Our love for our pets is undeniable. Our love for the particular smell that comes with them? Not so much.
Most of us let our dogs wander our homes as we please; after all, it is their home, too! However, sometimes their smell permeates everything, the carpet in particular. In fact, that distinct dog smell may linger well after they’ve moved to explore another room.
Nose Blindness is a real thing! You may not be able to smell your own house unless you come back from a lengthy trip. The scientific explanation is that your nose and your brain work together to determine whether a smell is a threat to you. If it’s not, your smell receptors are essentially shut off, which is why even particularly strong smells don’t seem quite as intense after a few minutes of exposure.
It’s very likely that you could be living with unpleasant dog odors and not fully realize that they’re an issue. However, if you have company over, they will be sure to notice.
Why Do Dogs Make Your House Smell in the First Place?
Obviously, none of us expect our dogs to smell like roses; even humans have a personal scent as well!
However, dogs specifically secrete oils that protect their skin and fur. These natural oils are what give your pet their special smell. Their scent glands give off a particular smell that functions as a “calling-card” to other dogs as well.
Dogs sweat as well! Not the dripping sweat that we associate with humans–they sweat through their paws. Your pet can then track through the house and spread the odor, leaving your house smelling like a wet dog.
Poor grooming can be another culprit of the lingering odor. Giving your dog regular baths, brushing their fur, and grooming other areas of your pet can be a way to help eliminate the source of the smell entirely.
Beyond that, the sentiment that “you are what you eat” extends past humans! Your dog’s diet may be the culprit behind the strong odor. Many brands of dog food contain high levels of grains. When your dog is consuming a lot starches and fatty acids, skin issues may arise. Having dry, flaky skin serves as a prime environment for bacteria to grow.
Moreover, skin, dental, bacterial, or ear infections can all cause your pet to give off and distribute a bad odor throughout your home. Consider paying a visit to your vet to address the issue and ensure that it isn’t a factor of any underlying health concerns.
Start by Vacuuming All Carpeted Areas
Your carpet can hold an incredible amount of dust, hair, and danger, so you’ll want to begin the odor-removing process by vacuuming every square inch of your home, including any area rugs that you may have. You may want to consider using a vacuum that was designed specifically with pets in mind. Always empty out the canister (if present) and clean or change the air filters to ensure that your vacuum is operating at peak efficiency to do the best job at helping to eliminate anything within your carpets that may be contributing to the stench. It’s important to vacuum on a frequent, regular basis if you believe that any excessive shedding may be to blame for the lingering dog smell.
Use a Black Light to Find the Source(s) of the Odor
Everyone knows that when dogs and carpet coexist, urine odors may be an issue. If you can’t pinpoint the exact source of the stench, walk through carpeted rooms with a handheld black light after dusk with all of the lights turned off. The black light will reveal any urine spots and potential problem areas that need extra attention and spot cleaning.
This will also help you spot any carpet stains that seem to be recurring in one specific area. Knowing if the stains are isolated within a particular room can help you correct the behavior coming from your pet. However, if the issue seems to be more widespread through your home, you may need to look into more extensive treatment options.
Sprinkle baking soda around the affected areas while using a cleaning brush to spread it throughout the carpet. Let the baking soda sit overnight so it has a chance to effectively absorb all of the odors. Vacuum your carpet thoroughly the following day to clean up the baking soda and any dog hair that may have been helping to emphasize the original odor. You may even want to consider vacuuming a second time to get the best possible results. And while this method will do a good job at removing the majority of odors, if you’ve had your dog or your carpets for a while, it may not be the most effective method.
Contractor John Gleeson Connolly with Apartment Therapy explains how well vinegar can work at masking and removing pet odors within carpets. First, you’ll need to go to a hardware store and pick up a simple pump sprayer that would be used for any thin liquids (such as fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) and fill it with vinegar. A good spritz will help eliminate the odor. Follow this method by blotting the area with paper towels or running a fan to help with the drying process. Worried about the smell of vinegar replacing the dog smell? Try adding a few drops of citronella oil into the misk before spraying.
Hydrogen Peroxide can work to remove stains and smells within your carpet. Mix half a cup of Hydrogen Peroxide with a tablespoon of dish soap in a spray bottle. It’s important to note that the dish soap needs to be intended for handwashing dishes in the sink, do not use dish washing machine detergent. Spray the solution onto the affected area and work it into the carpet with an old toothbrush.
