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How to Get Rid of That Dog Smell

Aren’t dogs the cutest pets ever? Not only are they furry and adorable, but they’re also an absolute delight in your home! They’re excited from the moment you walk through the door. That’s not to say you’re always quite so pleased to see them. Not when that dog smell hits you as soon as you get home or in the car. It’s enough to put some would-be owners off entirely.

But you shouldn’t be deterred. Owning a dog is a life-changing experience, and whilst dog smells can be tough to treat, we’ve got some tried and tested solutions. These tips are guaranteed to leave your home (or car) smelling fresh and clean.

Let’s dive in.

What’s causing the dog smell?

First up, why does your dog smell so bad anyway?

There are tons of potential causes, including bad breath, flatulence, feces, and, of course, the classic wet dog smell. The latter is triggered by all the mud, dirt, and bacteria clogging up your dog’s once lustrous fur. Before you know it, your dogs paraded through the house, rubbing the smell everywhere. It’s a homeowner’s nightmare. 

So, what’s the solution?

Treating oily dog skin

Dogs can also smell from atopy: also known as oily skin. Here, dogs overproduce skin oils due to an allergy that causes inflammation. The result: a stink that will permeate your entire home. Indeed, if your dog suffers from atopy, the oil won’t just stick to their coat. Instead, as your dog lounges all day, they’re rubbing the oil into every surface and fabric they come across… beds, sofas, car seats, and carpets – nowhere is safe. 

But, don’t despair. By regularly brushing your dog’s coat at least once a day, you remove all the dead hair and oil build-up. It’ll reduce the smell and ease your dog’s discomfort. 

Toning down their glands

Like a gangster marking their territory with graffiti, dogs establish their domain through smell. Any dog walking through quickly knows who’s the top dog around there. 

And as any good dog owner can tell you, dogs mark their territory with their pee. Lovely. But they also excrete it constantly through their glands, located near their anus. That means it’s continually seeping into your furniture, giving your home a musty dog smell. 

If your dog isn’t excreting their musk, its glands may be blocked. In such cases, a professional can clean and express the glands, removing any excess build-up.

As for reducing the smell, you’ll want to clean your home thoroughly – more on that later.

Bacteria and yeast: a dog’s best friend

Dogs might be man’s best friend, but theirs might be bacteria and yeast. When their coats become drenched down the local park, bacteria get breeding. Before you know it, the smell is eye-watering… and everywhere! 

That’s why it’s so important to rinse your dog off after bathing or swimming thoroughly. Fail to remove enough moisture, and the bacteria will naturally begin to breed.

Meanwhile, in the dog’s ears, yeast grows virulently amongst the wax and oils. Not only does this increase the risk of infection, but the smell is also rancid. This is a hard problem to tackle. But most vets and groomers will be able to treat yeasty ears. 

Should I clean my dog?

Of course, all owners clean their dogs. When you do so, make sure to use a gentle dog-specific shampoo. Get their whole body wet in a bath. Then, starting from the back legs, work the shampoo into the entirety of their body. Don’t miss a spot, or that smell will persist. Make sure to clean your dog’s ears: only use wipes, mineral oils, or specialist ear cleaners. 

Finally, give your dog a good rinse down, dry them, then brush their coat.

However, whilst it’s vital to regularly wash your dog, doing so too often can harm them. Bathing frequency changes depending on the type of dog. If in doubt, just trust your nose. If your dog smells, they need a bath!

Bad breath

This one is a little tricky. Bad breath is caused by the build-up of tartar and plaque around the teeth. While it’s advised that you brush your dog’s teeth daily or at least a few times a week, that’s easier said than done.

Is there a simple solution?

We think so. Try ordering one of our Woof Crates! Inside you’ll find lots of chews, specifically chosen to improve your dog’s oral hygiene. That will help supplement your dog’s standard oral hygiene routine – and fix their smelly breath in the process.

How to clean the dog smell from your home

Battling the dog smell in your home often seems like a losing battle. Several tips can radically reduce the odor, however. 

  1. Baking soda. Not only useful for getting cakes to rise, baking soda also has amazing odor-neutralizing properties. Sprinkle a little baking soda in an affected area or on carpets and fabrics, then wait for half an hour (or overnight for especially tough odors). Finally, hover it up and notice how the smell vanishes. If you don’t have baking soda to hand, kitty litter is also phenomenal at odor absorption. 
  2. Apple cider vinegar. You’ll need apple cider vinegar, water, and a spray bottle. Mix one part apple cider vinegar to three parts water. Then, spray on the affected fabric – carpets, cushions, sofas – and give it a good scrub using a rag. After a few hours, the smell should dissipate. Apple cider vinegar is particularly good for dog urine smells.
  3. Take note of affected areas. Dogs enjoy a daily routine. Like people, they have their favorite spots to lounge and relax. Noting the areas where odors are strongest can help tackle the smells before they spread through your house. It also means you don’t need to do a deep clean every few days. 
  4. Use enzymatic cleaners. Sometimes standard cleaners just don’t cut it. We recommend using an enzymatic cleaner, as it more readily breaks down any and all dog smells. There are tons of brand names available on the market.

Final thoughts

Yes, dogs smell. But isn’t that part of why we love them? They’re curious creatures getting up to all manner of mischief. Like small children, they find themselves poking their noses into unwanted places or rolling around in the mud every day. 

It’s enough to exasperate most owners.

However, you can keep on top of the odors with a cleaning routine – for house and dog. Just remember some of our key tips. Oh, and not every smell is normal. If your dog seems to consistently give off a bad odor no matter what you do, make sure to check for any underlying health conditions.

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