35 Gross Mistakes You Don't Realize You're Making If You Have A Cat Or Dog

More cuteness, less grossness.

by Lisa Fogarty and Mackenzie Edwards
Originally Published: 
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Your pets are like your children and you couldn’t imagine life without them, but if you could — it’d probably be a lot cleaner. I’ve found the secret weapons you need to enjoy your pets at home, without worrying about the mess they might create. From tracking litter across the carpet to having accidents inside, avoid these 35 gross mistakes you don’t realize you’re making if you have a cat or dog.

On this list, you’ll find products that help revive clothes, furniture, and rugs, as well as tools that can keep your pet as healthy as possible. I’ve included a first aid kit, the ultimate tick removal tool, and the car cover that will keep your vehicle free of pet hair. Just a few clicks and your home (and life) could be a lot cleaner.

These finds come highly rated and reviewed by other pet owners so you know you’re getting the best of the best.


Mistake: Forgetting To Clean Between Your Dog’s Skin Folds

Solution: These Refreshing Wrinkle Wipes

Keep your dog’s skin clean without irritating them with the help of these wrinkle wipes. The wipes are designed to eradicate dirt and grime from deep within their cute skin wrinkles. They’re made with a blend that includes moisturizing ceramides, so there’s no worry about these causing skin irritation. Use them on muddy paws, to remove tear stains, or anywhere your pooch needs a bit of dirt and odor-removing help.


Mistake: Forgetting To Brush Their Coats And Dealing With Matting

Solution: A Gentle Brush With Soft Bristles That Untangles Hair

When your dog’s hair mats it not only looks unsightly, but it’s also uncomfortable for your poor pooch. The best solution is daily upkeep and brushing, and this is the gentle pet brush that might actually make them look forward to grooming sessions. It’s designed with soft plastic bristles that have rounded edges and a comfortable handle with a thumb rest.


Mistake: Not Checking For And Removing Fleas

Solution: A Comb Designed Specifically For Flea Removal

It’s an undeniable fact that fleas are a gross reality when you have a dog or cat. But closing your eyes to them will just make the problem worse. Perform regular checks and have this flea comb handy to quickly and effectively retrieve fleas and their eggs. The comb has a double row of sturdy stainless steel teeth with rounded ends so it’s gentle on your furry friend.


Mistake: Never Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth

Solution: A Set Of Gentle Finger Toothbrushes

If you’ve given up on brushing your pet’s teeth because every attempt ends with them snagging the toothbrush and tearing it to shreds, the solution isn’t to neglect their dental care altogether: it’s to swap brushes for these pet finger toothbrushes. Place one brush over your finger, add a drop of pet toothpaste, and then gently massage their teeth and gums, allowing the soft bristles to remove food debris and plaque. Each set comes with seven soft finger brushes.


Mistake: Using Your Nice Towels To Dry Your Pet After A Bath

Solution: Highly Absorbent Microfiber Pet Towels

Your nice towels should stay nice — something that can’t be achieved if you’re using them to wipe your dog or cat dry. Instead, invest in this pet bath towel that is made from highly absorbent microfiber. The towel is large enough for pets of all sizes and comes with its own travel bag so you can bring it hiking, camping, or to the park or beach — anywhere your pet tends to get a little wet or grimy.


Mistake: Leaving Clumps Of Litter In The Box

Solution: The Deep Shovel That Gets Everything Out

There’s no point in cleaning out the litter box if you’re going to accidentally leave clumps inside. This deep shovel litter scoop gets the nasty job of cleaning litter boxes done in less time and with less effort. The scoop has a tapered front edge that’s perfect for clearing out the corners of your box and it boasts more than 2,000 reviews.


Mistake: Litter Slips Out Of The Box And Is All Over Your Floor

Solution: An Anti-Slip Mat That Traps Litter

After your cat does their business, do they leave proof of it by tracking litter all over your floor? The simplest solution is to place this cat litter mat underneath boxes, allowing it to trap litter so that you can easily shake it clean into your trash bin. The anti-slip mat is waterproof and comes in three colors: brown, blue-gray, and black.


Mistake: Your Pet Loves To Push Their Bowls Around During Meals

Solution: A Waterproof Feeding Mat That Won’t Shift

Whether they do it out of boredom or accidentally, it’s not uncommon to feed your pet, leave the room, and come back to find their bowls pushed from one side of the kitchen to the other (with food and water flying everywhere as a result). Snag this pet feeding mat and place it under bowls to keep everything in place. It has a non-slip design with a raised edge to keep bowls from shifting. It’s also waterproof and simple to clean — give it a quick wipe or toss it in your dishwasher.