Leave the solution to dry completely. It’s also important to only use 3% solution and always check for color-fastness as it could potentially bleach the fibers of your carpet, leaving a permanent light spot in place of a stain. This method is best for stains that have had time to settle into the carpet.
Let in Some Fresh Air
Exposing as much of your carpet as possible to sunlight and fresh air can help quell those dog odors. Make sure that you’re opening your windows for several hours on dry days with little to no humidity.
This method is exceptionally great for portable items, such as upholstered furniture and area rugs. Pet odors could be trapped within these objects as well, and airing out can definitely help combat the prevailing dog smell in your home.
Steam Clean Your Home
If the odor isn’t isolated to any particular area or you’re finding that spot cleaning isn’t quite as effective as you hoped, steam cleaning may be the next step. After removing all the dry materials from an intensive vacuuming, you’ll want to use a steam cleaner to get rid of any odors that remained trapped within the carpet’s fibers. You can either purchase a steam cleaner for long-term use, rent one for isolated projects, or solicit the help of a professional. Make sure that you or the cleaners are using pet-friendly chemicals before beginning.
Be sure that your dog does not roam the house until the carpets have completely dried. Keep a close eye on them, as they may feel inclined to mark their territory following the deep clean due to the change in carpet smell.
Consider Replacing Your Carpet
It may be time to assess if your carpet needs replaced. If your carpet is in fairly good condition with the exception of a few problem areas, it may be best to try the methods listed above or replace a small section. However, if the overall integrity of your carpet has been compromised due to deep-set stains and odors, replacement may be a viable option for you.
It is important to note that carpet soiled by pets typically applies to the actual carpet and the padding below as well, meaning that you’ll have to replace both. Contact your local waste disposal service to arrange for a special pick-up if necessary for proper disposal. While carpet in good condition can be recycled, carpet that has been soiled by pets is typically not suitable for most recycling programs. If you’re having your new carpet professionally installed, the company may be able to dispose of the old carpet for you.
The biggest thing to look out for when replacing the carpet is if the subfloor has been contaminated. The subfloor is located below the carpet and padding and can play a vital role in perpetuating unwanted odors within your home despite replacing the carpet and padding above. Use a blacklight to check for any problem areas and be sure to clean and seal them with and oil-based stain and odor-blocking primer.
Replacing your carpet is a big deal. Therefore, it is important to weigh your options carefully. If you see your carpets become soiled again in the future, you may just be finding an expensive, temporary solution to the dog smell in your home. You may want to consider putting down different flooring such as tile, vinyl, or laminate flooring to avoid having to constantly replace carpeting.
We Saved the Best For Last: Try Air Purifying Bags
The NatureFresh Air Purifying Bag eliminates odors naturally, without having to deal with the hassle of extensive cleaning or the expense of replacing your carpet. Place the bags throughout your home as well as near any specific problem areas to effectively get eliminate the dog smell. This method is by far the most convenient and efficient at removing odors. The bags also help to eliminate other odors in the home as well!
Once a month, place the bag(s) out in the sun for an hour to reset and “refresh” the bag, making it ready for use again. The bags themselves last for 2 years and can be used as a soil fertilizer upon expiration.
The NatureFresh Air Purifying Bags are created from stitched linen and contain extremely porous, Activated Bamboo Charcoal. A metal grommet is attached in the upper left corner of the bag for added convenience as well.
Activated Bamboo Charcoal has been scientifically proven to reduce harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, and chloroform emitted from carpeting, chemical cleaners, air freshners, paint, rubber, and plastic. As air passes through the pores of the charcoal, various odors, bacteria, allergens, and other pollutants are trapped on the surface, purifying the air itself.
Unlike traditional odor eliminators such as Febreeze that add toxins to the air, the Air Purifying Bags remove toxins in the air by trapping them within the bag. The removal process extends to effectively eliminate all unwanted allergens, pollutants, bacteria, mold, mildew, and odors! The Purifying Bags remove moisture from the air to prevent odors before they have a chance to become noticeable while combating ones that may already exist.
As much as we love our pets, it’s okay to admit that we may not love the lingering odors that they produce. Taking measures to get rid of the dog smell in your carpet and your home can take a variety of forms. Constant, intensive cleaning can become incredibly time consuming and may not produce the results that you are hoping for. Carpet replacement may seem like a great idea, but it’s an expensive endeavor and the results won’t last if your dog remains inside your home.
Air Purifying Bags provide a solution that doesn’t require any time-consuming maintenance and removes toxins from the air instead of simply masking or contributing to them.