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Goodbye, Dog Smell

Why do dogs smell the way they do, plus how to get rid of dog smell in the house?
_ Anuradha Mittal, New Delhi

The infamous ‘doggie smell’ can be unpleasant for your family and embarrassing when you have visitors. Here are some practical tips for reducing or eliminating those nasty odours. While us owners can become accustomed to dog smells, the same isn’t true for visitors. Bad smells can also be a sign of an unclean house, which could

expose your family or dog to harmful bacteria. Regular cleaning is essential if you want to keep bad odours away. It’s not just the frequency of cleaning that makes the difference though – it’s also where and how you clean. The good news is that there are plenty of simple tips you can use to get rid of dog smells. Here are some of our favourites to keep your house smelling as fresh and odour-free as possible. A lingering doggie smell can either come from the dog themselves, or from odors embedded into soft furnishings and flooring. In many cases, it’ll be a combination of the two. All dogs have a natural odour that’s secreted from glands across their body. The bulk of these are in paws, around the anus, and in footpads. Some dogs have stronger odors than others though.

These include:

Breeds with oily coats. Oily coats often have a stronger scent. Coats with water-resistant properties, like those found on a Labrador Retriever, are prime examples.

Breeds that drool more than others. Dogs that are prone to excessive drooling can be smellier, particularly around their mouth, neck and chest.

Dogs with health conditions. Some health conditions, like allergies or skin infections, can cause your dog to be more smelly than normal. It’s important to seek veterinary advice if you notice any changes to your dog’s skin, behaviour, or odours.

Dogs who are dirt magnets. Dogs who love outdoor adventures, swimming, or rolling in smelly things are all likely to be whiffler.

While it’s often easy to notice when your dog smells bad, odours can also become embedded in soft furnishings and flooring around the house. This is due to drool, hair, dander, coat oils and saliva becoming absorbed into fabrics and crevices. These odours are often more difficult to pinpoint and remove. Over time, they start to

permeate the home, which is why doggie smells can remain even after bathing your dog. Of course, if you have a puppy, elderly dog, or a pet who isn’t house trained, indoor accidents are also a major source of bad odours. Urine can be tricky to remove, and if you don’t tackle the clean-up thoroughly, overpowering smells can begin to emanate from those spots. These smells also encourage your dog to return to the same spot.

Air Out Your Home

It’s amazing how much of a difference simply opening the windows in your home can make to the odours inside. This is especially true if you live in a house with lots of family members, poor ventilation, or in a humid climate. Opening the windows in more than one room will help to circulate the air more effectively. Admittedly, this isn’t going to be a magic cure. For deeply embedded odors, you’ll need to take more proactive measures. But, when the weather is mild enough, this can be enough to give the house a pleasant freshen up.

Wash Dog Bedding Regularly

A dog’s bed is often the strongest source of doggie odours. This isn’t surprising, as beds are constantly exposed to hair, dander, oils and even urine. When combined with a damp post-walk dog, beds become the perfect environment for bacteria and mould. For this reason, it’s a good idea to wash your dog’s bed at least once every two weeks. If your dog sheds a lot, goes on muddy walks, or is highly active, then you may want to wash the bed

weekly. Soft beds tend to absorb odours faster than other types. Many have foam mattresses which can’t easily be cleaned, so it’s vital that these are protected. Look for soft beds with durable and waterproof covers that can be machine-washed, as this makes it easier to keep the bed clean.

Clean Your Dog’s Toys

A 2011 study found that pet toys are among the top 10 dirtiest things in the average household. Saliva, food and general muck can build up on toys over time. As well as being a reservoir for pungent odors, the resulting bacteria can be a health hazard. Getting into a habit of cleaning toys each week is recommended. Hard toys can be cleaned with hot soapy water or a white distilled vinegar solution, before being thoroughly rinsed. Soft toys

can usually be machine washed, and you can add a little baking soda to absorb stinky odours.

Vacuum Carpets

If you have carpets or rugs in your home, vacuuming at least twice a week will help to keep odors at bay. Dust, dirt, dander and dog hairs get caught in carpet fibres, making them start to smell much more quickly than hard floors or tiles. Don’t forget to vacuum sofas, carpeted stairs, curtains and other soft furnishings. Any fabric in the home can harbour doggie smells, although the worst offenders are those your pet has direct contact with. If you have a patch of carpet with a noticeable smell, then vacuuming isn’t going to remove the odor. Instead, you can use baking soda to neutralise the odour.

Buy an Air Purifier

Air purifiers are designed to remove dust, bacteria and other particles from the air. They can be effective for helping tackle doggy odours too.