PDF): Cats may intentionally mark their territory with urine spray. If this occurs, you will need to clean up the mess thoroughly to prevent lingering odors.
  • Bathing Your Dog: Dogs need regular bathing to minimize odors, which they can transfer to surroundings in a home.
  • Asthma Triggers (PDF): Cats, dogs, birds, and rodents can produce allergens that enter the air and incite an allergic response in some people. Improper cleaning in a home may lead to an excess of dander and odors, which can make allergies worse.
  • Dangers of Dog Poop: Failure to clean up dog feces can lead to contamination and illness. Parasites are often present in dog feces, which can transfer to humans to cause illness.
  • Five Important Reasons to Clean Up Pet Waste: Cleaning up and disposing of pet waste is one of the tasks of pet ownership. Allowing waste to accumulate without disposing of it can lead to unpleasant odors and illness.
  • Ammonia Fact Sheet: Allowing pet waste to fester without cleaning it can lead to the release of ammonia into the air. Ammonia has a strong and unpleasant odor. Exposure to ammonia can lead to health issues.
  • Indoor Air Issues: Ammonia (PDF): Ammonia is colorless, but it has a strong odor. Pet urine contains ammonia. Exposure to ammonia in an enclosed area can cause irritation of the throat, eyes, and nose. Headaches may also occur.
  • What Is Ammonia? Ammonia occurs naturally in some types of bacteria, including pet urine. People may notice exposure to ammonia with symptoms such as burning eyes, nose, and throat.
  • Removing Pet Stains and Odors (PDF): Finding the source of pet odors can be challenging. Using a black light may enable you to find old urine stains.
  • Successful Cleaning to Remove Pet Odors and Stains (PDF): Steam cleaners can be counterproductive when cleaning urine stains from upholstery and carpet. The heat from the steam may actually set in the odor and the stain instead of removing them.
  • Removing Pet Stains and Odors: Cleaning pet stains with products containing ammonia or vinegar will mask the odors instead of removing them. An enzymatic cleaner should effectively remove both stains and odors.
  • Successful Cleaning to Remove Pet Odors and Stains (PDF): Pet supply stores sell enzymatic cleaners for removing pet stains and odors.
  • Cleaning Tips: Failure to clean up urine completely may lead to future problems. Even if you cannot smell urine, a pet probably can. The pet may make additional messes in the same area because urine odors persist.
  • Odor Removal Guidelines: Changing a litter box regularly is an effective way to minimize pet odors in the home.
  • Owning a Cat: A dirty litter box may lead a cat to urinate inappropriately in the home. If a cat feels threatened, it may also urinate outside of the litter box to mark its territory.
  • Creature Comforts: Assess potential litter box issues if a cat has problems with inappropriate urination. Placing the litter box in a location where a cat feels uncomfortable might cause the cat to refuse to use it.
  • Cat Behavior Tips (PDF): A cat may have a health problem if it does not use a litter box correctly. Have a cat evaluated by a veterinarian if indiscriminate urination occurs.
  • Urine Spraying (PDF): Neutering a male cat is an effective way to stop urine spraying in the home. Always clean up urine messes quickly and thoroughly to avoid lingering pet odor.

Last modified: May 31, 2017