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  • Kelley Post

8 Household Items That Can Help in Pet Grooming

Last evening, just before getting ready for bed, I let my three dogs out into the backyard to do their business. However, as I opened the back door all three dogs bolted outside in an alarming state of urgency! This was followed by the familiar, horrible smell of SKUNK! I hollered for Larry to come and help me get the dogs back into the house before they got sprayed!

Photo credit: Kelley Post

Peachy the 16-year-old bichon-poodle had not got off the deck yet and was easy to catch. Chewy, the 14-year-old Miniature Pinscher was in pursuit of this strange smelling, black and white kitty but did listen when Mom was frantically hollering and he came back to the house. Penny, the one-year-old Saint Bernard was a different story! Penny was back and forth across the yard several times, in and out of the raspberry patch, bound and determined that she was going to catch this intruder that invaded her back yard. After several minutes of causing a neighborhood disturbance, Larry and I were able to divert Penny’s attention and she listened to us and came to the house.

While the skunk smell was still very strong in the air, our dogs were fortunate enough not to get sprayed. If they had been sprayed, the well-known go to remedy is tomato juice. You would drench the skunk-sprayed dog with the tomato juice, leave it on for several minutes and then wash with pet shampoo, repeat if necessary.

There are many other household products that can be used for different grooming and pet care situations:

· Baking Soda: this product is extremely under-used and has many different uses when it comes to pet care. Use a soft bristled toothbrush, first dipped in water and then in baking soda for a natural way to keep your dogs’ teeth healthy and white.

Your dogs’ ears can be cleaned on a regular basis with one teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a cup of warm water. Dip a cotton ball in the mixture and gently wipe out the ear to help avoid odor and mites.

If you are cleaning up an indoor accident: scrub the area with club soda and after it has dried, sprinkle the area with baking soda, leave for a few minutes and vacuum.

To give your dog some relief from a bee sting, make sure that the stinger is removed and cover the wound with a baking soda paste.

· Listerine: the mouthwash can be used to get rid of fleas and is a good rinse on yeasty or oily skin. Fill a spray bottle half and half with Listerine and water to help remove bacteria and fungus. Spray on after a bath and rinse off, comb fur to remove any dead insects. Spray a fine mist over pet beds and toys, wherever fleas may lurk.

· Vanilla extract: a few drops mixed with some vodka and put in a spray bottle is a nontoxic room deodorizer that can get rid of pet odors.

· Fabric softener: sheets like bounce can be used to help get rid of static electricity in your pet’s fur. Rubbing a sheet over their fur helps them to smell better as well.

· Apple cider vinegar: can help remove fleas and help to overcome bladder infections. Only use apple cider vinegar when it has been diluted half and half with distilled water. Full strength apple cider vinegar can cause upset stomach and diarrhea. To administer this foul-tasting mixture, dip the pets front paws into the diluted apple cider vinegar and they will lick it off.

· Peanut butter: only use the natural kind that does not include the sweetener xylitol, which is toxic to pets. Peanut butter provides nutrients, fiber, protein, and healthy fats for the dog. You can use a spoonful of peanut butter to help get a sticky mess out of the pet’s fur.

The oil in the peanut butter will break down the mess and make it easier to remove.

· Oatmeal: can be used in a warm soothing bath to help alleviate dry itchy skin on your dog. Grind up the oatmeal using a blender or a coffee grinder into a fine powder. Do not use oatmeal that has any extra ingredients like sugar that would be in instant oatmeal.

Prepare a warm bath and pour in the oatmeal powder, add the dog. Massage the dog all over being careful not to get any bath water in his eyes. When completed rinse all the oatmeal off the dog.

There are many different household products that can be helpful in caring for your pet, however there are also many products that are toxic to pets. Do your research before trying any new product on a pet and never use household cleaners on a pet.

If you have any ideas for pet related stories, please email Kelley Post at

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