How to get rid of dog smell at home

Dog smell is no match for these genius hacks. Six ways to keep your house from smelling like your dog.

Dog Smell
(Image credit: Roberto Nickson for Unsplash)

It's no question that pet owners love their four-legged friends, but no one wants dog smell in the house. Fall's shedding season is right around the corner, so get ahead of the game now by incorporating a few easy hacks to keep Fido's odor from taking over.

Check out our guide to the best vacuums for pet hair for top fluff-busters.

Invest in a quality vacuum

The more your pet's hair gathers in your rugs and carpets, the worse your home will smell. You'll want to vacuum frequently. While it may feel like a big splurge now, investing in a quality vacuum that won't get clogged up by Fido's fur is a must for pet owners.

For mobility and cord-free versatility, nothing beats the Dyson Cyclone stick vacuum. It features the brand's most powerful cleaner head to remove dust from carpets as well as on hardwood floors. Choosing a vacuum that can go work on a variety of surfaces is key, since your pooch's mess isn't confined to the carpet. Plus, this one has a handy attachable groom tool you can use to vacuum loose hair straight from your dog. 

While Dyson vacuums are great, they aren't known for being cheap. If the price tag is out of your range right now, consider a more budget-friendly option, like the Eureka Upright Pet Vacuum. This handy design has easy-glide wheels designed to traverse floors and carpets. There's also a filtration system and HEPA filter to trap more than 99% of dust and allergens — key for pet owners. 

Want to save time? Let your robot do the work by splurging on a hard-working Roomba vacuum

Opt for washable everything

Upholstered furniture is going to trap a lot more odor than other surfaces, but professional cleaning costs a pretty penny. If you have a particularly smelly dog, consider machine-washable slipcovers for your sofa and side chairs. 

Wash slip covers, pillow shams, and throw blankets weekly to keep odors under control during shedding season. Consider upgrading your laundry detergent for a formula with extra odor-fighting ingredients, like baking soda.  

Steam clean

Even with frequent vacuuming and washing, you'll want to give your carpets (and any uncovered upholstery) a good steam cleaning now and then. You can hire a service like Stanley Steamer to come in and do the job for you or purchase the equipment to do it yourself. 

The Bissell Multipurpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner is a versatile option that's easy to maneuver. The Hoover SmartWash PET Complete is great for larger areas, but a portable option works better on stairs, area rugs, and upholstery. Simply fill tanks in the sink and empty when the job is done. 

If you really want to go for a budget option, consider this hack: Liberally sprinkle baking soda on your carpet and furniture overnight. In the morning, vacuum it up. This natural odor eliminator is completely safe for your pooch. 

Go to the source

While many pet odors can't be helped, there are ways you can keep your pup from getting too smelly. Give them a bath every two weeks with a quality pet shampoo. You'll want to opt for a formula that won't irritate their skin, since that can cause even more dander and smell.

For long-haired dogs, enlist a shedding tool to remove excess hair once they are dry. Consider a handy deshedding glove, which will feel like a relaxing massage for your fur baby. 

Don't forget to clean their ears with a soft cloth or towel, as they can become smelly. And if your pet has any skin issues or irritation, take them to the vet...You may need to consider a new diet. 

Neutralize odors with scent

Finally, cover up odors with some more appealing scents — like candles, potpourri, and essential oils. Just be sure to keep these items out of reach of pets, and check that they contain safe ingredients. (Check out our list of the best reed diffusers and best home fragrances for inspiration).

Diffusing essential oils is a great way to eliminate stinky odors in your home. However, there are some oils that are not safe for dogs. These can include citrus oils, pine, tea tree, and ylang ylang. So, resist using lemon to mimic your favorite cleaner.

Don't worry, plenty are quite safe. For odor-busting qualities, peppermint is a great option. Plus, it has a lot of other perks for pooches, like helping to combat your pet's seasonal allergies. Lavender is another good option for dogs, and boasts the same relaxation benefits humans enjoy from the herb. (Note, lavender is not safe for cats, so don't use it if you have felines in the house as well.) 

Keep urine odors at bay

Aside from shedding, accidents can cause lingering smells in your house. Try an enzymatic neutralizer like Nature's Miracle to spot-treat the scene of the crime. This cleaner will eliminate the smell for both you and your pooch, so they won't be tempted to do it again. 

Check out our list of the best upholstery cleaning products for more top spot treaters.

Ann Loynd Burton

After serving as an editor for luxury publications for nearly a decade, Ann Loynd Burton struck out on her own as a freelance writer covering design and lifestyle. Along with her work highlighting decor trends for Real Homes, Loynd Burton has covered interiors for such publications as Apartment TherapyAspireCottages & Gardens, and Galerie