How to Get Rid of Dog Smell (Vet’s Advice)

Owning a dog brings with it a lot of pleasures. Having a companion to keep you company is priceless. However, there are some downsides, especially for those who are particularly house-proud, and one of the main ones is the smell that owning a dog might bring to your home. Perhaps they accidentally peed on the carpet, but even general dog smell can feel like something you’re constantly battling against. So, what tips and tricks are there get rid of dog smell?

How to get rid of my dog’s smell

Firstly, it is important to remember that — although dogs do have a general smell which would worsen if they are wet or dirty — an unexplained change in their smell could indicate that something is wrong. If you’ve noticed an unusual or unpleasant smell around your dog, it could be a sign of a urine infection, bad teeth, a skin infection, or even full anal glands. Speak to your veterinarian if you notice a new smell from your dog, as there may be a simple cure.

How to get rid of my dog’s smell in the house & car

Soft furnishings and carpets, in the house as well as the car, can hold on to odors, making it tricky to get them smelling fresh again. For the best chance of getting rid of dog smell from your car or home, vacuum regularly and put all removable soft furnishings through the wash routinely. Another key tactic is to increase ventilation. Opening all available windows and doors will allow fresh air to circulate. Air fresheners and other scented items can then be used to cover the smell, but always check that they are pet-safe as many products can irritate the airways or cause allergic reactions.

How to get rid of my dog’s smell in the carpet

Getting rid of dog smells in carpet can be difficult, especially since you can’t put them in the wash! Specific areas of carpet that have been dirtied with dog urine, vomit, or poo should be treated methodically. Firstly, remove any solids and absorb as much excess as possible with a paper towel. Bicarbonate of soda or biological cleaners can help to absorb or break down smells and stains but be sure to test on a small, less visible area first so that you don’t cause damage to the carpet.

It can be tempting to use powder carpet fresheners or chemical carpet cleaners. Whilst some of these products are branded as pet-safe, bear in mind that dogs can be sensitive to any chemical substance, so watch out for a skin rash, coughing or sneezing. Ensuring you keep your dog out of the room while using the product and ventilating the area well before allowing them back in would be sensible. If you’re not sure whether to use a product, or you think your dog may be having a reaction to a cleaning product you’ve used, always speak to your veterinarian.

How to get rid of dog urine smell

If your dog has an accident in your home or car, even after cleaning the visible stain, the urine smell can linger. So, how do you get rid of the dog pee smell? Once the area is visibly clean, with any liquid absorbed, leaving bicarbonate of soda on the area for 12 to 24 hours before vacuuming it off should help to absorb and neutralize the odor. If the item that has been peed on is mobile and able to fit in the washing machine, then putting it through an appropriate wash cycle (ensuring to check the label) will help to get rid of any remaining urine smell. Particularly stubborn smells may require a pet-safe enzymatic or biological odor remover.

Tips for washing dogs

  • Get your dog used to bathing as early as you can. Getting them used to having their paws washed and getting them into the bath or shower from a young age will help to make your life easier in the long run!


  • Ask your veterinarian or veterinary technician for their recommendation for a shampoo that will suit your dog. There are many options available to suit different skin and coat types.


  • Although your dog will definitely need a bath after a particularly muddy walk, a swim, or that time when they decide to roll in fox poo, too frequent bathing can change the skin’s pH and remove the normal yeast and bacteria that keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. Washing just the dirty areas, rather than the whole dog will help to keep them fresh without disrupting the skin too much.


  • Beware that dogs can react to any chemical, even milder ones. Baby shampoos or other mild human shampoos are often recommended for dogs, but they still have the potential to cause a rash or irritation.


  • Have a few towels ready to get them as dry as you can after the bath. A clear route to outside space or a tiled floor will stop your furry friend from getting your furniture and carpets damp as they dry!

Having dog smell in your home is often frustrating and a source of embarrassment but remember that a lot of cleaning products can be harmful to dogs. Always check with your veterinarian if you are unsure whether a product is safe. With the right methods, you can still have a clean, odor-free home as well as a happy and healthy dog.

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