Cleaning up after pets: Multiple solutions for messy situations

Cleaning up after pets: Multiple solutions for messy situations

No one—that is, NO ONE—enjoys cleaning up pet poop. But absent training our furry friend to flush, we pet owners are stuck with the chore of making sure our pet’s waste is out of sight and out of mind.  Whether it’s a litter box, pet waste bags, pooper scoopers, or training pads—or simply keeping stains and odors in check—pet waste control can seem like a never-ending task. Luckily, new products make cleaning up after pets less of a belly ache.  If this blog post warranted your attention, chances are you’re interested in easing the burden of keeping your house, yard, and neighborhood pet waste-free. Of course, ignoring pet waste won’t make it magically disappear.  But recent innovations in pet litter, clean-up, and odor-control products can make clean-up relatively painless, as explored in depth in Packaged Facts’ report, Pet Litter, Clean-Up and Odor-Control Products: U.S. Market Trends.

Two segments of the pet population that have particular significance in the pet clean-up and odor-control market are elderly pets and rescue animals. Both have unique needs, so pet owners with older or rescue pets frequently need to find solutions for pets that have lost bladder or bowel control or who have difficulty transitioning into a household environment. Packaged Facts estimates that by 2020, there will be nearly 46 million senior dog owners, a number equating to nearly 40% of the dog-owning population, up 17% from 2015. Due to decreased mobility, older animals may have trouble getting outside to relieve themselves or making it to the litter box in time, and they are also more likely to require medications that impact their bowel and bladder control and to undergo surgeries that affect their ability to relieve themselves normally.  At the same time, animal adoptions—shelters and other animal welfare organizations (AWOs)—are enjoying unprecedented support, resulting in a growing number of households with pets that might not be perfectly housebroken. Having effective clean-up and odor-control options is also critical for households with smaller dogs that are primarily kept indoors, resulting in more “accidents” and spurring the need for training pads.

When it comes to clean-up and odor-control products, cat litter is by far the most widely used. As any cat owner knows, litter is not sexy, not by a long shot. No one likes to dwell on the idea of cleaning up after their cats, no matter how much they love them. Obviously, the main goal of cat litter is to help with controlling cat waste, absorbing liquid waste and minimizing the odor of both liquid and solid waste. Other features that are commonly expected are ease of waste removal and minimal mess—litter that does not get tracked out of the box or result in a lot of dust in the air. These same qualities can be applied to the products that go along with litter, including litter boxes that are easy to clean, litter scoops that pick up waste more efficiently, litter additives that help with odor control, and litter mats that prevent tracking. More recent innovations in cat litter build on the basics, including features like lightweight formulas and litter than can diagnose potential health problems. The natural ingredient trend that has overtaken the pet food market has permeated the cat litter category as well.  With an estimated 2 million tons of cat litter ending up in landfills each year, the demand for natural litters made with earth-friendly, biodegradable materials such as corn, wheat, soy bean, walnut or wood has grown. Technological innovation is reshaping the category as well, with the expansion of self-cleaning litter boxes that allow owners to manage litter clean-up even when they’re not home via Bluetooth- and wifi-enabled products.

For dog owners, one of the more interesting clean-up innovations includes an alternative to plastic and paper training pads:  Dogs can now take care of their “business” on real grass, inside, any time. Marketers of Fresh Patch and DoggieLawn ship real, hydroponically grown, dirt-free grass directly to dog owners. There is no cleaning or maintenance needed because the entire unit is fully disposable. On the outdoor front, dog waste bags are experiencing increasing demand as plastic shopping bag taxes roll out across the country. Dog owners who previously stockpiled grocery bags are increasingly finding it necessary to purchase pickup bags as a replacement, and they are seeking out bags that are both functional and fashionable.

Efficacy is the word of the day for pet clean-up and odor-control sprays and concentrates, with pet owners demanding products that completely and quickly remove urine and other pet markings from a variety of surfaces, including carpets, wood floors, and fabrics. But effectiveness alone is no longer enough. Pets can be especially vulnerable to the chemicals and toxins found in conventional cleaning products, many of which also include strong artificial fragrances offensive to pets’ sensitive noses.  Accordingly, so environmentally friendly products are coming on strong, appealing to pet owners looking for products that are safe for pets and planet alike.

Bottom line, pets are messy. Even the most well-behaved dog can track in a small mountain of dirt, and even the most fastidiously maintained litter box can cause a house to smell like, well. Rising to the occasion, marketers of clean-up and odor-control products are delivering to pet owners not just products but also a much-needed service, making it as easy as possible for their homes to look and smell pet-free.


Check out Pet Litter, Clean-Up, and Odor-Control Products: U.S. Market Trends by Packaged Facts, a leading consumer research firm. This report draws on primary and secondary research that measures purchasing patterns and attitudes of dog and cat owners. 

Find additional information about Pet Litter, Clean-Up, and Odor-Control Products: U.S. Market Trends, including purchase options, the abstract, table of contents, and related reports at Packaged Facts’ website:

-- by Shannon Landry Brown