Here's How to Get Rid of That Dog Smell in Your House for Good

Amber Guetebier
Written by Amber Guetebier
Updated November 4, 2021
Golden retriever puppy lying on a yellow armchair
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Having a lovely-smelling home is paw-sible with these tips

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Our dogs are our best friends and constant companions, which means that dog odor in our house is also a constant. The good news is, there are lots of ways to get dog smell out of the house naturally. These tips will help keep your home smelling fresh even when the fur is flying.

1. Remove Pet Hair

Excess dog hair and dander can contribute to pet odors in your home. If you’ve noticed your house has that distinctive dog smell, start by giving your floors a thorough cleaning. Sweep and mop up any hard flooring surfaces, and vacuum all carpets and area rugs. You should also vacuum any furniture such as couches and armchairs.

2. Clean Your Carpets

A dog on the carpet in the living room
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A good vacuuming may not be enough to get the dog odor out of your carpets. You can try some home remedies to clean your carpets more thoroughly with a powder cleaner. You can buy commercial carpet powders or try baking soda; it naturally absorbs odor (there’s probably a box in your fridge right now).

  • Make sure to remove all pets from the area and keep them away until you’ve vacuumed up all the powder.

  • Sprinkle liberally and walk away. Ideally, let it absorb all that dog odor for an hour.

  • Vacuum it up. You may need to change your vacuum filter after this.

  • If your home has high humidity, don’t leave the baking soda overnight. It will become a gummy mess that you won’t be able to vacuum up easily.

3. Spot Treat Stains

If you have pet urine stains on your carpet, they can harbor lingering odors that contribute to the dog odor in your house. Try spot cleaning carpets and area rugs to remove the stains and smells.Remember to always choose pet-safe carpet cleaners, cleaning products, deodorizers, and sprays.

4. Go Pro

When the at-home method just doesn’t cut it, it’s probably time to call in a local professional carpet cleaner. Have your carpets steam-cleaned by a company that uses pet-friendly carpet cleaning chemicals.

5. Do the Laundry

Pet hair doesn’t just stick to the carpet. It can get on just about any fabric surface in your home, so throwing anything machine-washable in the laundry is a key step in ensuring your house smells more like daisies and less like Daisy. Don’t forget to wash couch cushion covers, pillowcases, and bed linens.

6. Wash the Dog’s Bed

Odds are, your dog’s bed is the smelliest thing in your home. Luckily, most dog beds are machine-washable. To help eliminate dog odor in your home, wash your dog’s bed once a week.

  • Remove the cover and wash it. If you can machine dry it, be sure to throw in a few scented dryer sheets.

  • If the inside liner of the bed is not machine-washable, vacuum up pet hair and then leave it outside for a couple of hours to air out. You can even sprinkle baking soda on it to absorb odors.

  • If your pet bed isn’t the washable kind, air the bed out once per week. Sprinkle it with baking soda or another pet-safe odor eliminator and vacuum up before bringing it back inside.

  • If you don’t already have one, consider upgrading to a dog bed with a washable cover.

7. Air It Out

One of the best and least expensive ways to naturally get the dog smell out of your house is airing the house out. Open all your windows and doors that have screens. Of course, you’ll want to do this on a day when the temperatures aren’t too low. If you have any ceiling fans or floor fans, turn those on to get the air circulating.

8. Invest in an Air Purifier

A good-quality air purifier will help neutralize odors in your home and help keep the air fresh for humans, too. Good air purifiers remove some of that nearly invisible debris and dander pets leave behind. Make sure to look for one specifically designed to help remove pet odors.

9. Replace Your Air Filter

Be sure to replace HVAC filters in your home regularly. These are the filters that are part of your heating and air conditioning unit, and they can gather dust, pet hair, dander, and other debris. It’s a good idea to check your air filters regularly and if it looks dirty, replace them. For dog owners, this can be more frequent than homes that have no pets.

10. Groom Your Pup

A smelly dog equals a smelly home, and regular grooming is not only good for your nose, but it’s also good for your dog. Most veterinarians recommend bathing your dog every three months, though you may need to bathe them more frequently if they get incredibly muddy. It’s also a good idea to:

  • Brush your dog 2–3 times a week (outside, ideally) to remove excess dander and shedding fur.

  • Pat your dog lightly with baking soda for a “dry shampoo” in between baths.

11. Seal Off Odors

Dogs will be dogs, which means you may discover urine stains in places other than the floors. If you have an area in your home with a urine stain on the wall, you’ll want to address it as soon as possible.

  • Clean the surface.

  • In an extreme case, remove or patch the drywall.

  • Paint over the area with an odor-sealing paint or primer.

  • Repaint to match the wall’s original paint color.

12. Bust Out the Black Light

If you’ve tried all of the above and your home still has that lingering dog odor, there may be hidden stains. A black light will reveal all; it’s particularly handy if you have a strong dog smell in a new house. Black lights illuminate any area where there were liquids, most of which (like traces of drinks or cleaning fluids) will glow white. Urine, or saliva from things like vomit, will glow pale yellow or green.

13. Buy Yourself Some Flowers

While it’s important to clean carpets and dog beds, sometimes you may just need to mask the smell of your furry friend. Try fresh flowers, room sprays, and scented candles. Find a signature or seasonal scent and go with it. Pumpkin spice, anyone?

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