As with anything else, prevention is always better than cure. A properly toilet-trained animal is far less likely to leave you with poop and urine marks and odors to deal with. Even then, a canine with an upset stomach, or one still being toilet trained, or a geriatric pooch, can still cause problems.
You can also help yourself by keeping your home well-ventilated, and by investing in flooring surfaces which are easily cleaned, including synthetic materials for carpets. Regularly brushing your animal and disposing of the hairs can stop the spread of some smells, as can frequent washing of your pet’s bedding. If you add a small amount of baking soda to your regular washing detergent when you launder your own clothes, that will also help keep them free of doggy odors.
Weekly vacuuming of your carpet and furniture will be a big help, as will cleaning your curtains at least once a month. You can keep carpets fresh with the various deodorizers and neutralizers on the market, but use products which are not heavily scented, since strong fragrances will often just mask bad odors. Mixing baking soda in some water and soaking an affected area, then letting it stand for a few minutes before blotting dry is one cheap way of removing odors.
With all kinds of stains, you have to act quickly – the sooner you take action, the more effectively you’ll be able to deal with the problem. If you’re working on tough urine stains, you also have to be thorough. Unless you remove all the urine and its smell, your pet is likely to pee on the same area all over again. Soak up excess urine with paper towels, blotting rather than rubbing. Work your way inwards from the outside of the stain. Then rinse with water to dilute the urine, and blot again.
Some pet owners swear by a little water and peroxide on a sponge to remove urine, others recommend soaking the stain with a spray window cleaner, and then blotting with paper towel. Or try swabbing a 50/50 white vinegar and water solution to lift the stain. Some dog owners even claim toothpaste or raw potato can be used on dog urine stains. For a wooden surface, iodine has been known to work well, and it will act as a disinfectant as well. Whatever you use, try and test it out on a hidden area of carpet, wooden floor or fabric first.
For those unhappy poop accidents, scoop up the solid matter then blot moisture with paper towels before vacuuming up loose bits and then following the procedure for urine outlined above. If your dog is sick (it happens), the acid in vomit can stain quickly so, again, scoop up solids, loosen the rest with water and coat the area with salt or baking soda. Let it dry and then vacuum, before repeating.
No-one can pretend that dogs don’t sometimes smell, or have occasional accidents. But, by following the simple guidelines above, you can enjoy all the good things about pet ownership, while promptly dealing with some of the downsides.