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How to Keep Your House from Smelling Like a Dog

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It’s no secret that dogs can often leave a smelly mess in their wake. Are you looking for ways to keep your house from smelling like a dog?

If you’re not careful, your entire house can start to smell like a kennel. Yuck!

This is particularly true if you have a large dog or several dogs (you know, Great Danes and all).

In this blog post, we will discuss tips on keeping your house from stinking up the neighborhood. Enjoy your big dogs AND your clean, fresh home once again. Read on, friends.

How to Keep Your House From Smelling Like a Dog

Start from Scratch

It’s best to start with a clean slate. If your house is already smelling like a dog, you’re going to have to do some deep cleaning.

This may include shampooing carpets, washing all of your bedding, and scrubbing down any areas where the dog spends a lot of time (think: their crate).

Let’s roll up those sleeves and get started!

How to keep your house from smelling like a dog

Surprising places that pet smells hang out

If you have a dog, chances are your house has at least a little bit of a doggy smell. It’s not necessarily bad (we love our pups, after all), but sometimes we need to take extra steps to ensure our homes are a dream to live in.

It’s time to grab your detective hat! Here are some surprising places that pet odors tend to fester in your home:

  • Carpets (Mud. Pee. The contents of your dog’s rejected meal.)
  • Baseboards (slobber. Did we say slobber?)
  • Drapes (hair…and more hair!!!)
  • Throw pillows (you know, the one Buster drools on in his sleep?)
  • Under furniture (ooooh, just think of all the missing treats, toys, and dust bunnies made of dog hair!)
  • Pet beds (this is a freebie! You know this one stinks)
  • The pet feeding area (blech. Nothing like the smell of kibble in the morning, eh?)

When is the last time these things were cleaned?

Start with something that is easy to do; toss your throw pillow covers in the wash. Buy a new bed for your dog. Vacuum and mop the pet feeding area and wash dog beds that have been around a while.

By starting small, you’ll notice positive changes and will be motivated to keep going!

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Have your Carpets Professionally Cleaned

If you are overwhelmed with pet funk in your home, it’s helpful to invest first in professional carpet cleaning! Textiles such as carpet, bedding, draperies, couches, and pillows harbor lingering scents.

Professional carpet cleaning is an effective solution to get started. This will help to remove the deep-set dog odor that has become embedded in your carpets over time, without destroying your carpet fibers.

When searching for a carpet cleaning company, be sure to ask about their pet odor removal services. You’ll want to find a team that is equipped to handle this. You may have to pay extra, but it’s worth it for you to start with fresh air and a clean slate.

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Shampoo your furniture to eliminate pet stench

You can choose to have this done professionally, or DIY with an at-home carpet shampooer. (See our favorite, the Hoover Smartwash HERE). If you opt to do it yourself, check our cleaning products section below for recommendations!

You’ll want to make two passes over each area- once for a pre-treatment and then again for the actual cleaning. This will help ensure all of the dirt, gunk, and smelliness is removed from your furniture.

We also highly recommend treating your furniture with a natural enzyme-based odor remover, to get rid of any residual dog smells. (See our favorite HERE)

Once you’ve done this, cover your couch! You can buy a variety of washable, waterproof pet blankets on Amazon that are comfy, cute, and washable. Tap on your favorites below to view!

whippet resting on couch near wall at home

Wash your baseboards

Baseboards are one of those things we know we should address once in a while but rarely do.

If you have pets, this should be moved to the top of your cleaning list! Baseboards are often where stinky pet hair and dander accumulate.

Many people also fail to notice dog pee on the baseboards! Get down on your hands and knees to check, or better yet, turn off the lights and use this blacklight (from Amazon) to see exactly where the dog smell is coming from.

To clean your baseboards, start by vacuuming them with the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner.

If there is any caked-on dirt or grime, use a Magic Eraser to easily scrub it away.

Finally, use an odor neutralizer such as Skout’s honor to take care of any residual pet odors.

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Tackle Scent at the Source

You can eliminate a lot of dog stink from your home by eliminating scent from the source.