Mistake: Letting Pets Make A Mess In Your Car

Solution: A Protective Pet Car Seat Cover

Taking your pet for a ride in the car can be such a fun experience for both you and them. But cleaning up after them? Not so much. Protect your ride with this pet car seat cover that acts as a waterproof barrier between your pet and the seat. It fits any car or SUV and can be installed in just one minute. It comes in two sizes and four colors and can be wiped clean with a rag.


Mistake: Your Pets Have Taken Over Your Bed

Solution: Provide Them With Their Own Comfortable Snoozing Spot

If you love nothing more than when all of your pets pile onto your bed, no judgments here. But if you’re getting tired of sharing your bed with the dogs and cats, try introducing this calming pet bed to their space. The round donut bed is fluffy and lightweight with a convenient waterproof bottom. It comes in two sizes and four colors, with more than 7,000 reviews. One fan wrote, “I have bought beds before and my dog has never taken to a bed. With this one she loves it! I should have bought this a long time ago.”


Mistake: Letting Your Dog Chew Up Furniture And Shoes

Solution: A 7-Pack Of Durable Toys To Cure Their Boredom

The minute your dog gets bored they may immediately make a beeline for your furniture and favorite shoes. Providing them with a durable set of dog toys like this seven-piece set can ward off their need to chew and play while keeping your possessions in good shape. It comes with a variety of rope tug toys and includes a carry bag with handles.


Mistake: You Haven’t Properly Trained Your Dog To Go Outside

Solution: The Dog Training Set With Everything You Need

Your dog can only respond the way you want if they’ve been trained to do so — and that includes doing their business outside and not on your carpet. This dog training set includes a treat bag, training bells, and an ultrasonic training whistle. “This is a great package,” one reviewer wrote. “I never used bells before to potty train a puppy. I was skeptical but oh my goodness- best investment ever. My puppy was really young when we got him - two weeks old (rescued) we started the bells at 4 weeks - he had a few accidents but caught on really fast, within 2 days.”


Mistake: Not Picking Up After Your Dog

Solution: A Money-Saving Pack Of 540 Dog Poop Bags

Do your part to keep your yard and neighborhood beautiful and free of gross dog poop when you keep these highly rated dog poop bags on hand. The money-saving pack of 540 bags costs less than $15 and each is durable and leak-proof. They come in convenient rolls and you can easily detach one when you need it and keep the roll on your leash or in your pocket.


Mistake: The Cats Have Scratched Your Sofa To Bits

Solution: These Transparent Cat Scratch Deterrents

You shouldn’t have to choose between having a sweet cat and accepting a destroyed sofa. The next time your kitty tries to claw the furniture, these cat scratch deterrents will keep their scratching at bay. The shields, which come in a pack of six, are transparent (so they won’t take away from your room’s aesthetic) and they stay on with simple screw pins. This popular pick has more than 10,000 reviews.


Mistake: Pet Hair Is Trapped To Your Upholstery

Solution: A Pet Hair Remover With A Serious Following

A few fast rolls over your furniture with this pet hair remover and you’ll instantly lift up your pet’s sticky fur and hair. The reusable roller traps hair and lint without requiring tape or adhesives. To clean it, press the open chamber button and shake debris straight into your waste basket. One of its 7,000 reviewers raved, “I was amazed how it worked. I have 2 beagles, and they have really stubborn hair all over the couch. It works!!! [...]”


Mistake: Leaving Pet Odors To Linger

Solution: The Ultimate Citrus-Scented Odor Remover And Air Freshener

Bad pet odors are a fact of life if you own a dog or cat — but they needn’t linger in the air. This citrus-infused odor eliminator can be used in the air or on fabric to combat stink and leave a pleasant and refreshing scent behind. The formula is made with natural ingredients like tea tree oil, lemongrass, and clove.


Mistake: Skipping Grooming Sessions Because Your Pet Is Scared Of Them

Solution: Soothing Pet Grooming Gloves

Grooming appointments aren’t for every dog or cat — some despise them or are so filled with anxiety over them that you figure it’s easier to skip them. But your pet still needs de-shedding TLC and these pet grooming gloves are the perfect tool for the job. They feature gentle all-over bristles that soothe your pet while effectively removing excess hair and fur. Adjust the strap around the wrist to fit you and get ready to make your pet melt.


