Dealing with pet waste is one of the primary hassles of dog ownership. Households with large dogs or multiple pets face an even bigger headache. Even when attended to daily, the odor can become a problem, especially where pets and their families share an outdoor space. Thankfully, there are several plants that offer at least a partial solution. Paired with good maintenance practices, these plants can disguise or eliminate the problem.
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Pine trees produce scent from essential oils in the resin. The scent of the needles is fresh and clean, and if you have nearby trees, the needles are free and relatively easy to gather and spread. Spreading a layer of pine needles where pets typically visit to deposit waste may make it easier to retrieve waste. Pine needles are present in the natural environment and aren't usually purposefully eaten by pets. If you are concerned about pets ingesting pine needles, spread the needles outside of the kennel area--around the perimeter, away from feeding areas--where their scent can still act to mask odors, but pets cannot come into contact with them.
Use aromatic herbs nearby to cover unpleasant odors with their own, more pleasing aroma. To get the best result, clean up as much of the waste as possible and dispose of it in a sealed container. This leaves much less material to give off an offensive aroma. Plant a border of herbs around the location where your pet most frequently relieves himself. Basil, oregano, and lavender are among the many herbs that give off a strong scent. Thyme is beneficial because it releases its scent when crushed and can stand up to heavy foot traffic. Mint will multiply quickly, creating a large amount of scent and eliminating the need to pay to replace plants. Homeowners should be aware that mint can grow and spread rapidly, invading your lawn and flowerbeds, making its use a mixed blessing.
Roses are among the best flowers to consider for covering odor. Roses enjoy a longer blooming season than many other highly aromatic flowers. Look for a floribunda variety for a plant that produces a greater number of flowers, or locate one of the many varieties recommended by the University of Missouri Extension. The extension recommends rugosas for blooms throughout the season, Damask roses for their highly fragrant flowers and the Konigin von Danemark shrub rose for aromatic blooms.
- ASPCA: Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants
- North Carolina State University: Culinary and Aromatic Herbs
- University of Missouri Extension: Roses: Selecting and Planting
- University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: These Plants are Made for Walkin’ (on)
- Purdue Horticulture: A Guide to Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
- ASPCA Guide to Pet-Safe Gardening
- R Drop: Old Garden Roses and Beyond- 'Konigin von Danemark'
- University of Alaska, Fairbanks: Terpenes, Alaska Science Forum- The Smell of Christmas