We undoubtedly love our dogs and want them to be comfortable in our homes with us, but we don’t necessarily want to have a stinky house!  There are tons of easy and effective non-toxic methods to get rid of dog smell in the house.

Before getting into how to get rid of dog smell, let’s first look at what are the causes of dog smell?

Why does your dog stink?

Causes for Dog Smell

Oily Skin

One of the most common sources for the distinctive dog smell in your home is oily skin. Natural oils, like with humans, helps keep a dog’s skin and coat healthy, but if the amount of oil that’s present is more than what’s called for, it can cause dog smell.

If your dog’s breed is not prone to naturally oily skin, then the oiliness may be caused by skin allergies and you’ll need to seek medical advice.


A dog controls their body temperature by panting and any part of their body covered in fur does not sweat, but they can perspire through their paw pads and hair follicles.  So that dog smell can be from sweating on hot days.

Ear Wax

You’ve probably noticed that your dog has fairly waxy ears.   Dogs have sebaceous glands which are responsible for wax production.  Ear wax does not smell, but all those lovely little microorganisms that live off the ear wax do.  If your dog’s stink is of the yeasty kind, then check your dog’s ears for excessive ear wax. I treat any internal ear inflammation with Zymox which can clear up inflammation in a few days.

How to Get Rid of Dog Smell on the Furniture

One easy way to not have stinky furniture is to not let the dogs on the furniture.  

Right…. Keeping the beast(s) off the furniture is a full-time job.

You might win the battle by offering them an amazing alternative.  Consider investing in a good and comfortable orthopedic bed for the dog(s).  You have lots of choices when looking at orthopedic dog beds. Since we have multiple beds all over the house we did an affordable orthopedic dog bed that has a removable cover that can be washed.  The large size orthopedic bed is $109 and the x-large size orthopedic bed is $169.

orthopedic dog bed with removable cover

If you want an exceptionally 7″ orthopedic dog bed with a 10-year warranty, then consider a Big Barker Bed.

If your dog still prefers the couch, then a washable couch cover might be a great investment.  Yes, a blanket or comforter can do the job, but a couch cover is typically designed specifically to cover the couch, quilted and has a strap that holds the cover in place.

If your couch and house already has dog smell, then you’ll need to clean it professionally or Do-It-Yourself.

Thoroughly vacuum the couch and pillows, then generously spray distilled vinegar all over the couch cushions, side arms and pillows.   I promise that your couch will not stink like vinegar.  The distilled vinegar is actually pulling the smell out of the fabric.  Let the vinegar do it’s job for 30 to 45 minutes, and then you’ll generously sprinkle baking soda (which is now conveniently available in a shaker) everywhere you sprayed the distilled vinegar.  Let the baking soda sit for another 20 to 30 minutes and then vacuum the baking soda up.

You might not get all the baking soda up but neither the vinegar or baking soda will do any harm to people or pets.  It will eventually dissipate.


How to Get Rid of Dog Smell in your House

1. Clean your home regularly

Chances are you’re probably already doing this, but you might need to improve the tools and materials you use to get rid of the dog smell properly.

I upped my cleaning game with the introduction of a steam cleaner.  I do believe this was a game changer that won the stink battle.  You can clean just about any surface with a steam cleaner.
steam cleaner
A good Keep the Dog Smell At Bay Cleaning Strategy includes:

  • vacuuming at least 2x a week
  • sweep hard surfaces daily
  • use a distilled vinegar, lemon juice and water solution to mop floors  (3 parts water to 1 part vinegar with some fresh lemon juice to reduce the strong vinegar smell)
  • clean and deodorizer your furniture monthly
  • generously sprinkle baking soda on carpets, furniture and mattresses; if possibly, leave overnight and then vacuum up
  • deep clean carpets monthly

2. Wash bedding, couch covers, pillow covers and/or blankets that your dog hangs out on

If you allow your dog on the couch or your bed, then you’ll need to regularly clean the material/fabric in order to re-mediate the dog smell.

