I have dogs.

Shocking, I know.

In fact, I have MANY dogs.

And my dogs live in my home. They lay on the furniture, they sleep in my bed, and during the day, I leave the front door open so they can play in the yard when they please.

In fact, as I type, there is a lab puppy playing the bitey face game with a Belgian Malinois in my living room, a border collie asleep at my feet, and another Malinois chewing happily on a bone on her dog bed.

Dogs are my life.

But be that as it may, just because they are my life, doesn’t mean my life has to smell like them.

The fact of the matter (unfortunately) is, dogs don’t always smell springtime fresh.

Lab Puppy Covered in Mud

Especially given the fact that I live in a place where it rains more often than not.

There will inevitably be days when they track mud through the house…

And days where they will have a wrestlefest in the wet grass and then rub up against my couch or walls…

And there will be days that I get muddy paw prints in places that I can’t fathom they’d be able to reach (dog owners who live in wet climates…I know you feel me on this one).

Around here, regular cleaning is not something I can skip.

And while I’m not always successful, I work hard at keeping my house smelling as dog-less as possible.

Because the last thing I want is for people to avoid coming over because they can’t take the dog odor that I’ve grown nose-blind to.

So here are my tried and true tips for keeping the dog odor out of your house…

And for cleaning up any smells that may have inadvertently taken up residency.

  1. Grab the baking soda – Baking soda is an AWESOME dog odor absorber. Not only that, but it’s ultra cheap and ultra safe. If your dog sleeps in your bed as mine does, next time you wash your linens, sprinkle a light dusting of the stuff on your mattress. Do it on your dog beds too, every time you take the cover off to wash them. Let the baking soda sit for about 15 minutes and then vacuum it up (don’t use a power nozzle or bagged vacuum as too much baking soda can be damaging – and be sure to clean your vacuum thoroughly and regularly to prevent baking soda build up). You can also do this on or under couch cushions if you have a fabric couch (mine is leather for easy cleaning). And as a bonus, after you’ve cleaned your couch, sprinkle baking soda under the cushions and leave it there so it can do its magic and prevent odors in between cleanings.
  2. Vinegar is your friend – One of my all-time favorite cleaners is distilled white vinegar. Again, it’s ultra cheap and ultra safe and it really gets the job done. If you’ve got hard floors, use a bit of vinegar to clean them. I use 1 cup per half a gallon of warm water. You can also combine 1 tbsp white vinegar and 1 tsp baking soda in a squirt bottle, and fill the rest with water. Spritz on your carpets, allow to dry and then vacuum away any dog odor that has taken hold.
  3. Watch your walls – Walls are a big source of dog smell. You might not see it, but walls get just as dusty as anything else in your home. And dog odor LOVES dust (if you’re not dusting weekly, do it – it’ll make a big dent on those tough to combat dog smells). When you dust your house each week, don’t neglect your walls. And periodically wash them with a solution of 1 cup vinegar, 2 tbsp of your favorite dish soap (I use Meyer’s brand bluebell – and truth be told, I just squeeze liberally into my vinegar solution) and a half gallon of warm water.
  4. Do your laundry – When you have dogs, washing bedding is non-negotiable (if you want to keep the dog smell down). Toss ½ cup distilled white vinegar into the wash to de-stink both your dog’s bedding and your own.
  5. Dryer sheets aren’t just for the dryer – Use dryer sheets around the house to tackle odors and give off a fresh but not overwhelming, headache inducing scent. Put dryer sheets under couch cushions, in drawers and inside of your pet’s bed to keep your house fresh and odor free.

Oh, and one more super simple, tried and true method for ditching the dog smell…

Open a window.

Letting the fresh air in will let the dog smell out. Not to mention, breathing fresh air is healthier for both you and your dog!

If you have dogs and you’re like me, you don’t want your life to smell like them. But ditching the dog smell doesn’t have to be a full-time job. In fact, with a little bit of consistent effort (consistent is the keyword), you can easily ditch the dog smell for good.

(Note: While baking soda and vinegar are generally fabric safe, it’s always best to test out any new cleaning solution on a small inconspicuous place before using)


Meagan Karnes
Meagan Karnes

Meagan has been training dogs professionally since 2002, most recently working with private security, military and law enforcement to provide K9s for high level applications. She owns both The Collared Scholar, an online dog training academy, and 690 Security Services, a company that trains and deploys Executive Security and Protection K9s to private customers. She recently partnered with both Average Frog and SM Leaders, who repurpose the proven performance principles of the Navy SEALs for individuals and organizations.

    3 replies to "5 Simple Tricks to Ditch the Dog Odor in Your Home"

    • Sarah

      These are wonderful tips but I feel the need to comment on the baking soda. Baking soda should never be vacuumed up. It is small enough to clog filters and get into the motor. Over time so much accumulates on the motor that it cannot cool itself.

      • Meagan Karnes

        Thanks! This is something I’ve done for ages without issue but I’m also cautious in keeping my vacuum clean. It appears that this can be a problem in cleaners with power nozzles, and those vacuums that don’t have complete seal technology – so great caveat! And I think where most people get themselves in trouble is using too much. All of that said, regardless of whether folks use baking soda/powdered carpet refreshers or not, proper cleaning and maintenance of all vacuums is required to keep them running smoothly! Thanks so much for your comment!

    • daniel

      Ok I know this sounds odd, but my tip would be to wipe their bum!! Seriously. You know how many dogs I see with poop on their butts fur. I wipe my dog each time and clean him up. Keeps him clean and no risk of poop spreading around the house or carpets. Any dog can be taught this. He is a german shepherd, and yes he lets me wipe his bum 🙂

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