How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in the House: All’s Well With No Smell

How to get rid of dog smell in the house

Part of being a dog parent is asking how to get rid of dog smell in the house. It’s pretty inevitable, considering that living with dogs entails some serious stink issues.

For homes with indoor dogs, the smelly problem is a thousandfold. But compared to having my dogs be subjected to the weather outside the house, I would rather prefer dealing with the smell. Good thing the following tips are any dog parents’ saving grace when it comes to getting rid of dog smell in the house!



Causes for Dog Smell

Before we get down to how to deal with it, it’s best if we understand what causes the typical dog smell that we know.

1. Oily Skin

One of the most common sources for the distinctive dog smell in your home is oily skin. Natural oils, like with humans, helps keep a dog’s skin and coat healthy. However, if the amount of oil that’s present is more than what’s called for, it can cause dog smell.

This is particularly common to breeds with naturally oily skin like Labradors. However, if your dog is not of a breed that’s of the oily sort, then the oiliness may be caused by skin allergies, at which point medicinal intervention is needed.

2. Sweat

While it’s true that dogs pant to release body heat when it’s hot, in a way they also sweat. Not in the places you’d expect, as anything covered with fur is a no-sweat zone. A dog’s form of perspiration is usually located on their paw pads and hair follicles. This means that if your dog is walking around the house on a hot day, then dog smell ensues.

3. Ear Wax

You’ve probably noticed that your dog has waxier ears than you do. That’s because ear  wax production in dogs is higher due to the sebaceous glands in their ears. The wax itself is not smelly, but the microorganisms which thrive in it are. If the dog smell is of a yeasty kind, then check your dog’s ear for wax.

4. Scent Marking

Dogs that pee to mark their territory are an inevitable source of a house that smells like dogs. Because that’s literally their goal. However, peeing is not the only form of scent marking. The distinctive dog smell is also a form of scent marking that allows your dogs to mark their territory. The scent is produced by the glands located in a dog’s ear and anus. The best odor remover in my book when it comes to dogs is Nature’s Miracle, check it out below: 

Nature's Miracle Fresh Linen 3 in 1 Odor Destroyer, 24-oz bottle -

5. Dog Saliva

It’s no secret that dogs like to lick themselves. Turn around for a moment and once you turn back to your dog chances are they’ve started to lick themselves. Licking in dogs is a form of grooming, but if your dog has stinky breath and saliva, then the smell can transfer and dry up on their body.

get rid of dog smell

How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in the House

Now, it’s time to find out how you can get rid, or at the very least, reduce the dog smell in your home. Typically, dog smell isn’t something so extreme. However, if you have a lot of dogs in the house, it can accumulate and start becoming smellier.

Here are some tips on how to get rid of dog smell in the house:

1. Clean your home regularly

Chances are you’re probably doing this already, but you probably need to improve the materials you use to get rid of the dog smell properly. It’s also understandable that you are too busy to deal with cleaning the house, but you can delegate tasks to family members to make it easier.

  • Steam clean your carpet for deeper cleaning
  • Leave carpet powder overnight, but keep your dog away from it Arm & Hammer Litter Carpet & Room Pet Fresh Odor Eliminator, 30-oz -
  • You can also sprinkle and spread a liberal amount of baking soda on carpets, furniture, and mattresses then leaving it overnight to absorb odors
  • Remove the baking soda by vacuuming it off all the surfaces you put it on
  • Vacuum at least once a week
  • Sweep the floors every other day
  • Use a water and vinegar solution with a 3:1 proportion to mop your floors with

2. Wash covers of any surfaces your dog hangs out on

If you allow your dog on the couch or your bed, then this applies to you so the dog smell doesn’t settle.

  • Change and wash couch covers and bedding once a week
  • Wash dog’s bedding once a week
  • Use a combination of detergent and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar to wash these with
  • Invest in extra bedding/ covers so that you can alternate them while one batch is being washed and dried

3. Clean dog’s cage

If your dog stays in a cage, it’s also best if you clean it every two weeks or so. Of course the tray where they pee and poop needs to be cleaned out at least once per day, but the cage itself can be cleaned more sporadically.

