MIAMI -

A dog may be a man's best friend, but sometimes our four-legged companions stink.

Sherri Cox tried to cover up her Basset Hound's odor with candles, air fresheners, and lots of baths. Nothing worked until she met Melanie Thompson, a grooming services manager for Petco.

"We see a lot of stinky dogs, but we still love them all, no matter how they stink," said Thompson. "It's not one particular thing -- it's the whole circle -- what you put into the pet, how you live around it, and how you maintain the pet at home."

Thompson said pet owners should clean around the eyes, inside ears, and teeth. Brushing and combing is important, too.

"When you don't get the tangles out, apart from it being very uncomfortable for the dog, there's more chances for building odor," Thompson said.

A whole host of products are available to help, including wipes and shampoos to home deodorizers and mouth washes.

"There's all different mouth washes that you can add to your pet's water every day that's going to help with all the odors and the stinks that build up every day, not just the teeth," Thompson said.

As far as shampoo is concerned, Thompson said anything with both baking soda and oatmeal works best.

Sherri was already using a shampoo with oatmeal on her dog, Sammie, but gave the groomer's recommendation a try.

But be advised, if your pet has an underlying dermatological issue, over the counter products won't help. Veterinarians recommend different shampoos to treat different skin problems.

When it comes to cleaning up pet messes, experts advise rinsing the accident zone with clean, cool water and using a wet vacuum to remove the excess moisture. Avoid steam cleaners when trying to remove a stain, and be forewarned, many cleaning chemicals will actually encourage your pet to mark in the same area.

Neutralizing cleaners can be good but they won't work unless you've rinsed every trace of old cleaner from the carpet.