Pet Odor Potpourri

The right assortment of products can help pet owners keep their homes smelling fresh and clean.


There is no doubt that people love their pets, and a thriving pet product industry is proof-positive of people’s love affair with animals. But pet ownership does have its downside. Foul odors rank high on the list of consumers’ dislikes when it comes owning pets—small animals being no exception. Fortunately, the pet market offers plenty of solutions to this smelly problem.

When it comes to pet odors, the small animal that first comes to mind is usually the ferret. Ferrets tend to produce more pungent odors than other small animals. Because they are carnivores, while most other small pets are omnivores or herbivores, their feces are much more offensive, and the scent glands in their skin produce strong odors. Accordingly, there are more odor control products marketed for ferrets than any other small pet.

Marshall Pet Products, based in Wolcott, N.Y., offers a line of odor products designed for ferrets and other small animals—GoodBye Odor for Ferrets, GoodBye Odor for Small Animals and GoodBye Odor for Pets. Unlike sprays that pet owners use on the pet or the environment, GoodBye Odor is added to the pets’ food and works from the inside out. This reduces odor at its source, including the smell of the animals’ feces, urine and body odor.

Spot Cleaning
Marshall Pet Products has also recently expanded its Earth’s Balance line with a spot cleaner for when a free-roaming ferret in the home misses the litter box. Earth’s Balance 180XT is a stain, odor and pheromone remover for use on carpets and upholstery. “It’s a concentrated, professional-strength formula that completely extracts pheromones, helping stop re-soiling habits common to household pets,” says Linda Cope, new media marketing manager at Marshall Pet Products.

180XT is enzyme-free and works in three minutes with three easy steps: soak, scrub and blot. The bubbling action penetrates deep to lift away the stain’s actual molecules, erasing the stain completely, eliminating a broad range of stains and odors, including pet waste and urine, dirt, wine, ink and more. It can be used on multiple surfaces, upholstery, carpeting and most fabrics.

Ferrets aren’t the only small pets that bring odors into the home. Brisky Pet Products, located in Franklinville, N.Y., specializes in products for exotic pets. Sugar gliders, for instance, tend to be more odorous than many other small animals. “Brisky carries a variety of odor-control products for use on pets as well as in and around their cage environment,” says Stefan Wawrzynski, Brisky sales manager. “For hygiene and to control body odor, we feature Brisky Dry Shampoo for sugar gliders and Brisky Dry Shampoo for rabbits. Both are specially formulated to be used without water. Just spray it on and wipe off the dirt. Both are gentle and mild enough to use on any pet, and leave a long-lasting fresh scent.” 

The company’s Glider Glo is a gentle skin and coat conditioner that leaves a pet’s coat smooth and soft, and can be used daily. For an added touch, pet owners can use Brisky’s Ferret and Rabbit colognes, which have a mild fresh scent and contain coat conditioners.

Even hedgehogs can use some special treatment from time to time. “Brisky Pet Products also makes a unique hedgehog product called Spine and Shine,” Wawrzynski says. The product is designed to condition hedgehogs’ “coats” and help relieve the skin irritation they encounter during spine-shedding season.

Consumers with dust-bath loving animals might want to try the company’s DryBath, which provides a natural and safe dust bath that removes excess oils and dirt from a pet’s coat. The product comes in a traditional powder form and a courser granule form. It is safe for all pets but mainly intended for dust-bathing pets.

Brisky also features B-Dry, a powder or granule product that can be added to existing litter, used in a cage tray or on a cage bottom to absorb odors and extend the time between cage cleaning.

Air Conditioning
One product that has been around for years but that is new to me is Exit Odor, made by Lixit Animal Care Products, in Napa, Calif. Exit Odor is a small, plastic mesh bag containing refined carbon pellets and zeolyte granules. The bag comes with a peel-and-stick pad so it can be mounted on the outside of a cage or litter box, as well as a wire hanger. The contents of the bag absorb ammonia gas and other odors right from the air.

When the company sent me samples to test, I was skeptical at first. But I hung one of the bags on the cage belonging to one of my rats who has particularly stinky urine. No matter how often I clean this cage, the odor recurs within a day or two. I was pleasantly surprised when Exit Odor actually worked and reduced the odor from the cage.

According to information about the product included with the samples, ammonia gas is lighter than air and is continually released from used pet litter into the atmosphere of the home. Even when litter is clean, a litter pan or cage bottom can become a “reservoir of odors” and even the most advanced litter products can’t prevent odors from escaping. Exit Odor is design to capture and eliminate the odors. Each bag is supposed to last for three months, and I can certainly attest by my own experience that this product helps to reduce pet odors in the home.

Debbie Ducommun has a B.A. in animal behavior and has worked in the animal field since 1982. She is the author of the book Rats!, the booklet Rat Health Care and, her most recent book, The Complete Guide to Rat Training: Tricks and Games for Rat Fun and Fitness.

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