Is anybody else choking on diffuser sticks?

We’ve been happily doing house sits since 2019. We are in the UK for 2 years but recently we see homes that are deluged with heavily scented diffuser sticks, which makes us sneeze and wheeze. We have learned to remove them for the duration of our sit but it can take a day or two to eliminate the scent.
Our current sit we noticed the older dog is hacking a lot and seems to have improved since we removed all the sticks. There were a dozen hidden around the house and I kept finding more.
This home is immaculate and mold-free as were
the last two with multiple stick diffusers. Is it impolite to ask the HO to remove them before we arrive?
I try to take photos to place them back in the exact location.

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No, I love them and was recently in a housesit that had them all over the house. Horses for courses I suppose. The reaction you’ve had is how the shop ‘Lush’ makes me feel

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The first thing I do is remove them all. I put them in a room we don’t go in, or outside on a patio. I also take pics and return them when we leave. I am very sensitive to smells and my nose and eyes burn from them.

I don’t think it would be rude to ask that they be removed before you arrive so long as it is asked in a polite way.

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Same as @Kelownagurl

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We remove them as well. Also plug in air fresheners which we come across a lot too.

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Wow I thought it was just me! I smell them as soon as I enter the house and become a bloodhound until I find and eliminate them all. Diffuser sticks, essential oils diffusers, potpourri baskets, incense, wall plug ins, bushels of dried sage…I put it all away or in a trash bag and return it before we leave.

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My worst nightmare! They go straight outside but, as you say it an take several days to clear the smell from the house. Plug in air fresheners also head straight for the outdoors as soon as I arrive.

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I love them. Unfortunately when you have them in your own house you get so used to the smell that you don’t notice it after a while.

I have some mildly-scented (in my view) diffusers. I would be irritated if a sitter wanted them removed for a sit of just a few days, but would be more accommodating for a longer sit. It seems a little high-maintenance and I’d wonder what else the sitter might find problematic.

I understand that allergies are real, but I think that if a sitter is sensitive to something found in many homes, they should mention this in the pre-sit discussions, before a sit is confirmed.

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I remove them too can’t bear them.

I’m not allergic but highly sensitive - burning eyes and nose. That being said, I’ve never asked a home owner to remove them. I just do it myself when we arrive and put them back before we leave. If it’s VERY perfume-y, we open some windows to air things out a bit. I don’t feel a need to mention it in my profile since for us, it’s easily managed.

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Real talk here- I think it’s awful of people to have highly fragranced homes in the first place. It’s extra inconsiderate to have a heavily fragranced house and ask someone to sit at your house. From a human health standpoint they decrease lung capacity and have been linked to breathing disorders like asthma. From a pet owner standpoint, it’s terrible. Cats and dogs are VERY sensitive to smells and literally every vet blog warns against scented products. Sadly these products are big money to companies so they are heavily marketed and people don’t really think about them. I mean- WHY? If your house smells, you probably need to do some cleaning, not try to mask the gross smells. I’m not not sensitive or allergic- I just don’t see the point and I find them personally offensive. Not to mention it means they really don’t put their animals health very high on the list of priorities.

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Thanks for bringing this up, @DarkAloha. I don’t use fragrances and don’t think I’m allergic, but I think I’ve been guilty of not having as much empathy as I should. But once last year, I was eating with a friend, and she almost fainted when a group with heavy perfume came into the restaurant. We had to sit outside for an hour just for her to get back to normal.

I think honestly many people may not know, or maybe they’re a little skeptical if it’s just been hearsay.

I haven’t done the (online) research, but if I had a couple of good links on the dangers of fragrances to pets, that’d be a good start. Then if I sat somewhere and there was a lot of fragrance, I could send those links to the PPs for future improvement.

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I did a sit (not TH) where the house was filled with plug-in air fresheners and I got an instant crashing headache. I did some research and found out they are dispersing VOCs into the air (like paint & other chemicals) and they are also harmful for pets as well. I thought I should gently tell the homeowner upon the conclusion of the sit that I would not be able to come back because of it but also that she should look into it for her dogs’. Poor things, they can’t speak up for themselves and not everyone realizes that things humans like could really be irritating their sensitive pets.

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@ChristineH and @geoff.hom Yes, I agree and have direct experience of plug-in issues with my previous dog, he had such bad allergies and working with a vet these were one of the things that use to trigger them, roll onto now my sister having a little Frenchie and allergies playing up. She removed her plug-ins (she had no idea until I mentioned what had helped Fudge) and it really helped. Also, my friend stopped having lots of natural oil burners when she got her cat as it made her cat sneeze lots. So much to think about in your home environment with pets.

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I think a subject like this is good for awareness and suggestions; certainly didn’t cross my mind as a HO/Sitter.

As a HO, I would rather sitters ASK me about their “must haves/dealbreakers” and let me decide if I can or cannot accommodate a request. If I can’t, well, it may be better for both parties in the end. Or, I may be able to explain why it would be a “can’t” and that may be important for a sitter to know for their decision making.

I have my sitter must have/dealbreakers list ready for an initial chat with HO’s too. (scents is not one of them…)

My perspective is from a light user of THS with options for both pet care and travel options should I ever find that I am not able to arrange a sit/stay through the network, so perhaps that makes me a bit more ok with a candid discussion for both parties…? But I think it would work out…if I could get passed the 5 app issue to even have a candid chat :wink:

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Aloha Geoff, sorry for the late response, here are a couple of generalized articles and each part can lead you down a rabbit hole with lots of supporting articles. Thanks for your concern!

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Yes! I’m very sensitive to lots of different smells. I have found myself much more sensitive as I get older. My heart sinks when I see that the HO as put new fresh flowers out seemingly for my arrival. I can react quite badly to some flowers and incense sticks causing my throat to feeling like it is closing up, coughing, sinuses hurt, eye’s stinging , maybe also a pain in my head. (If I’m reacting to it, surely some pets will be doing so too) I manage this every day with a nasal spray and hayfever tablets. My experience is that a lot of people find it hard to understand my reaction to it. In a society which includes all unseen disabilities et cetera, it quite baffles me the defensive responses I receive. If I was to say I had a nut allergy and please don’t leave nuts around the house, this would be more acceptable. I really don’t want to put pet parents off. However this is a real problem for me.

My question is; has anyone else put something related in their profile and if so, how have they worded it?

Maybe it’s a good chat to have in person once the sit is all confirmed @Jomox27 and you like the HO and vice versa. It’s not rude but it is easier to say than write it down so your tone can’t be misconstrued. “Can I just raise something before I come. I have a strong allergic reaction to a lot of flowers and incense sticks, please can you hide any during my sit to help this.” or similar. Think that’s totally reasonable. I really don’t like synthetic candles or those things that “blow” freshener into the room, they’re just chemicals. Normally we pop them in the cupboard while we’re there and then put them back before we leave. #lookafteryourself

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I’m the same with Wind Chimes (they drive me nuts!) clanking Flag poles, ticking clocks ….

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