How to Get Rid of Dog Smell? 9 Ways That Work

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Dogs sometimes smell. As much as we adore our 4-legged best friends, the fact of the matter is, we don’t love their smell. Whether it is bad breath, a gassy situation, or a frisking session in a swamp, dogs bring bad odors into the home like they have every right to do so. The good news is, I have found 9 effective ways to get rid of dog smell – and the best bit is they actually work! 

There are varying ways to tackle doggy odors; some are free and easy, others require the addition of some elbow grease. The first thing you need to do is identify what the smell is and why it is happening. Remember that some odors can be a cause for concern, so if your dog is exhibiting any other new symptoms, it is essential to contact your veterinarian. 

The majority of dog smells are down to what the dog has digested or what he has rolled in, and we can tackle both of these with great ease. First, we’re going to look at why our dogs smell before I explain how to tackle the issue. 

Why do Dogs Smell?

Dogs can naturally smell pretty bad without having to do anything to deserve it. In the same way that a human who doesn’t practice good personal hygiene can omit smelly odors, so can our pet. The prominent smell to concern us owners is – dog breath. 

Pet dogs have a higher-sugared diet than their wild ancestors, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay when good oral hygiene isn’t in place. It is essential to look after your dog’s teeth to avoid costly and painful issues such as periodontal disease. Making sure that your dog has fresh breath is as easy as it is important. 

Dogs sweat just the same as humans do, but they don’t do so through skin pores. Dogs perspire from their hair follicles and their paws. Ear glands release nasty scents, and the anal glands secrete odors we would rather not have penetrating the home, furnishings, and our clothes.

A huge issue with some dogs, particularly short-nosed breeds, is gas. Flatulence in dogs is normal, and for some dogs, it seems never-ending! There are things that we can do – thankfully – to curb this, albeit just a little! 

A dog’s scent is basically its social media profile to other dogs – it tells them exactly what they need to know to decide if they want to make friends or not! Completely eradicating their natural scents will only ever be a short-term fix – much like a temporary social media ban! But, there are ways to make them more pleasant for us owners, and we will look at that further on. 

9 Ways to Get Rid of Dog Smell in the Home 

1. Sweep and Mop the Hard Floors in the Home 

Sweep and Mop the Hard Floors in the Home

The first step to making a home smell fresher is to remove the loose debris dogs create. This includes dander, fur, dirt, and sand. Some of these particles will be very light so remember to use care when tackling them. If you don’t sweep gently, you could end up blowing these particles into the air where they will only land somewhere else. 

Sweep in a delicate manner, and a top tip is to place a paper towel over the top of the dust in the dustpan for when you’re ferrying it to the trash can – this should prevent any blowing away to relay somewhere else. If you struggle to bend to get into corners, try using a long-handled dustpan and brush set

Once you have swept all the hard floors, go back and mop the same surfaces to ensure you have all the dust and debris lifted from the floors. It is essential to use a pet-safe floor cleaner as long after the floor has dried, the surface will likely be coated in the substance for dogs to then ingest.  

2. Vacuum the Carpets

Vacuum the Carpets

Once the hardwoods, tile, and linoleum floors are tackled, it’s time to pay attention to the carpeted floors within the home. Carpets provide a safe haven for any bugs brought in by the dog, such as fleas and ticks, as well as being able to hold an incredible amount of dirt, dust, debris, and fur. It would be best if you vacuumed every inch of the carpets to be sure nothing is left harboring. 

As well as the carpets, you should vacuum all the rugs and mats within the home. Ideally, you will have some shorter-pile dog-friendly rugs that should be simpler to vacuum. Once this is all done, the furniture, curtains, and all other non-washable soft-furnishings should be vacuumed using the appropriate attachments. 

Standard vacuums should tackle most of the dirt and debris, but specific pet vacuums will do the job more efficiently. 

3. Steam Clean 

Once the dry dirt has been removed from the flooring, it would be wise to steam clean the odors that have become trapped within the carpet and rug fibers. Steam cleaners can also be used on couches, curtains, and walls, as well as the yard too. 

Steam cleaners are not as costly as they once were, and some are now even lightweight and portable. Some steam cleaners have multiple uses and can vacuum mop and steam within the same product. 

You could hire a steam cleaner for a day or weekend or look at outsourcing this problem to a local cleaning agency. Just be sure to inquire about the products they use to make sure that they’re pet-friendly.

