When we got our first dog after being married many years ago, I was maddened by the dog smell. He was a Golden Retriever, 9 months old, and I cleaned constantly, but still couldn’t get rid of the smell.
Since then, we’ve had another (even stinkier) dog, and hosted over 100 dogs in our house (up to 7 at a time!) with our dog-sitting businesses. We have been so excited to hear many times throughout all that, guests commenting that they couldn’t smell the dogs or see the fur anywhere.
So here’s what we did to keep our house smelling and looking clean, AND keeping the dogs comfortable, clean, and happy:
Our routine includes:
- Run the robot vacuum (automatically–and bonus: it’s on a schedule, so it forces you to tidy the floor before it runs–scroll down to see our two favorites).
- Run a lint roller over your shirts before cooking (we keep one in a kitchen drawer). It keeps fur out of the food of course, but also off the counters. (Additionally, no dogs are ever allowed in the kitchen here–it’s safer and cleaner.)
- Spritzing Kids-N-Pets on problem areas or areas the pets frequent takes care of small odor issues.
- A couple times a week, brush the dogs (outside) to keep loose fur out.
- Doggy feet get stinky and transfer that stink to the floors, so when needed use the MudBuster paw cleaner (all links below)–usually once or twice a week. Then dry with a towel. You’ll have less stink on the soft floors and less paw prints on the hard floors. If you don’t have a MudBuster, use a very wet towel to scrub, then a dry towel.
- Dry shampoo the dogs, my DIY recipe is my favorite, and it’s practically free.
- Shake out rugs. We were impressed by how much these rugs actually work. We keep one outside the back door (on a covered deck) and one inside the door for double the dirt catching.
- Use a deshedding brush on them.
If you have a double-coated dog, you might want to take pictures of the second dog you could create out of the fur…fur that would be all over your house otherwise.
- Run down the soft furniture with a rubber glove, misted or dampened with water (not WET, just damp).
It picks up all the fur way better than a lint roller does, and there’s no waste and no refills to buy.
- Run a full-sized vacuum on carpeted areas. Twice in a row. You’ll be amazed at what comes up with a second cleaning, whether you have dogs or not, but especially if you do.
- After running the vacuum (twice!), clean the carpet with a carpet cleaner, preferably using Kids-N-Pets as your cleaning solution (it’s natural and actually eliminates the odor instead of masking it with fake ones and it’s the most effective natural ones we’ve found).
- Mop hard floors. (Don’t use Kids-N-Pets in your mopping liquid, it makes them VERY slippery.)
- Wash the rugs in the hottest water you can. If you get the rugs we recommend, don’t use vinegar on them as it will break down the non-slip backing. If they are stinky, soak them in water with borax overnight before washing.
- Bathe the dogs.
There’s much advice about how often to bathe your dog. After having 3 of our own, and having over 100 visiting dogs, we’ve found that every dog has different needs. Some need a bath monthly, some weekly. When your dog no longer smells neutral or feels pleasant, they’re are likely feeling it too and start scratching and rolling in the grass excessively. Give ’em a bath. For double coated dogs, the silicone dog brush below helps tremendously to get the shampoo all the way to the skin when bathing. (If you struggle to get the shampoo all the way to the skin, that might mean they have slightly matted fur, use a “slicker” brush to clean that up, then bathe.) I do 2 to 4 shampoos per bath, depending on how clean the fur feels. Start with 2 if you’re not sure.
Dry thoroughly after the bath, otherwise they’ll just bring in fresh wet dog smell and undo everything. Towel dry (2 to 3 towels with lots of encouraged “Shake” in between, then let them run around outside while you clean up–tossing some kibble into the grass keeps them excited by engaging their hunting needs and keeps them busy while they dry out a little–we say “Kibble hunt!”). Then once you’re ready, blow dry to make sure they’re dry to the skin.
- Wash their bedding in the hottest water you can. I like to spray it down with Kids-N-Pets first and lay it oustide to dry, then wash normally with soap, but using vinegar instead of fabric softener. It comes out with the least smell and the softest that way.
Here are the links to all the products we recommend:
Gloves for picking up fur
Deebot Robot Vacuum
ILife Robot Vacuum
Dyson Animal Vacuum (Refubished)
Silicone Dog Brush
And one last point: humidity makes a huge difference. The less humid your house is, the less it will smell like dog. and of course the reverse is true. Even if you do everything we listed above, if your house is very humid, you’re going to smell the dog(s). Consider a dehumidifier if it’s an ongoing problem, otherwise, just remember it’s temporary and you’ll be back to normal when the humidity is. 🙂