On that note, clean any messes that your pet makes as soon as you can instead of letting them sit and dry up or get absorbed by the carpet.

4. Air your house

It’s good to let in some air every now and then, and it also allows you to get rid of dog smell. Open your house’s windows whenever possible, so long as they do not pose a security issue. The fresh air will go in while the stale air goes out and you’ll be breathing easy in no time.

5. Improve air quality

Several items can be used to make the air in your home even fresher after airing it. Just make sure that none of your options are toxic to your dog (and to you) and you’re good to go!

    • Air purifiers: change filters as recommended by manufacturer or as needed

  • Deodorizers: spray these around your home to reduce pet smells. Baking soda and vinegar are my go-to, but you can also use vinegar mixed with a few drops of essential oils or just baking soda and water
  • Air fresheners: make your own or buy one from the store

How to Get Rid of Dog Smell from the Source

The tips mentioned above are solutions to dog smell in the house. Here are some prevention measures to ensure that you won’t have to keep on solving the dog smell problem in your house:

1. Bathe your dog properly

Aside from regularly bathing your dog, it’s good practice to do it properly. The keyword is properly, as bathing your dog the wrong way can make the problem worse. What’s the right way of bathing a dog, you ask?

  • Inspect your dog for any obvious causes of stink like stuck poop, dirt they encountered or rolled in, ear wax, etc.
  • Bathe your dog thoroughly with special attention to those problem areas as well their ears, near their tails (where poop stains/ smells can stick) and between their toes/ paw pads (where dirt can get lodged)
  • Wet your dog then lather them up with a gentle dog shampoo
  • Rinse
  • Rinse
  • And rinse some more
  • Clean your dog’s ears for any leftover wax after bathing

The reason why there’s an emphasis on rinsing your dog well is that leftover shampoo on your dog’s skin/ fur will dry up, irritate your dog’s skin, and cause oiliness. Once that happens, we’re back where we started.

2. Dry your dog thoroughly

Another time when dog smell is at its peak is when your dog gets wet and you catch a whiff of the wet dog smell. If your dog was out playing in the water or swimming somewhere, it’s best to bathe them with shampoo first before proceeding to a thorough drying session.

  • Use towels to dry your dog, rubbing in all directions: back and forth, up and down, and all around
  • If one towel is not enough (as one can get drenched with how wet your dog is), don’t hesitate to use more
  • Use a blow dryer on the coolest setting as needed

Drying your dog completely and thoroughly is advised because bacteria love a wet dog’s fur. They thrive in it. And bacteria are great contributors to stinky dog smells.

3. Address any medical concerns

As mentioned earlier, treating any allergies that can cause oily skin will help you address the problem at the source. If it’s your dog’s breath that stinks to the high heavens, then invest in good oral hygiene for your dog as well.

At the very least, stop your dog from licking their paws and feet.


We hope that this post on how to get rid of dog smell in the house helped you out. We have tried and tested a lot of these and they work really well!

Dogs are awesome companions, and if that means dealing with the smell, then so be it. It’s a pretty good trade off for a lifelong companion who loves you a whole lot.

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how to get rid of dog smell in the house

4 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in the House: All’s Well With No Smell”

  1. Cleaning really is so important. I would strongly recommend finding a good professional carpet and upholstery cleaner as a dog owner. Getting your carpets cleaned professionally every six months will do wonders for the odors your dog creates. Thanks for sharing these tips! Even as a dog mom of 10 years now I found these incredibly useful.

  2. My bischon and shihtzu that I’ve had since puppies have never ever caused a smelly atmosphere. Then I rescued another Shih tzu from a puppy farm who had been used for breeding and was in a very sad way. Since she came the doggy smell is a nightmare . All the smell comes from her paws . It’s really bad . Obviously it’s her sweating through her feet. I have never ever smelt such a ping everywhere she goes. It’s like the strongest pure perfume available but unfortunately it’s essence of doggy feet. There’s no hope of me getting rid of it . There really isn’t.

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