4. Wash the Linens

Wash the Linens

Every fabric within the home can develop and harbor odors, so put all you can into the washing machine. Included in this are all of the bed linen, couch covers, throws, cushions, and pillows. For fabrics that aren’t machine washable and can’t be taken to a dry cleaner, you could use Febreze Pet Odor Eliminator

Febreze has been scrutinized and even deemed toxic to dogs, but in fact, Febreze is safe for dogs, and even if they do ingest it, problems will be mild. If you are concerned, keep the dog away from anything you have Febreezed until the fabric is dry. 

You could help reduce dirt and odor penetrating the soft furnishings in the home by looking at items like couch covers

5. Wash the Dog Bed

Wash the Dog Bed

The smelliest item in the home is likely to be the dog bed, as this is constantly being coated in fur, saliva, dirt, debris, and urine and anal fluids – yep. It would be wise to purchase machine washable beds as not all dog bed materials can withstand this. 

If your dog has an elevated dog bed, this can usually be washed with a garden hose and a pet-friendly bacterial solution. 

6. Let the Fresh Air in 

An effortless way to freshen up the air in the home is to freshen up the air in the home literally. Open up windows and doors to allow the natural flow of air in. If you have a dog who is a bit of an escape artist, it would be an idea to invest in a dog playpen or have a friend or family member take the dog out for a long walk to prevent Houdini behavior. 

7. Invest in an Air Purifier

Invest in an Air Purifier
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Air purifiers are great at removing some of the dander and debris from the home, which in turn will help the place to smell better. There are so many different air purifiers on the market today, but I would strongly suggest choosing one that is specifically designed to help with pet odors

8. Buy Plug Ins

Plug ins and air fresheners have a bad rep when it comes to having them in a home with a dog, but nowadays there are many pet-safe plug-ins on the market. If you don’t like the idea of plug in air fresheners, you could opt for pet-safe room sprays instead. 

9. Bath the Dog!

Bath the Dog

A fairly obvious solution is to bathe the dog himself. There isn’t an exact science that dictates how often a dog should be washed, but it is advisable to bathe dogs around the 3-monthly mark. It isn’t uncommon for owners to bathe their dogs weekly, however. Waterless shampoos can be a great in-between too. 

For more regular bathing, it is important to use a gentle shampoo so that the coat retains its natural oils and the skin doesn’t become too dry. 

As well as bathing him, it’s important to take care of all the grooming requirements as all can lead to pongy odors. Longer nails can house dirt and debris, as well as lead to pain and discomfort for the dog. If you can hear nails pitter-patter on the floor, they’re too long. Check out our guide to cutting dogs’ nails to learn some great tips, as well as the right products to use. 

Regular brushing will reduce the amount of fur and dander around the home, but ensure that you use the right kind of brush for the breed. Some breeds have undercoats and will benefit from special furminator combs, whereas others like Yorkshire Terriers have hair that more resembles human hair than dog fur, and a softer bristled brush would be more appropriate. 

Key Points

Dogs will be dogs, and it is important not to make them avoid tumbles in the hay, swimming in streams, or dives into swamps. Dog owners shouldn’t underestimate the role that natural play has on the wellbeing of a dog. Play is crucial to a dog’s development; it provides physical exercise, mental stimulation, as well as helping to cement the bond between dog and owner. 

If you’re concerned about your dog bringing dog smell into the car on the way home, check out our guide to the best car hammocks, which will keep your dog safe during transit and protect the interior of the car from doggy dirt and smells. You could also take some travel dog wipes for the journey to wipe off any excess dirt and grime before your dog gets back into the vehicle. 

Ensure that you’re doing all you can to help with your dog’s oral hygiene, a doggy toothbrush and toothpaste set should be sufficient, and you can use items like dental chews as treats with an added health benefit. 

A dog’s diet plays a significant role in the smells produced by flatulence, so look at the ingredients in the food he is currently on and consider if you need to switch to a food with less fiber or that suits the dog more. Many dogs have sensitive stomachs and would benefit from food with specially chosen ingredients to curb stomach issues that can lead to gas build-up. 

There are times when bad dog smells can be signs of something more serious, like an underlying health issue or an infection. If the smell is particularly bad, or there are any other new behaviors showing in the dog – or even just to put your mind at ease – a quick visit to the vets would be advisable. 

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