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We might love our canine companions with all our hearts, but there’s no denying it; sometimes they stink. And we mean literally!
Of course, it also follows that our homes can take on a decidedly doggy odor, which can be unpleasant to people at times. There’s no way this is going to stop us living in harmony with our dogs, so what do we do?
Well, it’s not actually too tough to keep on top of that dog smell, it just takes a bit of extra work and cleaning. We know, extra cleaning is no fun, but it’s the price we pay if we want to enjoy both the love of a dog in our lives and a stink-free home.
Besides, once you get on top of it, the extra work required is minimal if you follow the advice in this article for how to get rid of dog smell from your home.
Contents & Quick Navigation
Why Do Dogs Smell?
Before you start cleaning your home to get rid of that dog odor, you might want to find out why your pup smells.
All dogs have a natural odor, but it’s not necessarily unpleasant. The natural smell of a healthy dog comes from a few different places:
- Natural oils: A dog’s natural oil is important for healthy skin and coat, but also has a light scent marker. Unfortunately for Labrador owners, Labs produce more oil than many other breeds, so this can make them more “fragrant”.
- Sweat: Although dogs don’t sweat in the same way as a human, perspiration of sorts comes out from their paws and hair follicles, and this does give off a distinct chemical smell
- Glands: Finally, there are glands in a dog’s ears and anus that produce a very distinct smell, and when the glands in the ear particularly become over-active it creates a very yeasty smell.
These smells shouldn’t be too pronounced, and some people don’t mind them at all. However, if your dog is extra stinky, there could be a number of causes, so it’s worth investigating.
The most obvious one has to do with what your dog’s been up to. If your pup is emitting an ungodly odor, they might have rolled in animal droppings while out on a walk or in the garden. Fox poo seems to be a particularly stinky offender!
So do check for any suspicious stains in your dog’s coat. We all know that wet dogs are more smelly, too, so get that pup dried off.
There are also medical reasons why your dog could be smellier than average, such as skin allergies or gum infection. So, if your dog is abnormally smelly, and you can’t figure out why, a trip to the vet could be in order.
Groom Your Dog Regularly
Now that we know why dogs smell, what do we do about it?
Assuming your four-legged friend is healthy and only has normal doggy smells, then a thorough and regular grooming schedule can help the issue greatly.
Regular grooming will help lessen the dog smell in your home as, essentially, you’re cutting the odor off at its source, before it manages to permeate your house.
Regular bathing is especially important for keeping odors at bay. However, bathing too often can interfere with your dog’s natural oils and cause skin complaints.
According to the ASPCA, bathing your dog about once every three months is ideal, although, if they’ve gone out and got themselves especially dirty or smelly, an extra bath here and there won’t hurt.
Brushing, on the other hand, you can do as often as you please. If you clear up the hair and dander after you’ve finished, this is going to minimize doggy smells around the home.
Get A Pet-Specific Vacuum Cleaner
Talking of cleaning up, a pet hair specific vacuum cleaner can definitely help to minimize dog odors in your home. Most big brands — such as Hoover, Dyson, Bissell and Shark — make vacuum cleaners that are especially designed to remove pet hair and dander.
There will be remnants of your dog’s odor on the hair and dander that they shed all over the place, so getting it all up will go a long way toward tackling bad smells!
Be sure to do a really thorough job with the vacuuming. Remove couch cushions and you’ll be amazed at how much dog hair is lurking underneath. You might even want to pull out big items of furniture so you can get underneath.
Don’t worry, though, you won’t have to do a big blitz like this every day, just every once in a while.
Find Cleaning Products That Work
When it comes to getting rid of canine odors, cleaning products are most certainly your friends. The trouble is picking out ones that will truly help you to remove or mask the odors, not just clean any visible dirt.
What you choose will depend on whether you want to use commercial products, or take a more natural approach.
Commercial Odor-Removing Products
In terms of commercial products, these mostly come in two categories:
- Products that neutralize odor
- Products that mask or cover the odor.
Products such as Febreeze have been designed to absorb and neutralize odors, and you can even find varieties that are specifically designed to tackle pet smells.
All you do is spray the product onto sofas, carpets or other fabrics around your home and let it do the rest. While a lot of people use these products, not everyone rates them or buys into their odor neutralizing claims.
If you have any particular problem areas that need a good scrub, such as places your dog likes to lie down or anywhere they may have peed on the carpet, enzymatic cleaners are designed to neutralize and remove these kinds of odors.
However, if you’re happy to simply cover over the dog smell with a nicer one, there are plenty of air fresheners out there. You could go with a traditional spray, or a plug-in kind that releases fragrance throughout the day. Scented candles are a nice alternative, too.
When using commercial products, you need to be sure they’re non-toxic to dogs, especially if you’re going to be spraying them around the areas where your canine companion likes to hang out. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Natural Odor-Removing Products
There are those of us who prefer to limit our use of commercial cleaning products, for various reasons, and if you fit into this group, you might like to know about natural alternatives for saying goodbye to dog smells.
Ive seen diluted white vinegar recommended to neutralize dog odors. This is particularly useful if the smells seem to have seeped into woodwork, but can also work on carpet and some fabric. Just spray the offending areas with vinegar and leave to dry. Simple! It should completely neutralize the dog smells and, once dried, should lose most of the vinegar smell, too.
Another great odor-removing product is baking soda. It’s known to absorb odor, so if you sprinkle it on stinky carpets and leave it for a few hours, it should soak up most of the smell. Then all you need to do is vacuum it up and you’re good to go.
If you want to add some additional scent, put a few drops of essential oil in with the baking powder before you do the sprinkling. Just double check that the essential oil you use is completely safe for dogs.
Watch: How To Get Rid Of Dog Odor In Your Home
In case you need some more advice, this video from Petcha has some additional ideas on how to get rid of dog smells in your house. The presenter also goes through her own recipe for a homemade odor eliminator. It never hurts to add another weapon to your odor-removing arsenal, after all.
Keep A Dog-Free Room
We’re big believers that dogs are part of the family, so we wouldn’t necessarily recommend this, which is why it’s at the bottom of our list. However, if you’re really struggling with that ripe doggy stench, then you could consider restricting your dog’s access to a certain part of the house.
At least then you’d have one fresh-smelling room that you could use for entertaining or to retire to when your nose needs a break.
If you do choose to do this, definitely don’t restrict access to a room where you hang out a lot, such as the living room, as dogs are pack animals and it’s not fair to shut them out of the main place where the rest of their human pack spends time.
A room that gets used less frequently, like a dining room or den, would be an ideal candidate.
Nobody said it was easy to keep your home from smelling like dog. In fact, as long as you have a dog, you’re never going to 100 percent eliminate every trace of that particular scent.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to have a bad-smelling home. With a little bit of elbow grease, you’ll have your home smelling good in no time.