Mistake: Letting Hidden Pet Stains Slip Under The Radar

Solution: This UV Flashlight That Finds Old Stains And Odors

Pet stains that go undetected can cause long, lingering odors to stink up your house. Get help finding them with this LED black flashlight. Even after stains are dry, this small and easy-to-store flashlight makes stains glow in the dark thanks to the ultraviolet blacklight. This flashlight is well worth the $13 price tag and will ensure your home is cleaner and smells fresher.


Mistake: Leaving Pet Food Out So That It Gets Stale

Solution: A Large Food Container That’s Airtight

Buying dog food in bulk will save you money, but if it’s not stored properly, it could make your pet sick. Unsealed bags of dog food can get moldy — that’s just one reason why this airtight food container has earned nearly 70,000 reviews: it’s pest-proof, BPA-free, and comes in multiple sizes. The threaded locking system and reliable double gaskets trap moisture out, keeping your pet’s food fresh. Choose from six different sizes.


Mistake: Letting Small Stains Turn Into Lingering Odors

Solution: The Fast-Acting Oxy Spray With An Orange Scent

Save stained furniture, rugs, or clothes with this fast-acting stain cleaner that you’ll want to keep on hand. You won’t believe how quickly it permanently removes stains from pet accidents, blood, and even red wine. The activated oxygen formula rapidly neutralizes stains, and at this price, you’ll want to buy a few bottles for future messes. It’s safe for pets and kids and even has a pleasant orange scent.


Mistake: Never Clipping Your Dog's Nails

Solution: These Easy-To-Use Trimmers For A Pain-Free Experience

Odds are you’re not clipping your pet’s nails as often as you should, but let’s face it — it’s not an easy task. These clippers (and included nail file) make it painless for you and your pet. They feature a quick safety guard that prevents over-clipping. The non-slip, easy-to-grip clippers are comfortable in your hand and strong enough to clip tough nails. It locks into safety mode when you’re not using it to protect you and any curious hands or paws.


Mistake: Not Dealing With Your Dog’s Stinky Breath

Solution: The Delicious Treats That Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

These small treats do double-duty: they reward your dog and clean his teeth at the same time. The chewy texture of the dental treats polishes their teeth and fights plaque and tartar. Dogs love the taste and you’ll love the all-natural ingredients that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Choose from a variety of sizes and flavors, based on your pet’s weight and needs.


Mistake: Letting Your Dog Chew On Everything

Solution: This Gross-Tasting Spray That’s Safe But Deters Bad Pet Behavior

No matter how many toys you give them, some dogs really want to chew on your shoes, pillows, or rugs. A few pumps of this cayenne pepper and citronella spray will immediately discourage that behavior. Just spray it wherever your dog licks or chews often including wood, leather, stone, plaster, and even house plants. This spray is non-toxic, vet-approved, and even has a pleasant smell for you.


Mistake: Sacrificing Good Blankets To The Cat Or Dog

Solution: This Waterproof Blanket Made For Your Pet

This waterproof blanket is ideal for letting your pets snuggle on the bed or couch without worrying about the mess they leave behind. It has three layers: a flannel fabric, a waterproof inner membrane, and a sherpa layer. It’s thick and cozy but completely leakproof and protects your furniture from scratching, chewing, hair, and accidents. Plus, it’s conveniently machine-washable. Choose from four sizes and 15 colors.


Mistake: Your Dog Keeps Tracking Mud Inside

Solution: A Portable Outdoor Shower To Rinse Them Off

Tired of muddy dogs tracking dirt into your home? You need this portable shower that turns any plastic bottle into a convenient way to clean your pet. It fits any standard PET bottle from 16 ounces to 2 liters. Just fill the bottle with water and tightly twist the shower head onto the bottle — then tip it over and rinse off your pet. The genius gadget is made from food-grade silicone and can be cleaned in the dishwasher.


Mistake: Accepting Hair Balls As A Way Of Life With Cats

Solution: This Gentle Gel That Eliminates And Prevents Hair Balls

This hairball gel is the secret weapon for helping your cat feel better. It lubricates ingested hair, helping it to pass easily. It’s made with vet-approved ingredients that include soybean oil, omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. Just squeeze a small bit onto your cat’s nose or paw to encourage them to lick and digest the gel.


