Getting Rid of Dog Smell in the House – A Guide to a Cleaner Canine

Hi Everybody, I hope that you’re all staying safe from this Corona Virus pandemic going on now. For most of us, this means Rolo & The Yapperstaying sheltered at home. Home sweet home; it’s the place to be during these challenging times. For dog owners, this provides an opportunity to hang out together more often than when we had our normal day-to-day routines outside the home.

You will notice like we have, that dogs have an odor that is unmistakably theirs. This isn’t a problem most of the time, but there are times when you’re together inside the same house and it can become a problem. Sometimes this can be a warning of health-related issues affecting your dog.

So why do dogs smell? What are the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ smells that our dogs have? What are some ways that we can get rid of dog smell in the house? This got me thinking about how this relates to our situation with two dogs. When I started researching this, I quickly discovered there’s more to this than meets the nose. I would like to share what I discovered with you on this journey.

Before I begin, please understand that I am not a Veterinarian. You must take dog health related information mentioned here and check it out with your veterinarian before taking action concerning your dog’s health. I speak only from research and personal experience. Bottom line: Your dog’s health is your responsibility, not mine.

Dog Smell – It’s in Their Nature

All healthy dogs have a natural smell of their own. Dogs use their highly developed sense of smell to identify other dogs by their unique odor. We can usually tell if their smell is different or excessive. Finding the source of the unusual smell should be considered as this may indicate health problems for the dog and linger inside the home even if the dog is away from the house.

Dogs exude natural oil from their pores. This oil promotes healthy skin and coat. The oil contains a light scent. Dogs use this scent to identify other dogs. Some breeds of dogs, and dogs with thicker coats will have more of this oil and more of a natural odor.

When dogs sweat, they perspire from the pads on their feet. Dogs have Apocrine glands which veterinarians consider to be sweat glands. These glands are located all over their body and produce pheromones which give off a distinct odor.

Glands in the dog’s ear and anus produce a distinct smell which contributes to a dog’s natural odor. You may have noticed that dogs typically sniff each other’s butts when they meet each other. The anal glands give off a distinct scent that dogs use for identification.

Why Do Dogs Smell Bad?

Have you ever seen your dog roll around in dirt, poo, dead animals, or other material before? If you have, this is thought to be instinctual behavior and may be effective for hunting dogs wanting to disguise their scent. You’ll also notice the bad smell this can bring into the house.

Your dog may be sprayed by a skunk. The outcome is a very smelly one for the dog! Skunks spray a noxious oil-like chemical from their anal glands that lingers on the dog’s face and fur and can easily rub off inside the house.

Careful and proper bathing and cleaning can help eliminate most of these unpleasant odors. However, there are situations where dogs in poor health give off other unpleasant odors.

    • Ears – As a dog’s ears get dirty, odor causing bacteria and fungus grow. This condition has a pronounced effect in dogs that have floppy ears or ears with a lot of hair. If neglected, the results become rather smelly.
    • Skin – Bacteria and fungus grows on the dog’s skin naturally. Some breeds like Bulldogs have overlapping folds of skin that promote the growth of odor causing bacteria and fungus. This causes irritation and excessive scratching leading to infection and more unpleasant odors.
    • Allergies – Dogs have food allergies which can give rise to unpleasant odors. The ingredients in some dog food can cause yeast infection and excessive oil secretion on the skin. This condition called Atophy can cause infection from excessive scratching and more unnatural and unpleasant odors.
    • Teeth & Gums – Bad breath (halitosis) is a common problem. This is typically caused by bacteria in their mouths. These bacteria can build up over time and lead to plaque and cavities. Continued neglect may lead to Periodontal disease and rotted teeth. The odors of these conditions can become quite horrendous.
    • Gas – Excessive passing of gas can indicate signs of intolerance to certain ingredients in a dog’s diet. Changing the dog’s diet after consulting with your veterinarian will remedy this problem in most situations. Persistent gas might indicate more serious intestinal health issues.
    • Anal Sacs – The Anal sacs release scent markers during defecation. Occasionally these sacs will become blocked resulting in them becoming swollen and painful. An extremely smelly secretion is released. You may have noticed your dog scooting on the floor. Its temporary relief for the dog but leads to a smellier home. A trip to the veterinarian may be necessary to drain these sacs.

