Nose Blind? How To Get Rid Of That Lingering Dog Odor In Your House


The unmistakable stench permeates the air as soon as you walk through the front door. You crinkle your nose and sigh, realizing your home smells like dog…again. No matter how often you clean, that distinctive odor seems impossible to eliminate. Sound familiar? Most pet owners struggle with lingering odors despite their best efforts to keep their homes smelling fresh.

While it’s comforting having your furry friend by your side, most people don’t enjoy living in a space that reeks of pet. Persistent odors can diminish your quality of life and even jeopardize your health if ammonia levels rise from urine. Additionally, pet smells drastically decrease your home’s value if you look to sell. No prospective buyer wants to purchase a house saturated in dog.

Though challenging, banishing problematic pet odors is possible with the right techniques and a diligent cleaning regimen. This guide covers common causes of lingering dog smells and provides helpful tips to freshen up your home.

Why Does My House Smell Like Dog?

Dogs naturally produce odors that can permeate a home in various ways. Common sources of dog smells in a house include:

Fur and skin – Dogs have natural oils in their fur that can create a musky scent, especially if the fur gets wet. Odor-causing bacteria and yeast also live on a dog’s skin and can make them smelly if they have skin conditions. Regular grooming and bathing can help reduce odors from fur and skin (AKC).

woman bathing smelly dog with shampoo

Saliva and breath – Bad breath is common in dogs and can contribute a foul odor. Drool and licking can spread the smell from a dog’s mouth onto surfaces. Dental care products like toothbrushing, water additives, and dental treats can freshen a dog’s breath.

Accidents – Urine and feces accidents inside the home create strong odors. Pet waste contains ammonia and other smelly chemicals. Properly cleaning soiled areas is crucial to eliminating odors from accidents. Enzymatic cleaners that break down waste are most effective.

Problems Caused by Lingering Pet Odors

Having lingering pet odors in your home can cause a number of problems. One issue many pet owners face is guests noticing unpleasant smells when they visit. This can be embarrassing and make hosts feel self-conscious. According to experts, pet odors can significantly decrease a home’s resale value as well. Home buyers are often turned off by lingering scents from pets, especially cat urine, which can be difficult to eliminate entirely (Source).

More importantly, pet odors left unchecked can negatively impact health. The ammonia in urine can cause nose, throat, and lung irritation when inhaled over time. Studies show it can also lead to more serious respiratory issues like asthma (Source). Prolonged exposure to pet waste odors may increase risks for certain cancers too. It’s crucial to regularly clean and deodorize areas where pets spend time.

Best Ways to Eliminate Dog Smells

There are many effective tactics for eliminating dog odors in your home. One of the best ways is to bathe your dog regularly using shampoos formulated for pets that help neutralize odors and leave your dog smelling fresh. Grooming your dog by brushing and combing their coat will also help minimize shedding and dander that can lead to lingering smells.

Using an air purifier or filter designed specifically for pet owners can help trap dander, hair and other allergens that cause odors. The Arm & Hammer Air Purifier uses an Arm & Hammer baking soda filter to absorb odors instead of just masking them. This can be a great solution for keeping the air fresh in rooms your dog spends the most time in.

You can also consider using deodorizers and odor neutralizing sprays formulated for pets between full cleanings. Products like Angry Orange work at the molecular level to eliminate odors instead of just covering them up.

Cleaning Products that Target Pet Odors

There are several cleaning products specifically designed to help eliminate tough pet odors.

using enzyme cleaner to remove pet stains

Enzyme cleaners are an effective option for tackling urine, feces, and vomit stains. Enzymes work to break down the organic matter causing odors at a molecular level. Popular enzyme cleaners like Nature’s Miracle and Bissell Pet Stain and Odor Remover are formulated to destroy stubborn pet odors.

Vinegar is a natural deodorizer that can help freshen your home. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray on areas that need deodorizing. The acidic properties of vinegar help neutralize odor molecules. Let the vinegar solution sit for a few minutes before wiping up.

Baking soda is another household staple that can absorb odors. Sprinkle it on carpets, pet beds, furniture or anywhere smells linger. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes before vacuuming up. The tiny granules help trap odor molecules.