Mistake: You’re Not Prepared For Pet Emergencies

Solution: A First Aid Kit For Cats And Dogs

Keep this first aid kit handy for any accidents your pet may endure. It comes with everything you could need in an emergency, including a thermometer, emergency blanket, scissors, bandages, tweezers, and gloves. It’s packed with 100 pieces that all fit into a convenient and lightweight nylon bag and is compact enough to keep in your car or take on hiking trips. One five-star reviewer noted, “This is an excellent first-aid kit for pets and it's worth the price. I'd recommend it to all pet owners.”


Mistake: Enduring That Wet Dog Or Cat Smell

Solution: This Hair Dryer That Quickly Dries Your Pet

There are few smells as sour as a wet dog. Skip the stink with this two-in-one pet hair dryer. Not only does it dry your pet’s hair, but it also brushes it for smoother, healthier fur. It’s designed to be comfortable for your pet too: it’s ultra-quiet and features a protective tip to allow you to get to the undercoat without scratching your pet’s skin. It has three adjustable heat settings and even has a one-push button to release removed hair.


Mistake: Your Pet’s Ears Are Dirty

Solution: A Cleaning Solutions That’s Safe For Their Ears

The gentle ear cleaning formula makes it easy to groom your dog or cat’s ears at home. You can use it up to two times a week for routine cleaning. The alcohol, lactic acid, and aloe formula clean, dry, acidify and deodorize the ear canal. It smells great and will keep your pet comfortable. Reviewers awarded this cleanser a 4.7-star rating for how easy it is to use.


Mistake: Putting Up With Dog Smells In Between Baths

Solution: The Waterless Shampoo That Freshens Your Pet’s Coat

Let’s be honest: giving your pet a bath is a huge undertaking. This dry shampoo for pets is a vet-approved formula that will freshen your pet’s coat without any water. It’s made with natural extracts from lavender and coconut and can be spritzed onto your puppies, kittens, and older cats and dogs, as well as pregnant pets. It’s non-toxic and instantly deodorizes your pet, leaving their fur shiny and soft.


Mistake: You Try To Remove Ticks With Your Fingers

Solution: These Tick Twisters That Eliminate Pests

When the weather heats up, finding ticks on your pet seems inevitable. When you do, you want to be prepared. This tick twister is the tool you need to easily and safely remove ticks from your pets. This set comes with two tick twister hooks: a large one for removing engorged ticks and a small one for taking care of deer ticks. It removes the pest without squeezing it, which reduces the risk of infection and won’t hurt your pet.


Mistake: Not Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth

Solution: The Fun Cat Toy That Cleans Their Teeth

Your cat will just think he’s playing, but you’ll know his teeth are getting cleaned with this fun pickle toy. The cute toy is made with a crinkly texture that entices cats, plus it’s stuffed with premium catnip. The different textures of the toy, such as the mesh and the plush soft part remove plaque and tartar. It’s the perfect size for cats to independently play all day long.


Mistake: The Cat's Litter Is Out In The Open And Makes Rooms Smell

Solution: This Built-In Cat Door To Keep Litter Hidden

You want your cat to be able to easily access their litter box, but you don’t want the smells lingering throughout the house. This cat door is the perfect solution. The cat-shaped opening is easy to install in hollow-core or solid interior doors and allows your pet to go in and out of the litter box without guests having to see or smell it. It comes with self-driving screws to keep the pet door in place, as well as a template to mark your door.


Mistake: Letting Your Cats Play In Or Chew On Your Plants

Solution: This Cat-Friendly Grass That’s Healthy To Eat

This kit comes with everything you need to grow indoor grass for your cats to play with. It includes organic seeds, organic soil, wooden cat planters, liners, pots, and chalkboards for labeling your plants. It’s safe for them to eat and play with — in fact, it’s packed with nutrients and fiber. It grows in just six days and can even help prevent hairballs.


Mistake: Letting Your Pet Get So Bored Thet Misbehave

Solution: This Snuffle Mat To Entertain Your Pet

When pets get bored, they tend to get into trouble. Avoid messes in your home by keeping them stimulated with unique toys like this fun snuffle mat. The green and brown “flower” is made of felt cloth and contains plenty of petals where you can conceal treats and food to keep them searching and engaged. Fold up the mat, keep it secure with a buckle, and travel with it anywhere.

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