How to Remove Pet Odors From The Home

Picture of a dog relaxing on a leather sofa

Once upon a time most people kept animals outdoors. Whether you had dogs or cats, they usually had jobs to do. Dogs were farm dogs. They herded sheep and cattle. Or they were kept as hunting dogs or guard dogs on estates. Even highly prized hunting dogs were kept in kennels. Cats earned their keep by as mousers, often living in the barn. Few animals were welcome indoors as pets.

Times change. Today millions of people keep pets in their homes. They cuddle, play, and keep us company. But along with their wonderful companionship, they often have odors. Pet odors can range from urine and poo on the carpet to that dreaded wet dog smell your dog brings home after a walk in the rain. Little by little your rooms, your furniture, your carpets, your bedding, and other things in your home can reek of pet odor.

Don’t despair. Lots of people have found good ways to get rid of pet odors. Here are some of the best ways to remove pet odors from your home.

Keep Your Pet Clean

First and foremost, keeping your pet clean will help cut down on odors in your home. This is especially true with dogs since they tend to have more odor than cats and – let’s face it – they enjoy smelly odors. Many dogs love nothing more than finding something smelly when they’re outside. They can sniff it, eat it, and even roll around in it, bring the terrible smell home with them. If your dog happens to find a dead skunk or a pile of horse manure, those odors are coming into your house.

You should bathe your dog as needed. For most dogs, depending on their coat type, this is about once a month. If your dog gets very dirty or smelly, go ahead and give him a bath more often. Brushing your dog regularly will also help him stay clean plus it cuts down on shedding.

In general, cats tend to stay cleaner than dogs. They usually do their own self-grooming. But it’s a good idea to assist with a little brushing as needed. You can bathe your cat if you like, as necessary, though we have never known any cats that were very cooperative with baths. Most cats live indoors today so your cat probably won’t get very dirty.

Check Your Pet’s Ears

Whether you have a dog or a cat, it’s important to check their ears regularly. Gunky ears can produce a bad odor that will be noticeable in your home. Both cats and dogs can have ear yeast infections. Cleaning their ears regularly can avoid this problem, along with other ear problems. Talk to your vet and ask him or her to recommend a good ear cleaner.


Even if you don’t allow your pets on your furniture, you should assume that they probably get on the furniture when you’re not home. That can explain why there are pet hairs on the sofa and why chairs have a doggy odor. You can start to get rid of pet odor from your furniture by removing all of the cushions and vacuuming inside the furniture thoroughly. Vacuum the cushions. Vacuum everywhere. Even if you can’t see anything, your pets will leave dander behind when they are on the furniture and this is the source of some of the odor. If you can remove covers from the furniture, that’s even better. Slipcovers for couches and chairs can make it very easy to keep your home smelling good. They are easy to remove and wash and they keep the furniture underneath clean.

With your bed, you should flip your mattress and be sure to vacuum both sides. Wash all of your bedding often.

Use a box of baking soda on your bed and other furniture to neutralize odors. Just sprinkle it on and let it sit overnight. You can work it into the furniture with a cleaning brush. Then use your vacuum cleaner to remove it (and the pet odor). You can use pet odor removers available from pet stores but they are very similar to baking soda.

Try washing your bed linens, slipcovers, blankets and other things in ¼ cup apple cider vinegar and oxy-type laundry detergent to remove every bit of pet odor.


Whether you have hardwood floors or carpeting, the vacuum cleaner is still a perfect way to help you remove pet odor from your home. Use it to vacuum up pet hair, dander, and dust bunnies that hide under furniture.

If you have carpeting, you can sprinkle baking soda over the carpet and work it in with a cleaning brush. Let it sit overnight and vacuum it up the next day. This should remove most of the pet odor in your carpets since the baking soda absorbs the odors.

If you want to do a more thorough job or if your carpets have a lot of pet odor, you can rent a carpet cleaner or hire a company to clean your carpets. It’s important to try to remove as much of the pet odor as possible before you shampoo your carpets or you could be simply mixing pet odor and shampoo to produce a very unpleasant result. (Caution: Don’t use carpet shampoo on your furniture.)


Many pet owners like to air-fresheners and other products to help get rid of pet odors. If you use one of these products, make sure that it’s safe to use with animals. Just because the product is safe for people doesn’t mean it’s safe for pets. Some sprays, scented oils, and plug-ins, for example, can be harmful to pets. Read the label and make sure the product says that it’s safe to use around pets.



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