The Importance of Regular Cleaning

One of the most effective ways to prevent your home from smelling like dog is to stick to a regular cleaning routine. Frequently washing your dog’s bedding, vacuuming floors and furniture, and immediately cleaning any accidents is key to preventing odors from building up over time.

It’s recommended to wash your dog’s bed and any blankets at least once a week, or more often if your dog sleeps with you. Bathing your dog regularly will also cut down on “doggy” odors lingering on their coat and transferring around the house. Vacuuming twice a week, especially carpets, upholstery, and anywhere your dog likes to lounge will pick up hair, dander and other debris before it gets ground in.

Accidents should be cleaned up immediately with an enzymatic cleaner formulated to neutralize odors. Letting the mess sit gives odors a chance to sink into floors, carpets and pads underneath. Quick clean up is the best way to prevent lingering odors.

Sticking to a routine cleaning schedule prevents dirt, hair and odors from building up over time. Frequent washing, vacuuming and cleaning up after your dog is key to maintaining a fresh smelling home.

Controlling Odors with Air Purifiers

Air purifiers are an excellent way to eliminate lingering pet odors in your home. Air purifiers are designed to filter out airborne particulates such as pet dander, dust, and pollutants. Look for air purifiers that use a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, which can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns with 99.97% efficiency1. This includes most sources of pet odors. Activated charcoal filters are also beneficial, as they adsorb gases and odors from the air2. The combination of HEPA and activated charcoal filtration provides maximum odor elimination. When shopping for an air purifier, look at the clean air delivery rate (CADR) for odors specifically. The higher the number, the more effective it will be against pet smells. Position air purifiers near litter boxes, dog beds, and other problem areas to keep the air fresh.

woman vacuuming carpet to eliminate pet hair

Household Hacks for Freshening Up

Using baking soda as an odor absorber is one of the simplest DIY solutions for freshening up rooms that smell like dog. Simply place open boxes of baking soda in problem areas around your home. According to Filtrete, baking soda naturally absorbs odors. The boxes can be discreetly tucked under furniture, placed in closets, set on shelves, or anywhere else smells tend to linger.

baking soda boxes absorbing odors

For a stronger odor-fighting capacity, make homemade baking soda air fresheners. Place baking soda in a shallow dish and add 5-10 drops of essential oil, such as lemon or lavender, for a fresh scent. Stir the mixture until the oil is absorbed. You can then set out the baking soda dish or transfer portions into small open containers to place around your home.

Empty vacuum bags and fabric softener sheets can also be repurposed as DIY odor absorbers. Place either item in a small open container and set it out in rooms where smells are a problem.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you’ve tried all the DIY solutions but your home still retains a lingering dog odor, it may be time to call in a professional. Set-in odors that have permeated deep into carpets, floors, and furniture often require industrial-strength treatments and equipment to fully eliminate.

Look for a professional carpet cleaning service that specializes in pet odor removal. Many companies use truck-mounted extraction systems and commercial-grade cleaners and deodorizers to deep clean carpets and destroy stubborn odors. Some also offer urine contamination testing to find all affected areas.

Expect to pay anywhere from $100-200 to have a professional service treat each affected room. This is well worth it to permanently erase embedded odors that DIY solutions can’t touch. Make sure to explain the odor issues in detail so they can devote ample time to treating the most problematic areas.

For severe pet odor problems, you may need repeat treatments over several service visits to fully purify the air and fabrics. An investment in professional pet odor removal can restore your home’s freshness and resale value.


In summary, lingering dog odors in your home can be an annoying and difficult problem to solve. The smell can permeate furniture, carpets, drapes and even the walls over time. Getting rid of pet smells requires diligent cleaning routines using products that specifically target the source of odors – things like enzymatic cleaners and vinegar can break down wastes and eliminate odors. Equally important is maintaining cleanliness through regular vacuuming, washing of bedding, and grooming of pets. Air purifiers and household hacks like baking soda can provide additional freshening in between deeper cleanings.

Controlling dog odors should be a priority not just for your own comfort, but also for preserving your home’s resale value. Home buyers are turned off by lingering pet smells, so make sure to thoroughly eliminate odors if you plan to put your house on the market. With consistent effort using the right cleaning techniques and products, you can keep your home smelling fresh.

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