"But before using any commercial product, read and follow the instructions precisely," says pet supplies expert Christianne Schelling, DMD, a veterinarian in Three Rivers, California, and founder of . "Make sure it's safe to use around your pets and children." First, test it on an inconspicuous spot so the product doesn't ruin the fabric or surface you're cleaning, she adds.
Here are some of the best pet supplies for getting rid of those not-so-adorable aspects of animal companionship.
Bounty paper towels
This is your first defense against vomit, feces and urine messes. Place a couple of these towels over the pile, press gently with your shoe and allow the towel to absorb most of the mess. (With firm feces, you can use the towel to pick up the mess without soiling your hands.) The next step is to use a stain and odor remover.
Nature's Miracle Stain and Odor Remover
This product works by using natural enzymes to break down organic stains and odors such as those left by vomit, feces and urine. Because of its natural ingredients, the manufacturer claims that it's safer to use than products with harsher chemicals, guaranteeing that it's non-toxic, non-flammable and safe on colors and all water-safe surfaces. For removing stains from carpets, clothes and furniture, Nature's Miracle comes in liquid, spray and detergent forms, starting at $5.75 for a 32 oz. bottle. It also eliminates urine odors, increasing the chances that your pet won't be lured back to the same spot again to urinate. "Enzymatic products are often inactivated by certain chemicals," Dr. Schelling says. "If using an enzymatic cleaner, don't combine it with another product unless specifically directed by the manufacturer." Check out for more information.
Urine Finder UV Fluorescent Tube
Want to add a high-tech flair to your pet cleaning? Try the battery operated UV Fluorescent Tube, which helps you identify the exact locations of dried urine to eliminate old urine odors at their source. Cost: $9.95 at
If you're the do-it-yourself type, you may find that some of the best pet products are in your own cupboards or drawers. For new pet stains, remove them with a quart of warm water, 1/2 cup of white vinegar and several white paper towels.
If you walk into your house and you're hit with the foul, telltale sign that your cat has used her litter box, one of the easiest things to do is burn some incense. After you've scooped out the feces, it only takes a minute for the incense to eliminate the odor. Keep some incense and a lighter nearby so you can use it quickly.
Cut a couple of lemons in half, place them cut-side-up in the room where your litter box is, and the scent should neutralize any foul odors.
Remember, the best way to deal with pet messes is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Make sure you take your dog out in time to avoid accidents in your home, and provide your cat with a clean litter box she feels comfortable with and likes to use.