Many of us are used to using the term “dog smell” to describe the odour that fills a home that has a dog living in it. But there’s more to these smells than just plain bad odour.
The unpleasant stench can stem from a variety of causes, and they can often fill an entire home and leave you stumped as to how to get rid of it.
Here’s what causes that infamous odour and how to get rid of dog smell.
Why Do Dogs Smell?
There are plenty of different reasons that you could be getting a whiff of that typical dog smell. Here are some of the possible causes behind it.
It’s important that you properly dry your dog off after they’ve taken a bath or gone swimming, as wet fur releases a very strong smell that is very commonly associated with that “dog smell”. This is because a dog’s fur harbours a number of microorganisms, including bacteria, yeast, and other components, and moisture or water causes them to release smelly compounds into the air.
Dog ears are stuffed with glands known as sebaceous glands, and they produce a lot of wax at a time. In this waxy substance, microorganisms find a suitable home and ground for breeding. Usually, this produces an almost yeast-like smell, and although it’s not necessarily dangerous to your pup, it can cause quite a stench.
This smell can also be an indication of a bacterial ear infection or a yeast infection, both of which are very common in dogs, and the former typically smells a lot worse than the latter! This is even more of a risk in pups with drooping and long ears and is especially common in dogs who already have allergy issues. If you suspect an ear infection, speak to a vet immediately.
Some dogs may also have some pretty bad breath; it’s no wonder the term is “dog breath”! A lot of times, this is just as simple as a lack of sufficient brushing of the teeth, or it may be the kind of food your dog has become accustomed to eating.
Do note that bad breath can also be a symptom of tooth infections, diabetes, or kidney disease, so if your dog’s breath has a scent of something metallic, similar to nail polish remover, or even like urine, you should speak to a vet as soon as possible.
Believe it or not, dogs do sweat, just like we humans do! But the difference is that they don’t sweat on the parts of their bodies covered in fur, meaning the largest spot they sweat in is their paw pads. This means that when your dog sweats a lot, they leave sweat behind in every single place they walk. It’s no surprise that this can kick up quite a stench.
Dogs who have folded skin – like bulldogs, pugs, spaniels, and so on – are more likely to develop a kind of skin disorder that works up a real stink: skin fold dermatitis.
This infection can smell extremely bad and occurs when the barriers of the skin are broken down through allergies, damp skin left undried and hormonal issues. This is why it’s very important to regularly clean and dry under these skin folds. If you noticed inflammation in the skin around these areas, bring your pup to the vet.
Contrary to popular belief, dogs don’t only scent mark through urination. In fact, most are regularly and constantly creating a mix of scents that are unique to them, informing other canines in the area that they are around. This smell is most often what is thought of as the “dog smell”.
The anal sacs are situated on either side of a dog’s anus and are lined with multiple glands. Each sac is regularly filled with a substance that smells strong and foul, but typically, humans don’t catch a whiff of them. The substance is normally only secreted in tiny amounts during defecation.
A dog who has infected or sick anal sacs will secrete this fluid more often, and the smell can often be, to put it bluntly, quite terrible.
An infected pup may scoot their backside on the floor more often, lick their behinds more than usual, or show signs of discomfort around their backsides. You should take your dog to the vet in the event you notice these symptoms.
Do note that some pups may also secrete these fluids during allergic reactions or when they feel anxious, nervous, frightened, or even excited.
How To Remove Dog Smell From Different Surfaces
How to get rid of dog smell from furniture that smells like a dog needs, it needs to be properly cleaned in order for you to fully be rid of the odour.
Here are some of the best ways to get this scent off of different surfaces in your home.
1. Removing Dog Smell From Carpet
To clean a carpet and get rid of dog smell, grab a large box of baking soda. Liberally sprinkle a layer of the substance onto the carpet. Leave overnight or for a full day – from morning to night – to allow the baking soda to set and fully deodorize the area. Vacuum up the powder when done.
Carpets are a bit tricky, though, so using a specialized pet cleaner – found in most pet stores – or opting for professional cleaning once in a while isn’t a bad idea.
You can even use carpet shampoo. With that being said, you should not attempt to go in with heavily scented shampoos right away. Instead, work to remove as much of the existing smell as possible before diving into the cleaning products, or else you’ll wind up with an unpleasant smell that is a mixture of dog and perfume.
2. Removing Dog Smell From Beds
You can clean a mattress the same way you do with a carpet. All you need to clean a mattress and deodorize it is some baking soda. Strip the bed and sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda all over the mattress. To help get it into nooks and crannies, use a cleaning brush.
Leave either overnight or for a full day – from morning to night – so that the baking soda can do its work. Then, simply vacuum up the baking soda. This method will also work for most other soft furniture.
