4 min read


Why Do Dogs Make Your House Smell



4 min read


Why Do Dogs Make Your House Smell




You may have noticed that dogs have a distinct smell. This smell is not always pleasant and can be rather pungent. In fact, it smells like dog; that is the best way to describe it. Which gets you to thinking, have you ever been just a little bit curious about why your pooch makes the whole house smell like dog? Is there a good way to prevent this smell? The majority of us do not like to come home to a house that smells distinctly of canine, or maybe you do? Let’s explore what causes that 'mutt' smell and see if it leads to any solutions to this smelly problem.

The Root of the Behavior

First of all, it’s natural for your dog to have some odor to them. Even humans have their own personal scent. For example, female dogs in estrus (also called heat) can release pheromones that attract other dogs. Humans have pheromones that help us to attract a partner, as well. There’s not much difference there. It ’s also important to mention that dogs secrete an oil that protects their skin and fur allowing them to stay healthy. These natural oils usually have somewhat of a personal scent that is unique to your pet. Another part of the reason dogs are inclined to have this strong, musky odor is a result of their anal sacs and scent glands. These glands often give off a yeasty smell. Most of the time humans won’t notice this smell, however, it is like your dog’s ‘calling card’ to other dogs. Have you ever smelled yourself after you worked out at the gym? Your body gives off an odor due to your perspiration. Well, did you know dogs sweat, too? They don’t have watery, dripping sweat as humans do. Yet, they do sweat in their paws and through their fur, which has an odor to it. Dogs can then track this smell through the house by walking about or rolling on the carpet. This leads to your home smelling like wet dog.

Another cause of dog odor can be due to skin issues, dental problems, bacteria, or ear infections. These infections can have bacteria or fungi that may give off a bad order. If you think this is the reason behind your canine’s smell, consult your vet for further instructions. You may even want to plan a visit. Improper grooming can be another issue that relates to your dog’s odor. By giving your dog regular baths, brushing the coat, and properly grooming other areas, you can help eliminate this issue. The saying goes, "you are what you eat" and when it comes to odors, this is entirely true. Your dog’s diet might also be an underlying cause of the stinkiness. Dog food typically contains a lot of grains. When your dog is consuming large amounts of starches and fatty acids, which is the norm in foods primarily made of grain, this can cause issues such as dry, flaky skin which leads to a prime environment for bacteria to grow.

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Encouraging the Behavior

There really are only three main solutions to a smelly dog and a smelly house. First, be sure you are grooming your dog properly. You can also remedy this by taking your dog to routine visits at your local pet groomer. Next, look into cleaning your home and deodorizing it. Baking soda is great for getting odors out of carpets. Sprinkle a little bit on your carpet before you vacuum. You may also want to invest in a good air purifier that will help eliminate odors.

If the smell is not a grooming issue, you should schedule a visit with your vet to make sure that there is not a medical concern. Bacteria can easily grow on your dog's skin, in the ears, or in other areas. A quick checkup will ensure your pet’s overall health. Reducing the smell may be just a matter of your pup taking an antibiotic. 

Make sure your home is well ventilated. You can do this by opening windows and turning on fans. This will help to reduce unwanted smells. Lastly, odors stick to fabrics. So, wash your cushions, bedding, curtains, and chair slipcovers routinely. This will get the odor out so that your house is smelling fresh and clean.

Other Solutions and Considerations

Keep in mind that most air fresheners will only mask the smell of dog in your home. Over time, the smells will come back if not properly taken care of. It is better to ditch the scented sprays altogether. The best way to get rid of the smell is to practice good grooming skills with your pet and up your cleaning game. Also, be sure to check with your veterinarian for odor eliminating shampoo. There are shampoos on the market that will really aid in this situation. If you are unsure of what to buy, ask the vet for recommendations.


A house that smells like your beloved dog can be a nuisance, but with proper care and health maintenance, you can greatly reduce the problem. Keep in mind though, that you will not be able to eliminate the smell entirely, some of it is just due to your pet's chemistry and can’t be avoided.

By a Newfoundland lover Billie Raucci

Published: 03/02/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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