Controlling pet odor through petfood nutrition

Research is constantly being conducted to determine the best ways to balance pet health and wellness and consumer desire to keep their furry friends from smelling up their homes.

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True Treats No Fart 1412 Pe Todor

The pet care industry has long focused on pet odor control. From scent-absorbing cat litter to specialty dog shampoos, there are plenty of products designed to mitigate the external factors that make for a smelly pet—and a smelly home. Petfood also has its eye on odor, but its influence falls more on the … internal side of things.

Research is constantly being conducted to determine the best ways to balance pet health and wellness and consumer desire to keep their furry friends from smelling up their homes. Several studies have focused on Yucca schidigera as a petfood ingredient capable of reducing waste odor in dogs and cats, determining that yucca ingestion generally improves the character and intensity of canine and feline aroma–up to 26% (see Sidebar, “Pet odor research”). Studies on prebiotics and probiotics, highlighted as part of digestive health, were particularly popular at the most recent American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition and research Symposium. A July 2014 study published in the American Journal of Veterinary Research focused on oral health, determining that an oral gel with essential oils (menthol and thymol) and polyphenolic antioxidants (phloretin and ferulic acid) can reduce halitosis in dogs (see Sidebar, “Pet odor research”).

Putting such research into practice is what the petfood industry excels at: specialty foods and treats line the shelves aiming to control pet odor through nutrition.

Digestive health is an  obvious place to tackle pet odor, and many petfood companies are highlighting prebiotics and probiotics in their products as a way to ease digestion and minimize the kinds of troubles that can create undesirable fecal odor. Diamond Pet Foods’ ( Diamond Naturals petfood line has been reformulated, adding proprietary probiotic technology to help with efficient digestion. The company has developed both K-9 Strain Probiotics for dogs and Viable Probiotics for cats.

Buddy’s Kitchen ( has released a fresh prescription petfood diet, FreshRx, which can only be found in veterinarians’ offices in Ontario, Canada. The protein-based food contains prebiotics and probiotics as well as other vitamins and minerals, to ensure the nutritional needs of dogs are met. FreshRx can also be used as a supplement over a preferred kibble diet to add nutrients, variety and increased palatability, according to the company.

Ginger is another ingredient touted for its digestive properties, particularly the digestion of fats. Washington-based True Treats Pet Bakery takes advantage of this with its No-Fart dog treats, all-natural vegan pet treats that focus on reducing gas. The active ingredient, organic ginger powder, works with pumpkin and carrot to balance digestion.

Oral health is the  other obvious go-to when it comes to controlling pet odor. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition in dogs and cats. Most pet owners know, at least peripherally, that good dental health is vital for their pets, and they look to petfood for easy ways to keep their animals’ teeth healthy, and pet treats are the preferred method of most companies looking to get into this segment of specialty petfood.

Vets Plus Inc. ( offers KaNoodles dental hygiene chews for dogs as part of its line of pet nutrition supplements. KaNoodles’ shape provides a thorough cleaning by reaching to the base of each tooth to remove plaque and tartar build up. This pasta-based chew is easy to digest and supports both oral health and the immune system, according to the company.

Arm & Hammer ( offers several styles of dental chews for dogs, including the Advanced Pet Care Tartar Total Control Dental Ring Dog Chew. The chews, which feature baking soda as a cleaner and deodorant, use shape and texture to reach the gum line in order to promote complete dental hygiene. Twist and Oval varieties of dental chews are also available.

Big Heart Pet Brands ( has Milk-Bone Brushing Chews dental treats, which the company says are proven to be as effective as brushing a dog’s teeth twice a week when one treat is given daily. The chews, with their patent-pending twist shape, nubs and ridges designed to clean like bristles on a toothbrush, have earned the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s Seal of Acceptance for tartar control.

Whether the focus  is digestive or oral, pet owners are continually looking for nutrition-savvy ways to reduce their companions’ odor. Fortunately, the petfood industry is on the job, meeting that need with foods and treats that keep pets healthy and owners’ noses happy.

Pet odor research

Yucca schidigera and waste-odor control in dogs and cats

Reducing oral malodor in dogs using a topical gel

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