Experts say these 6 products will get rid of dog odor in your house

It's hard to get rid of dog odor in your house. I spoke to vets and pet groomers to find out their tips and tricks for eliminating pungent smells indoors

Dog lying on sofa
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I love my dog like another member of my family, but the truth is that she smells. People with dogs either spend years acclimatizing to that distinctive dog smell, or they spend their days constantly battling it. I'm in the latter camp, always opening windows and washing bedding, so I decided to seek some expert advice on how to tackle that wet dog smell once and for all.

While investing in one of the best vacuums for pet hair will go some way to eliminating dog odors, it won't do it alone. There are lots of tricks that people with nice-smelling homes swear by. However, if you have a damp dog bounding round the house, it's much harder to keep your house smelling fresh. Even your best diffuser will need to overpower the lingering smell of dog.

There are plenty of home remedies, such as cleaning with vinegar and baking soda, but these haven't ever fully eradicated the persistent smell of dog in my home. Following the advice of vets and pet groomers, I've turned to wet vacuums, steamers, and air purifiers instead. 

There's a lot of different ways to tackle dog odor in your home, starting with your furry, four legged friend. I've grouped together six of the products that you need in your home to fully eradicate all dog smells. This is how the experts do it.

The Quick List

Dog odors can be ruff, so I've packed this article with the products and tips that experts shared with me. I've included some other product suggestions, so that you have options to choose between. However, if you can't wait to get to work on the dog smells in your home, here's a quick summary of the best products on the market.

1. Dog shampoos

a spaniel being washed with soap

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Without stating the blindingly obvious, if your house really smells of dog, you should make sure that you've washed it thoroughly. Katlin Primrose, professional pet groomer, told me 'many owners don't bathe their dogs correctly. When shampooing, your dog should be frothing with bubbles, head-to-toe. The only exception is the face, which you'll need to manually clean with your hands. Don't forget their teeth, bum, and groin too'.

The best shampoos for dogs won't irritate their skin. If you use human shampoo it will only make the smell worse. Look for products which are pH balanced, and gentle on the natural oils in your dog's coat. These are the best shampoos and conditioners on the market, recommended by experts.

Pet Groomer
Kaitlin Primrose
Pet Groomer
Kaitlin Primrose

Kaitlin is a professional dog groomer who works from home, so she knows a thing or two about getting rid of bad dog smells. She uses enzyme dog cleaners (which you'll see further down) and makes sure that every dog is properly cleaned.

2. A steamer

A dog on a rug

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Once you're dog is clean, the next place to tackle is fabrics. Dirt and hair can become embedded in cushions, carpets, and bedding, making them a source of pet smells. 

Before you start steaming, experts recommend that you clean your dog's bedding and toys with a pet-friendly detergent, we recommend this one from Walmart. Always air drying dog bedding after washing, because the sunlight helps to break down some of the bugs in the bedding and a light breeze will air out any smells too.

Once air dried, you can introduce your steam cleaner. Daniel Caughill, co-founder of The Dog Tale, called this his 'secret weapon' when combatting dog odor. You can use steam on your carpets as well as cushions, sofas, and your dog's bed. The heat helps to get rid of any bacteria and 'will break down the odors lurking in your home, especially the spots that your pet habitually returns to'.

We have tested a range of steam cleaners and mops in our homes. All of the ones which we recommend can be used on carpets and they have special attachments, so that you can use them on cushions and curtains too. Remember to always check that your materials are not synthetic before using a steamer.

Dog Expert
Daniel Caughill
Dog Expert
Daniel Caughill

Daniel is one of the founders of The Dog Tail, a site which supplies resources, answers, and products for dog owners. He has a team full of passion and dog-expertise, so he knows a thing or two about getting rid of dog smells.

3. A wet vacuum

VAX wet vacuum with a dog beside it

(Image credit: GettyImages)

We've all tried frantically vacuuming the house, trying to lift every last dog hair from our carpets. When I asked experts, they all recommended using the best vacuums for pet hair, especially if you use one which is compatible with scented cartridges like the SEBO

However, if these aren't doing enough for you, Veterinary Advisor Dr Cheri Honnas recommends taking your vacuuming to the next level. She says that ‘a wet vacuum is a fantastic investment. It can clean floor thoroughly, keeping those dog smells under control'. If you would like some ASMR, watch the water in your wet vacuum as it transforms from crystal clear to murky and brown. It’s both horrifying and satisfying.

Veterinary Advisor
Dr-Cheri-Honnas
Veterinary Advisor
Dr. Cheri Honnas

Cheri is a Veterinary Advisor to Bone Voyage Dog Rescue. She has been a doctor of Veterinary Medicine for over six years and has worked with animal sanctuaries worldwide. She says that this has given her amazing experience with dogs, but has also left behind some less pleasant olfactory reminders too.

4. Fabric cleaner and odor removers

room spray in a clear bottle

(Image credit: GettyImages)

With hundreds of fabric cleaners on the market, it can be hard to work out which is the most effective. I can tell you now it’s Nature’s Miracle. Almost every single expert I spoke with (and I spoke to 47 different people) recommended this.

Nature's miracle is designed to lift skunk odor from fabrics using a fast-acting formula, but it’s really effective for any accidents that your dog might have too. Dr Linda Simon, veterinary consultant, told me that the 'enzymatic cleaning chemicals in this spray target organic compounds common in urine, vomit, and faeces'. It’s safe for pets and leaves a fresh scent in your home. If you’re looking for a fast and low-cost option, this is where you should start.