How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in the House

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 19, 2019
How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in the House

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Habituation is the process of getting so used to a smell that we stop being able to register it as strongly as before[1]. We stop registering it because we need to keep our olfactory sense alert to new smells which may pose a problem. When we share our home with a pet, it is not uncommon for us to get so used to the bad smell that we don't even notice it anymore. It may only be when a guest comes over that we become aware of it again. In other homes, pet odor comes and goes depending on the hygiene of the dog. Even those of us who try to maintain a rigorous hygiene routine for our dog can find our canine starts to get a little funky, especially after they get wet.

Fortunately, AnimalWised has these 5 effective tips to know how to get rid of dog smell in the house. You can do this effectively by adapting your house and finding better ways to cater to your dog's hygiene needs.

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Is it normal for a dog to smell bad?

Before we explain how to get rid of dog smell in the home, we should find a little background information on bad odor in dogs. All dogs will give off a certain smell which is related to various factors. These include their bathroom habits, their length and quality of coat, their general health and well-being and the types of activity they engage with. There are various pathologies which can cause a dog to smell bad, including:

  • Skin conditions: whether due to a lack of hygiene or parasitical infestation, a dog may start to smell because their skin is in poor condition. Bacterial infections around the ear are particularly bad for their odoriferousness. A bad smell might be one of the first symptoms we notice if we have a skin condition, so it is important we take them to the vet if we notice they start to smell bad all of a sudden.
  • Anal sac problems: dogs greet each other by pushing their nose against the anal glands next to their rectum. This produces a scent unique to every individual canine. However, if the dog produces too much scent, the glands become impacted or even infected, then they might start to smell very bad.
  • External source: when your dog goes into the outside environment, they want to interact with everything. Sometimes this means rolling around in something they shouldn't. Whether feces, rotten food or any products which might cause a bad smell, if it gets on the dog's coat, they will bring it everywhere with them. This includes in the home. Also, if a dog is attacked by a spraying animal such as a skunk, they may be covered in a vert foul smelling odor.
  • Incontinence: if there is a strong dog pee smell in the house, then we need to work out why the dog is not urinating outside as they should be. Perhaps they are a young dog with a need for better training. They may be an old dog which is losing bladder control. Similarly, a medical problem may be what's causing the urine smell in house. Taking the dog to the veterinarian will help you to get an accurate diagnosis.
  • Bad breath in dogs: dog food doesn't always smell as pleasant to us as it does for canines. However, there is a difference between dog food breath and bad breath. The latter may be caused by polycystic kidney disease or other chronic problems which may not show other symptoms.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: problems with diet, allergies, food intolerance, parasites or many other issues may affect the gastrointestinal system. In these cases, the result might be diarrhea, constipation, flatulence or other smelly issues.
  • Fat: obesity in dogs is problematic in many ways. It can lead to various health problems and put a strain on heir vital organs. However, fat also leads to bad smells in dogs. A dog's skin produces natural oils from their pores which can get especially blocked in overweight dogs. This leads bacteria to grow and fosters foul odors.

If your dog has been outside in the rain or has an obvious reason for smelling bad, you can change their hygiene routine and follow our tips to get rid of bad dog smell from your house. However, if you think a dog's bad smell is coming from an underlying health problem, take them to the vet for an accurate diagnosis.

How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in the House - Is it normal for a dog to smell bad?

Tips to avoid dog smell in the house

Whether you have a permanent wet dog smell in the home or simply have an unexpected odor, you will want to know how to get rid of it. As smells can permeate your home, especially your furnishings, prevention is also very important. Here we show you some of the best tips to avoid your smell smelling of dog.

1. The dog's hygiene routine

Unlike cats which preen themselves constantly, dogs require more active care on the part of their guardians. They will also have different needs depending on their coat length, something which is usually determined by breed. In general, all dogs should be brushed between 2 and 5 times a week. However, there are some breeds which will need daily brushing to maintain hygiene, keep their coat looking good and avoiding knots. The dog's activity levels will also have a bearing on how often they need groomed.

During the shedding season, the dog will need groomed more regularly as they will be leaving dead hair everywhere. This may not necessarily contribute to a bad smell, but it will not be good for your home. Brushing during the summer months will also help to better regulate their temperature and, in turn, avoid smelling bad. Regular brushing also provides the opportunity to inspect their coat for parasites, wounds and general condition.

We should also point out that bathing is important for your dog. This should be done every one to three months, but it will be mitigated by your dog's activity. However, it is important not to bathe your dog too often. The problem is due to upsetting the natural balance of oils on their skin which provide protection.

An effective home remedy to control your dog's smell and promote a healthy coat is a mix of baking soda and apple cider vinegar. The apple cider vinegar can be used as a conditioner after you have bathed them with a suitable dog shampoo. The baking soda can be use during brushing. It acts a little like a dry shampoo, but also absorbs smells.

How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in the House - 1. The dog's hygiene routine

2. Sir fresheners and purifiers

When it comes to eliminate bad pet odor, there are certain products which can prove useful. Air fresheners and purifiers are designed to keep smells at bay, bu not all are as effective as others. Another thing to take into consideration is the problem with spraying chemicals in your home. Some of them may agitate the occupants therein, whether human or canine. Choose natural odor eliminators which don't use abrasive chemicals.

A very effective remedy you can use to get rid of dog smell in your house is an odor absorber. A clever trick you can use is to once again involve baking soda. Sprinkle it over some of the areas your dog resides and leave it overnight. The next day vacuum the area and the baking soda will have helped absorb some of the smell. Apply an air freshener to finish.

Your dog should not be allowed to eat any of the baking soda as it can lead to gastrointestinal problems. Keep them somewhere else safe until you have cleaned up the mess.

3. Household cleaning

Likewise, it is also necessary to pay attention to the cleanliness of the areas in our home where the dog spends most of their time. It is imperative you keep their bed, blankets and feeding areas clean. Ensure their toys and accessories are also cleaned regularly as bacteria can thrive on anything they drool over regularly.

If your dog is used to climbing on the sofa or bed, ensure you clean them often. You can also use blankets on the bed and couch protectors to stop the smell getting into the fabric. Apple cider vinegar can also be used here to keep fabrics and surfaces fresh. just add a little to your wash bucket and clean as usual.

We also suggest you use enzymatic products for cleaning in the home. These are not only particularly effective in removing urine smells and other odors, but they cause less harm. Products like bleach and ammonia can result in agitating the animals as well as being bad for your interiors.

How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in the House - 3. Household cleaning

4. Ventilation

While this might seem like an obvious one, it is something many people too often forget about. Keeping your home ventilated allows the air to be refreshed and prevents stale smells from permeating your home. Even in cooler weather, it is best to aerate the home at least two or three times a day, especially if you share your home with an animal. We can use our walking routine to have the windows open a little while the dog is not present in the home. You should pay particular attention to the areas you dog spends most time in.

5. Perfumes for dogs

Dog perfumes and deodorants have grown in popularity recently. They tend to be particularly good for older dogs with longer coats. You can't, however, simply spray your pet with some Chanel No.5 and expect them to smell delightful. Firstly, there are specific requirements dogs need in terms of eliminating odors. Secondly, many perfumes designed for humans can cause allergic reactions in dogs. They can affect their mucous membranes, irritate the eyes and affect their skin. This can lead to a worse smell than before.

You can purchase cologne and perfume designed for dogs in pet shops and at veterinary practices. However, an effective and safe alternative is to make your own homemade perfume for dogs.

How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in the House - 5. Perfumes for dogs

If you want to read similar articles to How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in the House, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.


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