That source being…your stinky DOG! Let’s dig in…

Wash and brush your dog on a regular basis

This one is a no-brainer. The cleaner your dog is, the less they will stink up your home. Pet dander is a leading culprit of stinky, dirty homes that have a musty dog smell!

Wash your dog with a gentle dog shampoo (we love this natural ‘Itchy Dog Shampoo’ from the Natural Dog Company) and brush their coat regularly to help distribute natural oils and remove shedding hair.

A happy bonus of regular baths and brushing is a healthy, shiny coat!

Pro-tip: don’t bath too often, however. Doing so can strip your dog of the natural oils they need to protect their own skin from allergens and irritants.

Daily brushing, however, with a Sleek-EZ is highly recommended. Most dogs LOVE being brushed with this tool. It will remove loose hair, dander, and dirt without stripping oils or damaging healthy hairs. This one is a Hello Danes Favorite!!! ⬇

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Launder bedding often

Dog beds suck up all of the stinky things that your dog is carrying around.

Every time your dog lays down, he brings with him any dirt, pollen, and allergens he’s encountered that day.

To keep your dog’s bed from becoming a stink magnet, launder it regularly. Most dog beds are machine washable: simply unzip the cover and wash (just check the tag to be sure).

Washing on a hot cycle with a small amount of detergent should do the trick! Air dry to prevent shrinkage.

If the foam inside of the pet bed stinks, treat it with Skout’s Honor Natural Enzymatic Pet Odor remover.

Boop the snoot below to see washable Big Barker Dog Beds:

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How to clean floors covered in paw prints

Mopping your floors is one of the best ways to eliminate stink, BUT, I bet you’re doing it wrong!

When you add a lot of soaps and chemicals to your mopping solution, you mop a layer of goop onto your floors. This will smell good for a short while, and then will literally TRAP the dirt, dust, and grime that your pet brings in.

This is the reason you may have noticed your floors always feel grimy, sticky, and stinky!

The best mops for homes with pets

To fix this problem, we recommend using a simple mixture of hot water and a small splash of vinegar in an O’Cedar Easy Wring Rinse Clean spin mop.

The acidity in the vinegar will break down all of the dirt, grime, and stink without leaving behind any residue, and the O’Cedar Rinse Clean mop makes sure that you only use clean solution, not dirty mop water on your floors.

If you’re not a fan of the smell of vinegar, add a few drops of essential oil to your mop bucket for a fresh scent.

You may have to mop your floors several times to remove all of the residual soap scum, but once you are down to truly clean floors again you are going to notice a massive difference.

Once the scum is removed, plain hot water should be all you need!

For daily use, the Bissell Crosswave Pet Electric mop is fantastic. It will mop and vacuum at the same time and works on tile floors, wood floors, and laminate, too!

This is a great solution for tackling areas where mud and food tend to be tracked around. I keep mine in the kitchen to clean up our everyday messes so my house stays clean.

housewife washing floor in contemporary kitchen with lamps

Tackle potty training issues

There is nothing worse than a dog peeing on your freshly cleaned home. If you are having potty training issues, there are a few things you can do to help your house horse (er, we mean giant breed dog) out.

Always check with your vet if there has been a sudden change in potty habits, as this can be a sign of a medical issue.

Assuming there are no health concerns, here are some tips:

-Take your dog out frequently, especially after they eat or drink, and give them plenty of time to do their business.

Use lots of positive reinforcement to encourage the correct behavior, and never scold your dog for indoor accidents. (Doing so can breed anxiety and worsen the problem).

-Use enzymatic cleaners such as Skout’s Honor or Rocco & Roxie to eliminate the odors that encourage dogs to mark

-Consider investing in belly bands or diapers as a temporary solution for dogs that are incontinent and cleared of other more serious medical issues.

Develop a Routine

Most people don’t love cleaning their homes. This is why developing a routine can help you keep things tidy enough that you never feel overwhelmed by dog odors again!

Make a relaxed cleaning schedule

While you wait for your coffee to brew, grab a damp microfiber cloth and wipe down door handles, cabinets, or counters (the Dane people KNOW what I’m saying here…) where dog slime tends to collect in your house. Or quickly brush your dog!

