The problem of a smelly dog can be solved by spraying your pet with a homemade dog spray for odor. You can also minimise the smell in your house by keeping the carpet regularly vacuumed and by keeping soft furnishings, dog bed and dog toys regularly washed.
As much as I love my dog, I don’t love her smell. Unfortunately, she hates water which includes bathing.
The advice is to bathe your dog once per month, any more than that could cause skin issues, and for my dog, more regular bathing is far too traumatising.
In-between baths she tends to smell a bit too much of ‘dog’ for our comfort. The best solution, we found for the smell, is to use some sort of spray or dry shampoo to help her through to the next bathtime.
There are lots of commercial dog sprays you can buy but I prefer to avoid using any type of chemical spray in the house. So, I have a more natural option to share today that is effective, cheaper and the best bit, you can make it yourself at home.
How to keep your dog smelling good in-between baths
Whilst you can deodorize your floor and soft furnishing with regular cleaning and vacuuming, you really need to address the source of the issue and that is the dog itself.
So, if we shouldn’t bathe our beloved pet more than once per month what can be done to reduce the smells in-between washing?
There are several things we can do:
- Give your dog a ‘dry’ shampoo. This would involve shaking some baking soda or cornflour into their coat to absorb oils and sweat.
- Use a dog spray. You can find these at most pet shops. Simply spray on and rub.
- Make your own dog spray. This is a cheaper option and means that we can avoid using chemicals.
Why make your own dog odor eliminator spray?
There are several reasons why I prefer making my own dog odor spray rather than buying it.
No artificial chemicals
Shop-bought dog sprays often have added chemicals that may not be so good for your pet including phthalates and parabens that can cause dry, itchy skin.
Don’t forget that any dog odor spray is going to find its way onto your skin too and you might well breath it in.
It’s much cheaper of course to make your own. The solution I have involves a one-time purchase of a spray bottle, or you can recycle an old bottle.
You can reuse your spray bottle, no plastic gets wasted, and no energy is spent transporting it to the store or your home.
It’s just as convenient to make your own as it is to pop down to a store and make a purchase. Once you have the bottle and the oils at the ready it takes minutes.
How to make dog deodorant spray at home
You only need a few things for this that you will probably have at home already.
• 1 small spray bottle
• 30 ml of warm water
• 3-4 drops of an essential oil
See further down for some essential oil suggestions. I prefer to use lavender because I love the smell and it is naturally calming.
It’s important to make sure that you and your dog do not have any adverse reactions to the oil. Apply the spray to a small area and wait for 24 hours to be sure there is no allergic response.
Never use essential oils undiluted on your dog or allow her to sniff neat essential oil as it can be toxic at full strength.
Don’t be tempted to add more essential oil than stated, essential oils can be harmful when used in high concentrations.
Step 1 – Wash the spray bottle and add water
Thoroughly wash the spray bottle and do a few pumps to flush it out. Add 30 ml water to the spray bottle.
Step 2 – Add essential oils
Add 3 – 4 drops of your chosen essential oil then shake to mix.
Step 3 – Spray and rub
Spray directly onto your dog’s coat and rub it in as you go. Avoid the eyes, nose, ears, genitals, and anal area.
5 Essential oils you can use on dogs
There are lots of different essential oils available to purchase. They all have varying uses and properties that make them good for a myriad of conditions. But, which essential oils are safe for dogs?
Remember that all essential oils must be diluted. Never put essential oils on your dog straight from the bottle either on your dog or on you.
Tea tree oil is not safe for humans when not diluted enough, even more so for pets. I always avoid tea tree oil despite its antiseptic qualities, it’s just too much of a risk.
If you switch oils always test it on your dog (and you) first on a small area and wait for 24 hours. If there is no reaction then you are safe to carry on using it.
Let’s have a look at the different essential oils safe for use on your dog’s skin and coat.
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This is my favourite essential oil and the one I always use on my dog. Lavender is known to have a calming effect. If your dog needs soothing as well as smelling great, choose lavender for your dog spray.
2. Chamomile Oil
Chamomile oil can soothe skin conditions and has a calming effect.
3. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is antiviral and anti-inflammatory and is a natural flea repellent.
4. Peppermint Oil
The natural anti-microbial properties of peppermint essential oil mean it can reduce inflammation and relieve skin issues.
5. Sweet Orange Oil
Orange oil contains a substance called limonene which acts as a natural pesticide. It is a perfect natural deodorizer for your dog.
Why do dogs smell?
Dogs don’t sweat as humans do. They perspire sweat through their paws. The smell we associate with dogs is caused by the oils and small amounts of sweat released through the follicles and skin. The glands in their ears produce a yeasty smell.
There are lots of other things that can make your dog smell bad which includes, smelly breath due to dental issues, flatulence, yeast overgrowth, or rolling in animal faeces.
All dogs smell to some degree, it is natural and part of their unique identity. We shouldn’t aim to eliminate it, but we can certainly keep odors to a minimum with bathing and grooming.
If your dog is excessively smelly then you should go to a VET to rule out medical issues.
How to get rid of dog smell in your home
If your smelly dog is allowed to roam free in your house (as mine is) then unfortunately it will leave its smell on carpets, rugs, and furnishings.
You might think that choosing a leather sofa over a fabric one is better for keeping on top of dog odor, but unfortunately, they can smell just as much! If you have that problem, here is how to remove dog odor from your leather couch.
Wash everything you can in Ariel liquid. I am not sponsored by Ariel but I find it extremely effective at removing dog smells. I use it to wash the dog’s towels and blankets and everything comes out smelling fresh.
I do find Ariel a bit expensive though, plus it’s not such an environmentally friendly choice. So for the rest of the laundry, I use Ecoegg.
It’s obvious of course, but for completeness, I include it here! I found my cordless vacuum to be a godsend once we got our dog. It is so quick to go round the house with it. The big vacuum only comes out when I need a deeper clean.
If you have a dog that drops a lot of hair (as I do) I recommend you do a quick vacuum daily with something like a cordless vacuum cleaner to keep on top of it.
Does your vacuum cleaner smell of dog? Here is a foolproof method to get your vacuum odor-free again.
Spray things you can’t launder
Make up a spray bottle of half water and half white distilled vinegar.
Spray on any areas that smell, including carpets, rugs and anything else you can’t wash. You can also safely spray it on your dog.
The vinegar smell dissipates very quickly, if you prefer you could add a few drops of essential oil to the bottle.
Other things you can do to keep your dog smelling fresh
- Brush regularly. My dog loves it when I groom her. Take your brush on a walk and do it in the park to avoid extra vacuuming.
- Wipe ears with a clean damp cloth. Ears are one of the smelly areas due to glands releasing yeast. Give your dog’s ears a clean with a damp microfibre cloth.
- Regularly wash bedding and toys. Ariel laundry liquid is the best for getting rid of dog smell in your wash.