  • change and wash your sheets and comforter weekly
  • wash your dog’s bedding weekly
  • add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar to the wash as a great non-toxic cleaner that kills bacteria

3. Clean your dog’s crate

If your dog has a crate, it’s best if you clean it every two weeks or so.  You can use the same distilled vinegar, lemon juice and water mixture to safely clean any surfaces of your dog’s crate.

If your dog happens to make any messes like vomit, poop or urine, then you’ll want to immediately clean this up.  You don’t want your dog to sit in it or have it dry into a rug or carpet.

4. Air the house

It’s always a good thing to get some fresh air flowing through the house.  Open your windows as often as possible to let so air in and to release the stale air out.

5. Consider improving the air quality with an air purifier

You can generally improve the air quality by having an air purifier(s).  You’ll need to make sure you are also following the manufacturer’s suggested schedule for changing filters.  We’ve seen a big difference with the dog smell and allergens (which are a huge problem for Central Texas folks) when we added multiple air purifiers to our home.

6. Regularly Deodorize, Use Air Fresheners and Candles

I enjoy having a fresh smelling house so I regularly burn soy candle,  diffuse essential oils and sprinkle a non-toxic deodorizer on the carpets and furniture.  I make my own deodorizer.  I use a two ingredient deodorizer (because I want to know what goes into it) of baking powder and my favorite essential oil.  Combine 2 cups of baking soda and 10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential oil.  Sprinkle generously on the carpets and furniture.  Let stand for 30 – 45 minutest and vacuum.

How to Get Rid of Dog Smell from the Source

So I have given you some ideas to remove the dog smell from you house, but the best way to prevent dog smell is to be proactive by bathing your dog regularly.  So not to dry your dog’s skin out, you should only bathe you dog every three to four weeks.   You might want to come up with a ritual that both you and your dog love so this doesn’t have to be a daunting and stressful task.  In our haus, Josh gets a nice meaty beef neck bone before a bath.  He gets all nice and dirty chewing on his bone in the backyard.

1. Bathe your dog properly

Aside from regularly bathing your dog, it’s good practice to do it properly.  Is there a “proper” way of bathing a dog?


  • look for any obvious causes of stink like stuck feces, dirt, ear wax
  • use a good dog shampoo made of all natural ingredients.  Dog shampoos are lower in pH while human shampoos are higher in pH.  Using a human shampoo will dry your dog’s skin out.
  • bathe your dog thoroughly with special attention to any problem areas, their ears, tails, between their toes
  • lather up your dog avoiding their eyes
  • rinse
  • rinse
  • rinse some more
  • pay special attention to drying and cleaning out your dog’s ear

A huge emphasis here is on thoroughly rinsing your dog.  You’ll want to make sure you don’t leave any shampoo on your dog because if you do, it will irritate your dog’s skin and cause more oiliness and more dog smell.

2. Dry your dog thoroughly

Once a dog has gotten wet from either a bath, swim in the lake/pool or rain shower, you’ll have to do a good job of getting him/her dry every time in order to keep the dog smell at bay.

  • use clean towels to dry your dog
  • rub in all directions: back and forth, up and down, and all around
  • use more than one towel
  • use a blow dryer on the coolest setting as needed

We found a dog shammy that has pockets for your hands that does an amazing and efficient drying job.  It the Soggy Doggy Dog Towel.

Drying your dog completely and thoroughly is advised because bacteria loves a wet dog’s fur… and does an awesome job of make dog smell.

3. Treat any medical issues

Of course treating any allergies that can cause oily skin is always recommended.

I hope you’ve found the information in this post helpful.  Having a dog apart of your life and lifestyle is awesome, so dealing with the stink is a pretty good trade off for a loving and loyal companion.  Let me know what issues you want to hear more about.

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links that I might receive a commission from but at no extra cost to you.