Keep a small handheld vacuum by your entryway. When you go to put your shoes on, take 30 seconds to suck up any dog hair, mud, or debris that has collected.

Set a timer for 15 minutes every day and use that time to clean one dog-stink spot. This can be as simple as throwing the dog bed into the wash, using a fur scraper on your couch, or running your Crosswave Mop on high traffic areas.

The key is to not overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much at once. Small changes add up over time, and before you know it you’ll be well on your way towards great habits and a healthy, clean house!

brown short coated dog sitting on brown wooden floor
Photo by Monica Silvestre on

Use a robot vacuum

A robot vacuum is a fantastic way to keep your floors clean with very little effort. It’s a game-changer for dog owners and well worth the investment!

We recommend the iRobot Roomba for homes with pets. This model is specifically designed to deal with pet hair and features powerful suction and tangle-free brushes.

It also has a self-emptying base, so you don’t have to do a thing! Your robot will run over to the base on its own, empty itself, recharge and start again on a schedule that you create.

Create small changes for significant impact

When addressing dog odor and stinky pet smell in your home, small changes can make a big difference.

Brushing your dog daily is something that takes just 5 minutes, but you’ll notice that your pet bedding and couch will be fresher, and stay that way longer!

You can also use a pet-specific vacuum attachment to help remove loose hair when you are actively cleaning, which can help keep dog smell at bay.

Wiping your dog’s paws after a walk will also go a long way in keeping your floors clean and free of mud and stink. Or better yet, use a MUDBUSTER! This handy device will remove dirt and mud from paws:

Tap your paw below to view this on Amazon ↓

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The Mudbuster for cleaning muddy, dirty paws!

Use Natural Cleaning Products

We recommend natural cleaning products, packaged without plastic whenever possible. This is especially important when you have pets in the home.

Why natural cleaning for dog owners matters!

Many traditional cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful or irritating to your furry friends.

When using any kind of cleaner, always make sure to read the label and follow the directions carefully.

Us humans tend to use WAY more liquid and powder cleaning solution than we need! You only need a small amount: if it says a capful, that’s what they mean.

One ‘traditional’ soap we highly recommend that dog owners use for tough jobs is Dawn Power Wash. This stuff is incredible and can be used to clean everything from greasy stoves to dog crates.

Our favorite cleaning products for dog owners

Some natural cleaners that we love for everyday use are:

  • Anything by the Grove Collaborative (plastic-free pledge!)
  • Dropps Detergent
  • Skout’s Honor Enzyme Cleaner
  • Baking Soda
  • White Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar

Are essential oils safe to use around dogs?

Some essential oils are actually dangerous to use around dogs.

Avoid using oils that contain phenols, such as eucalyptus oil, or citrus oils like lemon and orange. These can be toxic to dogs if ingested or applied in large quantities, and may even be toxic when diffused!

If you use any kind of oil in your essential oil diffuser, do so sparingly in open rooms with pet-safe oils only.

Tea Tree oil is a popular essential oil that is extremely toxic to pets. Do not listen to sales reps who say that it’s safe because it’s “therapeutic grade”! This is nothing more than dangerous marketing.

If you do choose to use oils around your home, make sure to diffuse them properly and never leave your dog unattended in a room with an active diffuser.

Remember that your dog has an incredible nose. If you are smelling and enjoying oils, your dog may likely feel absolutely suffocated by them.

Never diffuse essential oils when your dog is in a crate and cannot escape the smell.


Choose Washable Beds & Rugs for Your Dog

Every pet home should invest in washable textiles, which can help keep the home smelling fresh.

Our favorite washable dog beds for big dogs

There are two types of dog beds that we love for Great Danes.

The BIG BARKER orthopedic foam bed was built for large and giant breed dogs. It has a tough washable cover that holds up to heavy use, and the foam supports your dog’s joints! If you want to keep your home fresh, we recommend that you only invest in dog beds with removable covers.

Read our Big Barker Review HERE

We also recommend an elevated cot. This can be used for teaching the ‘place’ command so that your giant dog isn’t in the way during meals or when guests are arriving. This dog cot is well priced at under$60, and washable (just use some Dawn Powerwash, a scrubber, and your hose, then air dry!)

