You walk into a house and an unpleasant smell hits you. You know a dog lives there, even if the dog is not home. As much as we love our furry friends, they are have a doggy smell that can make your entire home smell. You don’t want to get rid of the dog. He’s a member of the family and a best friend. So how do you keep dog odors under control? Here are several ways to get rid of that pet smell but still keep your furry friend.
Why do dogs smell?
- They perspire through their paws.
- They produce skin and hair oils.
- They get yeasty ears and feet.
- They get bad breath.
- They drool.
- Their anal glands release an odor.
- They release gas.
- They roll around in the dirt and other things.
1) Clean the house frequently
Regular housekeeping is one of the most effective ways keep dog smell under control.
- Sweep up dirt and pet hair or fur
- Mop the floors
- Vacuum the carpet
- Wipe down and wash the dog’s highly used areas and items (e.g., the dog’s bed and toys)
- Wash items that have removable covers
You’ll need to do these chores more or less frequently depending on the type of dog you have and how dirty your dog gets. If you have a dog that sheds a lot or brings in more dirt from outside, you’ll have to spend more time cleaning the house.
A good rule of thumbs is to clean at least on a weekly basis or every couple of days. My dog sheds so much that I had to vacuum almost every day to keep the floors clean. I finally got the Roborock robotic vacuum cleaner. It’s been amazing! The house looks and feels cleaner when I see newly cleaned floors.
2) Keep the air clean
Keep your home air clean by letting fresh air in and using air filters.
Open the windows and doors and turn on ceiling fans to get good airflow throughout the house. If you live in an area near heavy traffic or with bad air quality, you may have to do this at certain times when the air is better or rely more on air filters.
It’s ideal to have a filter in each room or move the filters between rooms as needed. I use a HEPA air purifier, and I know it works because the filter is covered with dust and dog hair when I change it.
How often you need to replace the filters depends on factors such as the model that you’re using, the indoor and outdoor air quality, and how many people and dogs live in your house.
I’ve been told to change mine anywhere from every month to every 6 months depending on where I lived. You can check the filters regularly and see how much dust and dog hair they have in them, then change them accordingly.
3) Deodorize furniture and other items
There are multiple ways to deodorize your home.
- White vinegar – This is inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Leave a bowl with white vinegar out in a room at least overnight or until the smell disappears. Or mix white vinegar with water in a spray bottle and spray the items you would like cleaned. You can do the same with apple cider vinegar as well.
- Baking soda – This is inexpensive as well, but you will need several boxes depending on the size of the space you’re cleaning.
- Charcoal – This is a fantastic natural deodorizer and not just for dogs. You can put them in closets and in shoes to deodorize and dry.
- Items such as Fresh Wave Odor Removing Gel and Febreeze are safe for dogs. As with any new product though, check the ingredients and reviews before using them to ensure your dog and any people in your home are not allergic to it.
- Commercial pet odor eliminators such as those by Nature’s Miracle and Angry Orange are good for clearing up bad odors.
4) Wash bedding and the dog’s items
Deodorizers are great but some only mask the smell and don’t fully get rid of them. The best way to get rid of the smell is to wash everything that the dog has used or touched. Wash items in the washing machine if they are suitable.
- Dog bed cover
- Plush toys
- Removable cushion covers
- Your bedding if the dog sleeps with you
I put my dog’s plush toys in mesh laundry bags and run them through the washer with her other items, then place them in the dryer on a low setting. If something is not able to go in the washing machine, see if it can be wiped down or laid in the sun for the air and heat to clean and dry them.
5) Clean up dog accidents
Dog urine is one of the most unpleasant pet odors so you definitely don’t want it in your home. Even trained dogs can have accidents from time to time, and they’re expected with potty-training puppies. Urine leaves a strong smell, especially if it’s gotten into furniture like the sofa or the carpet.
For new accidents, try to absorb as much of the liquid as possible right away. Place towels, paper towels, or rags over the wet spot. Pat the area if you can. Try not to rub or scrub the urine deeper or further into the the material.
If the soiled item allows it, clean it more with water, which will help to dilute the urine and smell. Your best tool is an enzymatic cleaner. I’ve had good success with Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover, and I’ve been recommended Pet Stain & Odor Miracle.