3. Removing Dog Smell From Linen
For linen and other similar materials that cannot be machine washed, grab some powdered laundry detergent and mix it in with a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar. Liberally apply to the surface of the linen, then hand washes and allow to dry under the sun. Some pet cleaning products, found in most pet stores, will do the trick as well.
4. Removing Dog Smell From The Floor
A dog who treks into the house from the garden or yard on a regular basis can bring a lot of damp materials into the house and onto your floor. This is especially true of linoleum, hardwood, or tile floors, and although sweeping can get rid of the stray furs that land on these surfaces, the stink will likely not go away easily.
Use a good quality floor cleaner – preferably one safe for homes with pets – to give the floor a good wipe. Quick drying solutions work even better if your dog is likely to come bounding through again soon. Floor cleaners are great because they don’t just reduce smells, but they also help get rid of germs and bacteria.
5. Removing Dog Smell From Machine Washable Items
It’s fairly quick and easy to get rid of smells from items that are already machine washable. Just follow all the directions on the care labels to avoid damage. Use a good-quality detergent with a good scent to help with this process.
Take note that you shouldn’t do this for your dog’s own bedding and toys – only for other items around the house that your pup may lay on, like pillow cases, blankets, or rugs. For dog bedding and toy cleaning instructions, skip ahead to our next section!
How To Make Your Dog Smell Better
Sometimes, a little stink now and then is part and parcel of owning a dog. After all, most dogs will always carry a distinct scent along with them.
Regularly Bathe Your Dog
This is especially important for dogs who are very physically active or just spend a lot of time outside. If it’s been a while since your pup’s last bath, or if there are obvious signs that they’ve gotten a bit dirty, it may be time to get a shower going.
Invest in some good-quality dog shampoo for your canine companion. Try not to go for ones loaded with artificial scents, as these often aren’t too good for your dog’s skin and fur, and they also usually fail to get to the root of the odour issue.
You should also never use human shampoos on your pup. Instead, opt for shampoos that are designed for odour control in dogs.
Depending on the type of coat your dog has, you may also want to throw some conditioner into the mix. Naturally, for dogs with skin issues, you should check with your vet to see what sort of shampoo is best for them.
When you bathe your pup, make sure they’re wet with warm water from head to toe – or head to tail – before you start putting any shampoo on. And don’t be surprised if your dog starts acting weird. They usually have a lot of energy after taking a bath.
Don’t forget to get the shampoo everywhere except inside the ears and eyes – shampoo the chest and belly, outsides of the ears, legs, and paws, and featherings if your dog has them. Rinse shampoo off with warm water once lathered and rubbed in.
To avoid the wet dog smell setting in, use a towel to dry as much of your pup as possible. You should also allow your dog to shake the water off their fur if they want to. For dogs comfortable with the hair dryer, use a low setting to blow dry that hair. Leave a fan out for your dog to lounge in front of if they’re still damp after.
Regularly Groom Your Dog
Regular grooming is important in maintaining a healthy, happy dog and controlling odours. Here are the areas to pay attention to:
Combing And Brushing
Daily brushing can get rid of dirt hiding in your dog’s coat, reducing the chances of bad smells. And let’s not forget about the paws especially the nails that need to be cut from time to time.
Wipe away wax from the insides of ears using wipes. You can also use dog-friendly eat cleaners or mineral oils for this purpose. To use ear cleaners, squirt a bit of the solution into your pup’s ear, then rub circles with wipes or your fingers to get rid of debris. Clean out remaining fluid with cotton. Never use Q-tips!
Ideally, you’ll want to brush your pup’s teeth daily. Use a dog-friendly toothpaste and a toothbrush that fits your dog’s mouth size. If your pup isn’t a fan of the process, you can get some flavoured toothpaste to entice them. Use only an amount the size of a pea and brush for about a minute.
Regularly Clean Toys And Bedding
Not only do dirty bedding and soft toys lead to a higher risk of contracting fleas or other health problems, but they can also harbour unwanted scents that lead the house to smell more like a dog.
Gather all machine-washable items and put them in the washing machine. Set the temperature as high as you can without damaging these items.
Remember not to use overly scented laundry detergent. Go for something non-scented, or just don’t use detergent at all! For humans, the smell might seem fresh and subtle, but for dogs, it can be an overload of perfume-like smells.
If you’re concerned about odours sticking around, use a mixture of hot water and baking soda – or hot water and vinegar, if you prefer – to get the smell out.
You should also steer clear of any fabric softeners as they may irritate a dog’s skin. After you’re done the washing, set a dryer to low heat and toss them in to allow them to dry off. If you don’t have a dryer, set them outside to air dry under the sun.
For items that are not machine-washable, use a hose to give them a rinse, and for exceptional dirty or smelly items, a mild dish soap and a sponge or toothbrush can work wonders.
Dry under the sun once done. Don’t forget to wash bedding regularly! I hope you learned for us how to get rid of dog smell from your house.