‘Pee-Yew!’ That’s the first impression people get when they walk through the door and your house reeks of dog smell. It reflects badly on you, makes your guests uncomfortable, and frankly it’s not very pleasant for your dog either.
Worse, over time, you may not even be able to tell that there is an odor. Even the most conscientious dog owner has a hard time getting rid of dog smell, especially since bathing your dog too often is bad for its fur and skin. When you don’t have time for a bath or you’re in between bath times but you need to do something for the smell, here are 10 effective ways to tackle dog smell.
What is that Smell?
Technically, your dog stinks for the same reasons you do when you don’t bathe. Dogs only need about 4 to 6 baths a year. Anymore than that and it will give them rashes, legions, and stiff fur. Between baths, dogs sweat. They get wax buildup in their ears. And think about this; your dog doesn’t sweat through its fur – it sweats through its feet! Then they traipse across your floors and crawl on your furniture. That’s part of the smell.
The inordinate amount of wax buildup starts to smell like yeast after awhile. They then scratch their waxy ears with their sweaty paws and sit down on the carpet. Some of it is unintentional. A lot of it is your dog’s way of marking territory. Urine isn’t the only marker. Dogs leave their total scent – from their oily skin to the smell of their saliva, everywhere.
All of these odors combine to create that dog smell everyone hates. It’s easy to see how it fills your house. Unless your dog is confined to just one area of the home, wherever it goes, the smell will follow.
It’s important to note that dirty ears can lead to ear infections that create odors that you can’t get rid of. In that case, your dog needs antibiotics to kill the infection – see a vet right away. You may also need to go to the vet or find a groomer to drain clogged anal glands in order to get rid of persistent and abnormally strong odors.
#1: Neutralize Dog-Smelly Carpets and Couches
Perhaps the main reason why your whole house has a dog smell is your furniture and carpets. Even if your dog is not allowed on the furniture, its fur, its paws, its saliva are getting on everything else that your dog touches. Therefore your task has to be a comprehensive approach in order to get rid of dog smell.
Ridding your furniture and carpets of dog smell is a three part process: Strip and dry vac, shampoo and neutralize, and then deodorize. Start with furniture, linens, and bedding. You’ll want to remove all slip covers and cushion covers. If you can remove your pillow covers, remove them.
Prep Before You Shampoo
Be mindful to flip mattresses and vacuum them dry before using a steam cleaner. Too often, you think, I’ll just steam clean to get rid of the smell, but if you skip this step – the strip and vacuum step – you’re going to create a disgusting amalgam of dog smells. Vacuum everywhere, including under couches and behind cabinets to neutralize dog odors.
Only after you’ve thoroughly vacuumed every area where your dog lives and plays (make sure doggie is not in the house during this process) it is time to break out the carpet cleaner. For the best results, use a high grade steam cleaner.
You could hire a professional, rent a steam cleaner and do it yourself, or use one that you own. Make sure that if you use your own that it isn’t also infected with that same dog smell that you are trying to get rid of. Same thing with your dry vac; if it’s the same one you’ve been using for years to vacuum dog fur, chances are it has a dog smell to it too. If you want to start fresh, make sure your cleaning tools are fresh.
Recipes for Commercial Grade DIY Deodorizing Mix
Many dog owners who have had success eliminating dog smell from their homes say that DIY deodorizing mixes often work even better than commercial grade pet deodorizers. The final step in dog smell removal is deodorizing and preventing the smell from coming back.
Naturally you could just go to any store and buy a pet deodorizer. If you want to try a home remedy that might work better, here are two dog specific deodorizing mixes for getting rid of dog smell:
Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda – Mix ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar in with your laundry detergent when you wash your slip covers, bedding, and linens. You can create a bigger mix for spraying down marked places and furniture by mixing together one bottle of apple cider vinegar with two regular sized boxes of baking soda.
White Vinegar and Baking Soda Spritz – Safe for fabrics, this white vinegar spritz combines one tablespoon of white vinegar with one teaspoon of baking soda. Mixed together they will start to foam. When the mix settles, add two cups of water. A fine mist spray bottle works best. Fill it with the mix and shake well. Next, mist the air, your fabrics, and your dog’s favorite areas with the spritz.
