If you are a dog owner, you are also a dog smell owner. It’s unavoidable. It just comes along with dog ownership. Actually, if that’s the worst complaint you have about your pooch, it’s a pretty darn good trade-off considering all the ways in which our lives are enriched simply by having them around. Dogs have been an important part of my life since before I can remember. They and their pet odor have always just been there. That being said, since I became old enough to do so, I’ve had to play an active role in helping my parents in getting rid of dog smell. And since there were usually at least three dogs living in the house at any one time, I had no choice but to learn a few tricks to eliminate odor.

There are a number of things that can contribute to dog odor. Oily skin is a big one. For this reason, dogs with naturally oily skin (like Labradors) tend to be the cause of a higher level of pet odors. On the other hand, your dog might have high levels of oil in the skin due to atopy, which is just a fancy way of saying that the dog has allergies that irritate the skin, so the dog’s body produces an overabundance of skin oils to help combat the itchiness and inflammation. These oils don’t just stay on the dog either. They go wherever the dog goes and get left behind on couches, chairs, carpets, etc. Quite often, though, the dog smell is due simply to the fact that your dog is dirty and needs a bath. Maybe the pooch rolled in something, maybe he/she went swimming and now smells like “wet dog”, or maybe it’s something more serious that can’t be fixed with a bath. In this article I’ve compiled some of the most common causes of bad dog smell complete with tips on how to get rid of dog smell. See below for tips on how to get rid of dog smells directly from the dog, and see the left for ideas on how to get rid of dog smell from your home.

Quick Tips for Getting Rid of Dog Smell

  • Steam cleaning carpeting regularly.
  • Vacuuming every other day.
  • Sweeping every other day.
  • Mopping floors with a 3:1 water to vinegar solution at least once a week.
  • Invest in two couch covers so you’ll have an extra when one is being washed.
  • Wash dog bedding once a week.
  • If the dog sleeps with you, wash your own bedding once a week.
  • Leave carpet powders on overnight.
  • Keep windows open whenever possible.

Best Ways to Get Rid of Dog Smell at the Source

Wash your dog properly.

Too many people do not wash their dogs properly. This can actually make things worse. First, check the dog over thoroughly for any obvious stink sources such as something they rolled in or poop stuck in the fur. Check the feet, too, and make sure there’s nothing stuck between the toes or pads. Next, stick some cotton in Doggy’s ear and wet the entire animal thoroughly. Once wet, using a gentle dog shampoo, lather the dog up good and proper. Finally, rinse, rinse, rinse. It’s very important to get all of the soap out or it will dry, itch, and cause the dog to produce excess skin oil.

Dry the dog thoroughly.

It’s not just oils and the things the dog rolled in that create dog odor. It’s also bacteria and bacteria waste. These bacteria love wet animal fur and are able to live and reproduce quite happily in it. For this reason, it’s very important that you get your dog as dry as possible. Start by gathering every towel you can find and going to town. Rub back and forth, up and down, and all around. As an extra measure, especially for dogs with thick coats, hit them with a blow dryer. Just make sure you set it on the coolest setting possible.

Treat dog breath.

=If bad enough, dog breath can make a dog and the house reek like hell. There are several things you can do to help reduce this odor. The most important is to start a proper oral hygiene regimen. It is often recommended that you brush your dog’s teeth once a day. At the very least, do it a couple times a week. There are also special dog breath treats you can buy your pooch. I recommend Greenies (which are sold at Amazon). Dogs love them and they work well. Before you do anything, though, take your dog to the vet to make sure there isn’t something more serious going on like gingivitis or periodontal disease.

Get your dog on a good, healthy diet.

It’s simple: your dog’s health is directly correlated with what you feed him/her. If your dog is not getting a healthy diet, there’s a pretty good chance that the pooch isn’t going to be as healthy as he/she should be. If the dog isn’t healthy, it probably won’t smell healthy either. Just imagine how you would smell if you never ate anything but Ramen Noodles and fast food burgers. You’d probably smell like a giant fart. So quit feeding your dog Tuffy’s and talk to your vet about what brand of food you should have your dog on.

Speaking of the vet…

It’s quite possible that the dog smell you are smelling is something you won’t be able to get rid of on your own. Dogs have these neat things called anal glands that build up and secrete an ishy, musty smelling substance with the feces. Sometimes these glands get clogged. This can cause some serious pet odor. A vet or groomer can express (drain) these glands and make Doggy smell pretty again. Another common dog odor is caused by ear infections. So look at your dog’s ears and give them a whiff. If they look nasty or are stinky, take the dog to the vet. The dog might also just have a skin infection that is causing the smell. It could be a yeast infection, a bacterial infection, or an allergy that has caused an increase in the musty-smelling apocrine sweat.

Remove Smell Using a Dog Odor Remover

Because it is so common for people to have pet dogs, there is an abundance of products available on the market that are designed to remove odor caused by dogs. Perhaps the simplest of these is a dog brush. Look for different types of dog brushes and combs made by Four Paws. They have detanglers, undercoat rakes, and brushes specifically for short-haired dogs and for long. By brushing your dog regularly, you remove dead hair and the oils on that dead hair that can cause dog smell.

If you are looking for something beyond a brush, there are plenty of sprays, powders, and cleaners available, too. Just make sure to get something that is actually designed to be a pet odor remover. Don’t waste your money on cheap, crappy air fresheners. You will only succeed in making your house smell like a lilac-coated dog fart. Some of the more effective dog smell removers are: Odokill, Odokleen Cleaner/Deodorizer, Odorcide, OdoBan Ready-to-Use, Zero Odor, and Simple Solution Natural Pet Odor Remover. Find one that works for you, the smell of your house, and your dog.

Best Natural Dog Smell Removers

Fresh Wave. This is a nontoxic, biodegradable natural air freshener made with soy, cedar wood, pine needle, aniseed, clove, and lime. It doesn’t just mask the smell either. Fresh Wave molecules enter the air and attract malodorous particles with an electrostatic charge. Amazon sells Fresh Wave Home Spray here.

Baking soda. This is a great dog smell remover. Baking soda is cheap, so don’t be stingy with it. Spread it liberally over your carpet and let it sit overnight. If you are able to, cover it with a tarp so that the odor absorbing properties are directed exclusively at the carpet. Vacuum it up in the morning.

Apple cider vinegar. Use apple cider vinegar in the wash. Whether you’re washing laundry, your bedding, or your dog’s bedding, throw in about ¼ cup apple cider vinegar with your regular laundry detergent. If you don’t have the apple stuff, plain old white vinegar will work, too; it just doesn’t smell as nice.

Visit our Facebook Page to discuss this article!