If your dog smells, there’s a good chance your house has a lingering stench. As a dogsitter constantly surrounded by pups, I’m used to it. In fact, I was at a friend’s house lounging on their patio, and my friend apologized for the dog pee smell. “Why are you apologizing to Wendy?” her husband asked. “It would be weird if she wasn’t smelling dog pee.” He’s not wrong. Of course, I don’t just know dog smells, I know how to combat them!
Your smelly pup
The easiest way to keep your life dog-smell free is to keep your dog clean!
BATHING: How often you bathe your pup depends on breed, coat, skin condition and activity level. If you aren’t sure how often, ask your groomer. My sweet mutt got a weekly shower when we hiked every day. As an inside and outside dog, the frequent bathing was required if he also wanted to cuddle in my bed! Now that he’s 13, and a lot less active, he gets a bath about once a month.
EARS: Don’t forget to clean your dog’s ears! Use cleaner specifically made for this purpose. If you’re wiping out your dog’s ears, be very careful and don’t go into the ear canal.
BAD BREATH: Taking care of your dog’s teeth is mandatory if you want to be able to enjoy doggie kisses.
- Brush your pup’s teeth daily. If you’re not doing this now, it’s not too late to start. Take it slow, and start “brushing” with your finger. Once your dog is comfortable with that, add dog toothpaste to your finger. Once that’s going well, swap out your finger for a dog toothbrush. Use toothpaste specifically made for dogs, as human toothpaste may include ingredients that can be harmful to your pet.
- Keep water bowls clean and full. You can even purchase a water additive that helps with keeping your dog’s teeth clean. This has worked well for my dog — I just have to purchase the additive that has no taste. We humans might like minty freshness, but I haven’t found a dog that does!
- Dental chews are great because your dog helps keep his own teeth plaque-free. But keep an eye on your pup when he’s enjoying a chew. If you can’t be there to make sure he’s safe, take the chew away when you leave.
- See your vet. Your dog’s doctor will know when your pup needs to have his teeth professionally cleaned or if there is a medical problem causing the bad smell.
FLATULENCE: I realize it’s common to blame a rogue fart on the dog, but it’s good to try and stop it from happening if you can.
- If your dog is gassy, look at his food. You may need to change brands or proteins. Talk to your vet before making a change.
- If things get really bad or there’s a change in your dog’s flatulence level, see a vet. It could be a sign of a bigger issue.
- Visit a groomer and have your dog’s anal glands expressed. Believe me, you don’t want to do it. Leave that to the professionals.
Your smelly house
The key to a nice-smelling house is constant cleaning! Depending on your pup’s activity level, you may have to vacuum and dust anywhere between daily to weekly.
Wash everything. Seriously. If it’s safe to throw it in the washing machine, do it! Soft toys, dog (and human, if he shares with you) bedding and sofa covers are all items that can be washed in hot water weekly. If an accident happens, the faster you clean it up the better.
Invest in a rug/carpet cleaner. For best results, sprinkle baking soda over your rug, and wait 15 minutes before vacuuming up. Vacuum in a four-way pattern, up and down, sideways, diagonal one way, diagonal the other.
Pushing the fibers around and getting the dirt and grime from around them is key to a good smell. Next do the same four-way pattern with your rug cleaner using the machine’s soap mixture. Finally, finish off with one more four-way pattern of a 3-to-1 mixture of water and vinegar in the machine.
If your dog doesn’t see at is an evil creature, investing in an automated robot floor cleaner and/or vacuum is a great way to keep the floor from getting grimy. Get a model specifically made to combat animal fur, and empty it often.
When all else fails, cover the scent: Some-times that smell just isn’t going to go away. Your best bet is to cover it with something that smells better. The key to neutralizing the smell is to make sure what you are using is safe for your pet. Here are some options:
- Pet-safe scented candles. Place high enough that a rogue tail won’t take one out and burn down your house!
- Pet-safe room air neutralizers are a great thing to grab if your friend pulls up unannounced, and you know your house has a bit of a dog stench happening.
Thumbnail: Photography ©uplifted | Getty Images.
About the author
Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned dog sitter, which keeps her busy being a dog chauffeur, picking up poop and sacrificing her bed. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area. Learn more about them on Facebook at The Active Pack and on Instagram at @wnewell.
Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!