Leaving the Bad Dog Odors Behind

Dogs will get messy and bring odors from the material they roll around in outdoors. There are situations due to poor health which produce unnatural and more unpleasant odors. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to alleviate most of these bad odors.

Bathing & Grooming – Regular bathing several times a year with a non-scented shampoo can eliminate a lot of your dog’s odors. Resist bathing your dog too often because this can wash away natural oils that keep their coat shiny and skin healthy.

If you haven’t bathed your dog before, be aware that your dog may find this process rather traumatic. Just treat them with some tender loving care and have plenty of towels on hand to dry them good. Pay special attention to floppy ears and overlapping skin folds where odor causing bacteria love to grow. Sequester your dog in their crate or a closed room to dry out completely.

Good grooming lessens the chance of odor causing bacteria build-up. Special attention should be paid to excessive hair in the ears, between their toes, and around their behind.

A reputable dog grooming service can be beneficial if you don’t want to tackle this job yourself. Costs can vary considerably. We take our small dogs into the pet groomer about five times a year and pay $120 per visit. There are do-it-yourself dog grooming saloons where you can clean and groom your dog without messing up your home.

Dental Care – Like humans, dogs need proper dental health too. Brushing your dog’s teeth and gums is a cheap and easy way to help eliminate bad breath and remove harmful plaque which forms on the dog’s teeth. This can be done with a lot of tender loving care and patience to get your dog used to the idea of having their teeth brushed. There are many articles online on how to do this. Be sure to contact your veterinarian for instructions and the correct toothpaste to use.

Another option is to have your vet clean your dog’s teeth. They will typically put your dog to sleep and perform a complete examination of their mouth and the condition of their teeth and gums. They can extract rotting teeth during the examination. It’s not the cheapest route, but it’s convenient, and your vet can advise you on any looming health problems. We take our dogs in at least once a year for teeth cleaning.

Diet – A proper diet can help extend the life of your dog and help eliminate a lot of the unpleasant odors due to food allergies, intolerance to some ingredients, and poor intestinal health. Certain foods and doggy treats also help promote healthier teeth. Consult with your veterinarian for the best advice on the proper diet for a healthier and better smelling dog.

Cleaning the Smelly House

Once you have a clean smelling dog, you can focus on getting rid of the dog smell in the house. If you have done your regular housecleaning and your home still smells unpleasant because of your dog, here are some things to try.

Before you begin, clean your dog first. You’ll get an idea of what your dog normally smells like before trying to locate the source of the objectionable dog smell in your home. Confine your dog to a specific area in the house, or outdoors. This will help make it easier to find the source of lingering dog odors.

Vacuum the house. Start with a new vacuum cleaner bag. This will give the best chance of removing any odor causing dog hair, dander, or other hidden dirt. Vacuum dog beds, furniture and any place your dog lounges. If you have carpeted floors, rent a steam cleaner to clean your carpets. Steam cleaning works really well for removing pet dirt out of carpets.

There are special pet vacuum cleaners and cleaning systems available that can be a wise investment for homes with multiple dogs and cats. Some are a little They’re not cheap, but you can shop around for discounts. This can make cleaning up after your dog much easier and cost effective depending on frequency of use.

Wash dog bedding, dog toys, crate, and anywhere your dog lounges. Consider covering furniture that your dog uses for a bed. We use blankets which are easily washable. This also helps prevent furniture from absorbing odors from oils on the dog’s body.

Baking Soda works wonders for removing odors by absorbing acidic odors caused by pet urine. Sprinkle baking soda on your carpets and furniture and let sit overnight. Vacuum the following day.

Use a black light to help locate hidden dog messes. Ideally, dog messes should be cleaned up immediately. Use a black light to find hidden urine stains. Pet urine glows under ultraviolet light making detection easy. Once you locate the brownish or yellowish marks, use a cleaner specially designed to remove these types of odors.

Open some windows to let fresh air come into the house. It’s amazing how well this works in leaving the home smelling fresh. If you have ever dried your cloths outside on a clothesline, this works the same way.