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A Great Dane on a Large Elevated Dog Cot topped with a Big Barker Dog Bed. Use one or both!

The best washable rugs

Washable rugs are a modern, pet-friendly solution that we love. Several companies now make them. They can be pricy, but keep in mind that they are washable and will last a long time!

Some come with a pad that you place on the floor first. The ‘cover’ (or washable part) is a very thin material that can be vacuumed normally or shaken out, washed, and replaced!

We put some work in for you and found a few favorites on Amazon ↓

Pet-Friendly furniture recommendations

Some furniture companies are doing amazing things for pet owners, going so far as to make entire sectionals that are completely washable with easily replaceable cushions!

Here are a few brands to consider:

Home Reserve

Lovesac Sactional

Interior Define


Door mats & paw washers for muddy days

Every dog home needs a good microfiber door mat to catch the mud and dirt before it gets into your house. Mud catcher mats are easy to wash and make a huge difference in the paw prints getting onto your floors!

We also recommend keeping a dog paw washer by the door for those extra muddy days. If you have a wet dog, use this microfiber towel to dry them off (before they roll all over your couch, yikes!).

You can find our favorite door mat HERE.

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Microfiber Door Mat Dirt Catcher – pet homes will love this

Clean up Urine Smells from your Carpet

It’s all about the protein

Have you ever noticed that urine smells come back, even though you thoroughly cleaned them?

It’s all about protein. Urine stains are full of it and it’s tough to destroy!

To remove the protein and ultimately the pee smell, you need to use an enzymatic cleaner. This will break down the proteins and eliminate the odor at the same time.

However, enzymatic cleaners don’t work well if you’ve already layered on 14 different soaps and scents trying to get the smell out.

Enter the urine-stain deep clean. Read on, dog lovers…

white and tan english bulldog lying on black rug

Deep clean urine out of your carpet

For your enzymatic cleaner to work (we recommend Skout’s Honor) you must first remove as MUCH urine and chemical residue as possible from the urine stain.

If the stain is old and you’ve been trying to get rid of it, the next step is to rinse rinse rinse.

Yeah, sorry. But you need to rinse the area with warm water several times. Do not use soap!

If you have a carpet cleaner, use it! If not, you can rent one from most hardware stores.

The goal here is to remove all of the soap, detergents, cleaners, and scents that had been applied before.

PRO TIP: If the stain is fresh, soak it up with a towel. Place something heavy (and washable) on the towel such as a stock pot with a few books in it and let it sit overnight. The weight will help wick the fresh urine out of the carpet.

Use the best products for eliminating urine smell

Once you’ve got a clean slate, all you should have left is the urine protein. Now you can apply your enzyme cleaner and let it do its magic!

We use and love Skout’s Honor and Rocco and Roxie.

Skout’s Honor is great for people who are sensitive to scents, as it has a VERY light fresh smell that is not overpowering.

Rocco and Roxie has an amazing earthy fresh smell that we love, but may be overpowering to some people.

Use the spray bottle to add enough cleaner to dampen the area.

Allow it to completely dry on its own. If you still have carpet odor after this, you may need to repeat the process again but you will be much closer to the goal!

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Rocco & Roxie Urine Odor and Stain Remover for Pet Carpets

What if enzyme cleaner doesn’t remove the pee smell?

Worst case scenario: there are times when the urine proteins have saturated the foundation of your floor below the carpet.

If this has happened, you will need to remove the carpet (trash it, sorry) and use a product like KILZ to paint over the stains on your subfloor. You may also have to replace your baseboards and paint your walls, too, depending on the extend of the damage.

KILZ primers are an odor-sealing paint that will also help kill bacteria that are festering in your flooring or on your walls. Bad smells, be gone!

If you want to keep your house from smelling like a dog, you need to be diligent about cleaning up any accidents as soon as they happen. Invest in a good washable dirt-catching door mat and enzymatic cleaner, and you’ll be well on your way to a fresh-smelling dog-friendly home!

Do you have any tips for keeping your home smelling fresh and clean? Share them with us in the comments below!

Happy Cleaning! 🙂

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

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