How To Get Rid Of Dog Smell
Your Dog And Your Life

How To Get Rid Of Dog Smell

As a lifelong dog owner, I know how much they can smell! Whether they have accidents in the house or your home just seems to carry that distinctive dog scent no matter what you do, I’m here to help.

Pet enzyme cleaners tend to be best at removing stains and odors. If you’re noticing an overall stench, it might be time to wash your dog’s things or deep-clean your carpets. Anything that can hold scent should be cleaned on a regular basis.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to remove dog odor from your home, car, and even your dog themselves!

Table of Contents:

How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in the House

  • Vacuum everywhere. It’s important to remove any shed hair and dander from your home, including under furniture and in crevices. This can add up and become pretty smelly over time.
  • Keep your pup clean. Cleaning your house won’t do any good if your dog is smelly! I’ll talk more about making your dog smell nice later in this article.
  • Use furniture covers. It can be difficult to clean the couch, but a cover–even if it’s just a cheap throw blanket–can be easily tossed into the wash and it’ll keep your furniture clean and odor free.
  • Wash your dog’s items regularly. This includes their dog beds, toys, accessories like collars and leashes, and anything else in the house they use frequently like their favorite chair, blanket, or pillow. Adding vinegar to your loads of laundry will also help to remove odors.
  • Pick up food between meals and keep the bowls clean. Leaving your dog’s food out can cause nasty odors, especially in the case of canned food as it expires quickly. Be sure to pick up and wash the bowls after each meal, and don’t forget to scrub their water bowl daily as well!
  • Carpet clean your rugs and carpeting. Carpets can hold onto scent easily, and we don’t often think of washing them. Invest in a carpet cleaner or rent one to get the smell out of your home.
  • Carpet cleaners can also be used on furniture. Most furniture can be carpet cleaned with attachments or a handheld carpet cleaner, so long as you don’t oversaturate it. Be sure to double-check that the fabric can be carpet cleaned, and test any cleaners in a small, out-of-sight area before cleaning the entire piece.
  • Purchase an air purifier. An air purifier with a quality HEPA filter will help to remove debris and smells from the air.
  • Clean your cleaning tools. My vacuum and carpet cleaner get super messy! Make sure you clean your cleaning tools regularly to remove anything stinky they’re picking up. This includes changing filters on your vacuum, air purifier, and anything else that has them!
  • Open the windows. Letting in some fresh air can do wonders to get rid of smells in your house.
  • Avoid essential oils. While diffusing essential oils can mask dog odor, many essential oils are toxic to dogs and can hurt them–so I personally avoid them altogether in my home.
  • Hire a professional. If you’ve done everything and your home still smells, it might be time to hire a professional to tackle the problem!
Stop Dog Smell
How To Stop Dog Smell

How to Clean Dog Pee and Remove Odor Entirely

If your dog has been peeing indoors, the smell might be trickier to remove. Or maybe you can get an area clean to the point where you can’t smell anything, but your dog still does and continues to go potty in the same spot.

Either way, these solutions can help you to find and remove any urine smells in your home:

  • Use a black light to find urine. A black light can show you hidden stains that you may not have known about. It can also show you just how large the stain is, and you might be surprised at the surface space it covers.
  • Pet enzyme cleaners work best for removing smells. There are a bunch of these on the market. Most require you to thoroughly saturate the stain, then leave it to work for a short period of time before blotting up the liquid. You may have to repeat this process several times before the odor is completely gone.
  • Hydrogen peroxide can also remove odors. I’ve used hydrogen peroxide to successfully clean cat urine, which is stronger than dog urine, and it worked great! I saturate the stain, leave it for 5-10 minutes, and then blot up the liquid with paper towels or use a carpet cleaner to soak it up.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the area. Baking soda absorbs odors and might help to remove some of the stench!
  • Remember not to mix cleaning products. Some products work great and are completely safe when used on their own, but can create toxic fumes when mixed. I recommend sticking to just one product at a time.
  • Don’t use bleach to clean urine. Dog pee contains ammonia. When ammonia and bleach combine, they create a toxic fume called chloramine gas. This can hurt or kill both you and your dog!
  • Replace the item. Sometimes, the only way to completely get rid of the smell is to replace the item your dog peed on. Unfortunately, this can be pretty expensive, especially if they’re peeing on carpet and it saturates the subfloor underneath.

How to Remove Dog Odors from the Car

  • Vacuum thoroughly. Get up all of the hair, mud, and debris from on the seats, floor, and even underneath and between the seats. 
  • Use a brush to remove stubborn fur. It’s common for fur to become trapped, especially on the floors or in the material on the ceiling of the car. A bristled cleaning brush can help remove it!
  • Wipe surfaces regularly. Use a cleaner to wipe down your seats, walls, dashboard, and anything else your dog climbs on or brushes against.
  • Use seat covers or a carrier. These provide a barrier between your dog and the seats that can be easily removed and washed, keeping your car itself smelling fresh.
  • Use a handheld carpet cleaner. As long as you’re careful not to oversaturate anything, a handheld carpet cleaner can do wonders to remove dog odor in the car!
Get Rid Of Dog Smell
Get Rid Of Dog Smell

How to Make Your Dog Smell Better

Lastly, it won’t matter how clean your home or car is if your dog is smelly! They’ll just get everything dirty again, and it’ll smell whenever they’re around.

Here are some ways to keep your dog clean and odor free:

  • Brush out all that dead fur! This will not only keep your home cleaner, but can remove some of the smell from your dog. It also helps distribute their natural oils, making their coat healthier and sleeker.
  • Bathe them regularly. You don’t want to bathe your dog too often, but if they’re smelly it’s likely time. Depending on their breed, some dogs need more frequent baths than others.
    Be sure to use a dog shampoo, rather than other soaps that can dry out their skin. There are also good ways to keep you dog clean between baths.
  • Wipe their paws after going outside. Dogs can track a lot of dirt and debris on their paws, especially if it’s wet outside! You can use a simple towel to wipe their paws, or a product like the MudBuster that works by dipping your dog’s paws into the container and twisting it so the soft bristles clean the crevices of their feet.
  • Feed them a quality diet. A balanced diet goes a long way toward keeping your dog healthy, which will reduce the odor in their poops, in their breath, and on their body.
  • Brush their teeth regularly. This will eliminate bad breath and also helps to keep your dog’s teeth healthy, saving you money on dental procedures as they age.
  • Clean their ears monthly. This helps to prevent ear infections, which can be very stinky. Even a build-up of ear wax can be irritating to your dog and your nose.
  • See a veterinarian if your dog is still stinky after a bath. This can be an indication of illness including ear infections, dental disease, skin infections, or anal gland issues like impaction or infection.