You may have to spray the area several times to fully clean it. I’ve used this method on carpet in conjunction with placing baking soda on the spot to absorb moisture and smell. I’ve had to mop or steam areas afterward as well.
No matter where your dog has an accident, make sure to let the area or item fully dry. You don’t want any moisture sitting in your furniture, carpet, or even on the floor, where it can continue to leave a stench or grow mold.
If you have a rug or blanket that has been victim to repeated accidents, it may be worth replacing it with a new one.
6) Steam carpets
Using a steam cleaner to clean carpets and upholstery will go a long way to removing dog smell. Steaming works because of the combination of steam from hot water, heat, and detergent loosens and removes dirt and other debris.
Do this when the weather is warm or hot to facilitate the carpet drying. If it’s cold or you have poor airflow in that area of the house, the carpet may remain wet longer than you want it to and be susceptible to growing mold.
7) Clean the floors
When I first got my dog, I saw her paw prints all over the hardwood floors. Every step was a new print, probably a mixture of oils and dirt.
I started wiping her paws when she came home from walks and cleaning the floors more frequently. First I swept, then I mopped, then I used Bona cleaner with a microfiber cleaning pad.
Another higher-powered option is Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro which both vacuums and washes the floor.
8) Wash the dog
Your dog may beg you not to wash him, but a good bath will freshen him up. My dog is like a sweet-smelling teddy bear after a bath. People feel and smell good after showers, so it seems likely that dogs do too.
While you want to give regular baths, be sure not to overwash your dog. I wash my dog when she starts to smell bad, which is every few weeks or after several days of dog boarding.
If your dog can’t handle the frequency of baths you want or you’re in a hurry, you can wipe down his or her fur with wipes. Earth Rated dog wipes are my favorite for my dog because they’re decent sized and durable without a strong scent.
Remember to read the ingredients of the shampoos and wipes you use in case your dog has allergies. My dog uses Curaseb medicated shampoo because of her allergies and sensitive skin.
Dry your dog all the way after bathes to keep bacteria growth and wet dog smell away.
A few other things you can do to keep the dog smelling good:
- Brush his teeth
- Give dental treats and toys. My dog likes Greenies and Whimzees.
- Brush the dog’s fur
- Wipe the dog’s ears, paws, and rear end
- Wipe the dog’s paws whenever he comes in from a walk
9) Freshen up your home
The use of air fresheners or essential oils can remove unpleasant smells too. Just check the ingredients of any item you want to use, or check with a reputable source such as your vet if you have any concerns. Many air fresheners and essential oils can be irritating or toxic to dogs.
In the past, I’ve used scented candles or essential oils in the bathroom or bedroom when the dog was not home or where I know she would not be for hours.
10) Clean the front yard and backyard
My dog likes go #1 and #2 in the front and back yards of the house. Although I encouraged her to go on the sidewalk or the cement, she likes the grass.
The first thing to do is clean up any dog feces. You may have to spray down or scrub the area to get it fully clean. Then use an outdoor odor eliminator like Simple Green, which uses natural enzymes to break down odors.
I use this once every 1-2 weeks in the summer and about once a month in the winter or any time I smell an odor creeping up. You might have to use it more than once if the area is particularly odorous. I usually spray it twice across two days.
You’ll also want the yard to be saturated with water before using the spray and then have it remain wet as long as possible for the enzyme cleaner to work. It’s best to spray in the early morning before the sun comes up or at night when the sun will not dry out the cleaner.
As dog owners, we can become “nose blind” to our furry friends’ bad smells. It’s a good idea to stay
- Focus on the air and surfaces in the house and the yard. Besides the dog, those are the main smelly areas and contributors to dog smell remaining in the home.
- Stay on top of house cleaning. Take a few minutes every day or two to sweep or vacuum and wash household and dog items.
- Clean the dog. Keep the dog clean with regular bathing or wiping, brushing teeth, and grooming.
Everyone wants a clean, fresh smelling home. While it can be harder to achieve with a dog in the house, it’s possible with some diligence and the above tips. What’s worked for you to keep dog smell at bay?