Remember that your dog leaves its scent everywhere on purpose usually. If you want to completely eliminate dog smell, you have to be very thorough and remove all hints of odor where your dog may have pooped or peed or left its scent.
For example, check your carpet padding by lifting your carpets and making sure that the pad beneath hasn’t been soaked with your dog’s waste. Even the floor underneath the pad may be giving off dog smell. Make sure to thoroughly clean and deodorize those areas too.
#2: Bathe Your Bed in Baking Soda
Once you’ve deodorized your home, it’s time to begin your regular routine to keep the dog smell away. After you’ve remade the bed and replaced the linens in the closet, sprinkle them with baking soda. Lift the cushions on the couch and sprinkle baking soda underneath them.
Baking soda is a natural odor absorber. It doesn’t add a fragrance. It just takes stinky ones away. You can add some fragrant powder or dowse the baking soda with fragrant oils to add a scent if you like. Be as liberal as you want, sprinkling it so that it doesn’t show.
Sprinkle the bottom of your bedroom mattresses, especially if your dog sleeps in your room or in the bed with you or your kids. Leave the baking soda there from twelve hours to a day before vacuuming up the baking soda. Do this on a weekly basis to keep the odors out.
Open a box of baking soda and leave it near your dog’s play or sleep area. And when your dog makes a mess, when you clean it, sprinkle baking soda on it and let it dry before you vacuum the mess.
#3: Remove Fur-Riddled Filters
It’s a good idea to change your filters at least twice a year whether you own a dog or not. When you own a dog you should do it once a month. If your house smells of dog, have you checked your filters lately? Filters can get piled high with dust, dander, and fur over time. Check all of your filters. Clean and replace them as necessary.
HEPA filters do a good job of purifying air riddled with pet fur. Be sure to check your filters regularly. If you have especially furry dogs, you may find that you have to replace your filters more frequently.
#4: Clean Fido’s Lounging Areas
Sometimes, dog owners can get in a bad habit of cleaning everywhere but in the dog’s area. If your dog has its own space where its doggie bed and toys stay, it’s easy to just pile them over there and leave it alone.
However, anything your dog touches, slobbers on, or sleeps on is going to have dog smell, including your dogs bedding and toys. Make sure to add your dog’s bedding and machine washable toys to the list of items to be stripped and washed.
#5: Vacuum Frequently
There is no way to stress enough the importance of vacuuming frequently for keeping dog smell out. At the very least, it should be a weekly chore to dry vacuum your floors and furniture. It’s a lot of work but absolutely necessary if you want to keep your house dog odor free.
For furry dogs and long haired dogs, you may have to vacuum and sweep every day or at least every other day to keep up. You also have to do the strip, neutralize, and deodorize method every few months or so which will require you to break out the carpet cleaner in addition to the vacuum.
#6: Mop with Vinegar Every Week
Carpet is easy to identify as a dog smell absorbing part of the house. You may think because you have hardwood floors and linoleum that you don’t have a dog smell problem. Think again. That saliva and sweat coming off of your dog’s paws sticks to your hardwood floors too.
You’ll need to mop every week at least to keep the dog smell out. Add one parts vinegar to three parts water and then add it to your cleaning solution.
#7: Let Fresh Air In
Open up some windows if you can. One way to get the bad air out is to let good air in. Of course, you can’t do this everywhere or all the time, but when you can let fresh air in, do so. It’s better for everyone’s health.
#8: Dry Fur All the Way
Do you let your dog shake dry after a bath? They’re still not dry and it is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria – and you just finished bath time! Get a towel or maybe a blow dryer for dogs with especially thick and long hair and dry them thoroughly (only using the cool setting on the dryer). Just like drying your toes staves off foot fungus, drying your dog’s skin and fur thoroughly keeps smelly oil bacteria away.
#9: Brush Those Teeth
Everybody knows that dogs have bad breath. What happens when they lick themselves or lick you with those tongues? That bad breath spreads adding to the overall dog smell in your house. You can feed them teeth cleaning dog treats or get in there and manually brush their teeth but good oral hygiene helps get rid of dog smell.
#10: Get Rid of Odor Causing Saliva Stains
Dog spit creates odors. If your dog suffers from beard and eye staining, chances are that is part of the reason for the odor. You’ll want to attack the source with a good stain remover that’s safe for dogs like our Eye Envy Off the Beard Stain Remover.