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How to Eliminate Dog Smell

Having dogs in the house can be such a delight. They provide companionship and love, but they can also stink up your house if you’re not careful. In order to get rid of the dog smell in your house, you’ll need to target specific fabrics that your dog rubs on frequently – like carpet and furniture – and vacuum/clean it thoroughly. You can also give your dog a bath to help reduce the pet odor. With a little work, you can keep your dog inside your house and still have a home that smells pet-free.

Addressing the Dog Smell

1. Use baking soda. Baking soda is widely known for its odor neutralizing properties. If you want to get rid of some of the dog smell you’re your home, just sprinkle a little baking soda on the affected areas.

  • Cover the fabric with a light dusting of baking soda and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. After the time is up, vacuum it up.
  • For extra tough odors, you can leave the baking soda on the carper overnight. This will help absorb even more of the smell.
  • Alternatively, you could create your own all-purpose cleaning solution out of baking soda. Simply add two tablespoons of baking soda with 3 cups of hot water in a spray bottle. Shake it up and spray on the fabric or surface emitting the odor. Wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth.

2. Use apple cider vinegar. Another great way to address dog smell in your home is by using apple cider vinegar to eliminate the smell in problem areas. Make a mixture using one part apple cider vinegar and three parts water, then spray the mixture on the area that smells the worst – fabric, carpet, etc. Blot as much of it up with a rag or an old towel and let the rest dry on the carpet.

  • This method is especially useful for covering up the smell of dog urine.

3. Keep the windows open. A great way to address the dog smell in your home is by keeping the windows open as often as possible. This will help air out your home and make it smell fresher like the outdoors in addition to getting rid of some of the dog smell.

  • Be sure to keep an eye on the weather if you’re going to leave your windows open. You don’t want to have water damage because you left the windows open while it rained.
  • You also need to mindful of the temperatures outdoors. You shouldn’t sleep with your windows open in very frigid weather – this could lead to illness.

4. Notice specific areas where the smell is the strongest. In order to take care of the dog odor, you’ll need to identify the locations where the smell is the most problematic. Walk around your house and try to determine where the smell is the strongest. Take care to smell the furniture and to notice which rooms seem the most affected.

  • You can take inventory of the most smelly places and write them down in a notebook so you don’t forget to clean each item that smells later on.

5. Target specific locations your dog frequents. Go around to the places your dog spends the most time and try to determine where the smell is coming from. Get close to the items and use your sense of smell to see if there is any noticeable odor emanating from the fabric.

  • Check specific pieces of furniture (like the couch where your pup naps or the bed it sleeps on) and areas of the carpet (like the carpet around the door your dog uses to go outside) for odor.

6. Spray some air freshener. Use an air freshener to cover up any sources of odor you may not have been able to locate. After you’ve cleaned all your carpet and furniture that could be causing the dog smell, spray some air freshener liberally around the places your dog hangs out the most.

  • You can even buy air fresheners that are specially formulated to cover up pet odor.
  • Be cautious about overusing certain air fresheners as some of them may contain chemicals that are not good for animals and humans to constantly ingest.

Establishing a Cleaning Routine

1. Use a general cleaning product. One of the best ways to thoroughly clean your whole house and rid it of pet odor is to regularly clean your house with a general disinfecting cleaning product that uses an enzymatic cleaner to break down pet-related odors.

  • Some of the most popular brands of enzymatic cleaning products include Nature’s Miracle, Urine Off, Pawsitively Clean, Biokleen, and Rug Doctor.

2. Sweep and vacuum regularly. One of the biggest things that contributes to pet odor is the accumulation of hair that your dog sheds on the floor. If you have hardwood or tile floors, you’ll be able to see the dust bunnies that form out of clumps of dust and dog hair over time. If you have carpet these are more difficult to see, but you’ll still need to clean them up regularly.

  • If you have carpet, vacuum it once every few days (at least once a week) or as necessary. Consider steam cleaning your carpet once every couple of months or whenever you start to notice the dog smell more.
  • If you have tile or hardwoods, you should sweep it once every few days and consider a more intensive cleaning (like mopping) once every month or so.

3. Wash the bedding. If your dog has a blanket or a dog bed that it sleeps on regularly, you should wash it at least once per week. If the dog spends much time on it, then its hair and dandruff constantly rubs off on it and settles into the fabric. This traps the dog odor inside the dog bed, but washing it will greatly decrease the pet smell in your house.

  • Additionally, if your dog sleeps on your bed with you, consider washing your own bedding once every week or so. This will help cut down on any odor that gets into your bedding at night.

Caring For Your Dog to Reduce Odor

1. Give your dog regular baths. One of the most important aspects in reducing dog odor in your home is making sure your dog is bathed regularly and generally clean, which will help keep the odor at bay. The smellier the dog, the smellier the house will be. Use a high quality pet shampoo to get rid of dandruff and buildup on your dog's skin.

  • If it is your dog's butt that smells, take your dog to the vet to get their anal glands cleaned. This sounds gross, but it can be a necessary part of taking care of your dog.

2. Address your dog’s breath. Once your house is smelling better, you need to work on keeping out the dog odor by maintaining your dog’s health and hygiene. It’s recommended that dogs get their teeth brushed daily, however, at least a couple times a week should be enough to do the trick.

  • They even make dog treats and toys that double as teeth cleaning agents that you can supplement in your canine dental regimen. Some dog food types also helps maintain dental health.

3. Wash dog toys. If your dog regularly plays with some toys, these toys can capture built up residue that produces strong pet odors over time. Remember to wash the dog toys at regular intervals (once every week or two, as needed), especially once they start to smell more noticeably.

  • Fabric toys can be washed in the washing machine on the delicate setting. But be sure to wash any plastic toys by hand.

4. Discuss problems with your veterinarian. Once you have cleaned your house and your dog, the odor should lessen significantly. If the smell still persists, ask your vet for some help as this may be a sign of some larger problem. Your vet will be able to advise you on what additional steps to take to get rid of the dog smell.

  • Possible causes of excessive dog odor include dog halitosis (bad breath), ear infections, anal gland problems, or improper diet/malnutrition.


  • If your dog gets wet during a walk, always towel dry them once you get home.
  • Keep long-haired dogs trimmed so that their fur is more manageable when washed.