How to get rid of dog smell in your home

A pet dog can be like a member of the family. However, they can make your house smell! Find out how to remove dog odours here.

Updated 23 August 2022


AuthorBy Cleanipedia Team

Reading Time5 minutes

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Key steps:

  • Regularly wash fabric and furnishings that your dog sits on

  • Sprinkle baking soda over furnishings that can't be machine washed overnight, and vacuum in the morning

  • Vacuum up dog hairs and clean the floor regularly

Does your beloved canine leave a lingering ‘dog smell’ in the house? It’s the one downside of being a dog owner, and unfortunately there’s no miracle way to make a dog stop smelling. What we can do, however, is prevent our home from harbouring these smells, which will create a much fresher environment. Here are some great ways to remove these pesky smells from your home.

Why Do Dogs Smell?

‘Dog smell’ is a term that’s used commonly, but we never really hear of ‘cat smell’ or ‘bird smell’. Why? Do these animals not smell? Is it just dogs that are unfortunate enough to leave a lingering odour in the house? No. The reason why dogs seem to smell more than other household pets is simply that the parts of the body that tend to produce the greatest smells are just bigger on dogs – areas such as the ears, the nose, and the paw pads. There are three main reasons why a healthy dog might smell:

  • Sweat Just like us, dogs sweat when they’re hot. However, they only sweat in areas that aren’t covered by fur, with the largest areas being the paw pads. As your dog’s paws sweat, he’ll spread it around the carpets, the floors, the sofa, the bed… anything he stands on.

  • Waxy Ears Dogs’ ears are filled with sebaceous glands which produce high levels of wax. This wax is the perfect breeding environment for tiny micro-organisms which typically do not cause your dog any harm, but they can stink. If you smell something yeasty, it’s probably your dog’s ears.

  • Scent Marking Think dogs only mark their territory when they pee? Think again. Dogs are constantly producing odours that let other dogs know they’re about. It’s this scent-marking smell that’s really the classic ‘dog smell’, and it can easily be absorbed into your soft furnishings.

Removing Dog Odours from Soft Furnishings

To help to eliminate dog smell from soft furnishings, you have two options: first, you can use your washing machine, and second, you can use a cleaning product that will absorb the smell from the fabrics and fibres.

  1. 1

    Washing Machine If your soft furnishings are machine washable (check the care label for advice), then using your washing machine can make removing dog smells really quick and easy. Remove any cushion covers, rugs, duvet covers, pillowcases – anything that your dog has been lying on – and wash them with a good quality detergent such as Persil Bio capsules in accordance with the instructions on the care label.

  2. 2

    Baking Soda If some of your soft furnishings aren’t suitable for the washing machine, don’t worry. Believe it or not, baking soda makes an excellent dog smell remover. It has highly absorbent properties that draw the odours out of fabrics and materials, leaving them smelling great. Sprinkle baking soda over any smelly area, and allow to rest for a few hours, preferably overnight. In the morning, vacuum up the baking soda and revel in the fresh, clean smell.

Removing Dog Odours from Floors

If your dog frequently comes in from the garden via your hardwood, tile, or linoleum kitchen floor, then this could be one of the main sources of dog smell in your home. A simple brush of the floor may well remove any loose hairs, but it’s not going to target the smell. Instead, try wiping the floor with Cif Floor Cleaner or Surf disinfectant, following the product instructions. It’s easy to use, it’s quick drying, and it’s safe for use in homes with pets. A thorough clean will not only remove odours, but it will also kill any bacteria and germs that have transferred from your dog's paws to your floors.

Keep the Smell at Bay

Our dogs can’t stop themselves from smelling – it’s part of their nature – so it’s up to us to keep on top of our household chores in order to prevent a build-up of odours. The most important task when it comes to keeping the odours at bay is by vacuuming your home every week (or more frequently if needed). It may seem like overkill, but dogs shed rapidly, and each and every hair that finds its way in between your sofa cushions, underneath your rug, and in your bedding is going to cause a smell. Vacuuming can help reduce the numbers of loose hairs in your home, and, subsequently, help to minimise the smell. It’s the easiest and quickest method for keeping your home smelling as fresh as a daisy.

Tip: If you are keeping more than one four-legged companion at home, find out how to remove cat smells here.

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