If you have tried all these ideas and the dog stink still persists, it’s time to consider more drastic measures. Such solutions like re-painting walls, ceiling, and trim, replacing urine stained drywall, and engaging with a professional cleaning service that specializes in pet odor removal are all last-ditch efforts for getting your house to smell clean from dog odor.

Clean Smelling Dog, Clean Smelling House

I hope you learned a little more about how to get rid of dog smell in the house. Researching this article has taught me:

  1. Dogs have their own natural odors.
  2. There are many ways that healthy and unhealthy dogs can bring more unpleasant odors into the home than just being themselves.
  3. Regular bathing, grooming, diet, and good animal health care will alleviate most of your dog’s objectionable odors.
  4. Once your dog is clean, there are additional housecleaning chores you can do to get rid of pet odors in the house and make it a nicer place to hang out with your dog.

Thank you for reading this article. Dogs are a very important part of our families. By taking good care of your dog and keep up with regular housecleaning, you’re can be assured of an odor-free life for your and your beloved canine.

Please leave a comment and let me know about the things you do to keep your dog and house odor free.

I’m here to help,


sources: petmd, akcpetinsurance, realtor, pethub, isoldmyhouse, akc, huffpost, thedodo

8 thoughts on “Getting Rid of Dog Smell in the House – A Guide to a Cleaner Canine”

  1. Alan says:

    I bath mine quite regularly and he has puppy shampoo and like puppy aftershave. He is almost three now. Sleeps in the bed so he can’t smell like the pond he has swam in hehe.

    1. Bob says:

      We keep our dogs in a fenced yard where they can’t go too far, but eventually they start looking shabby and smelly. We’ve bathed and groomed our dogs before, but it gets really messy. They’re definitely my lap dogs when I’m watching TV and especially after a trip to the groomer, but at night, they sleep in their crate.

      I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of aftershave for dogs before. I looked it up and now I know about something new. Thank you for that, Alan!


  2. C.N. says:

    Excellent article! I have two dogs, and although I love them so, they definitely leave my house smelling like the sewer at times. LOL You were very thorough in your analysis, and you presented your information in a fair and objective manner. God bless you!

    1. Bob says:

      Thanks C.N.!
      This is quite an education for me too. I hope that my efforts will help you and others in fighting the ‘stink’ and living peacefully with our animals. There’s more to learn I hope you stay tuned.


  3. Ali says:

    What a nice post you wrote Bob! I really enjoyed reading it and could not be silent about your post so I decided to leave my comment here and say Thank You for sharing this quality post. Actually I was looking for information about the how to get rid of dog smell in the house and when I landed on your website and read this post, it answered all my questions in details and it was exactly what I wanted to know.
    I’m happy that you’ve decided to write about this topic and share it with others. It’s very useful post in my opinion and can definitely be used as a great source for everyone who is interested to know about this topic.

    I will definitely come back to your site again to read more posts. Keep up quality articles! 🙂


    1. Bob says:

      Hi Ali, Thanks a lot for your comments on my website. When I chose this niche, I wanted to learn about a common problem that me and many other pet owners are faced with. When I started researching this topic, I quickly discovered there’s more than meets the nose!

      I’m glad that you landed on my website because it’s folks like you that I want to help with this information. You have shown me that I’m on the right track.


  4. Janet says:

    Hi Bob. After reading your article, I realise there is really lot of work, patient and love to involve by having a pet. I encourage people who have the intention of getting a pet should read your article so that they have a better understanding of their responsibility to their pet.

    I actually didn’t know that there is so much theory behind a dog’s smell. Learn something here. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Bob says:

      Hi Janet,

      Thank you for responding to my post.

      You’re spot on about pet ownership. It really does take a commitment of work, patience, and a lot of love to help ensure their well-being. Like us, they’re living beings too.

      I grew up with dogs and cats most of my life. Since we don’t have [human] kids, our pets an an integral part of our family. Our home would be too quiet without them!

      When it come down to it, knowing about pet odor control is only a part of the whole picture, but knowledge worth having to help ensure a quality home life for you and your pets.


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