Before you start cleaning, it's important to figure out exactly where that dog smell in your apartment is coming from. It might be one specific thing or a mix of different smells. 

Identifying the Smell

Here's how to pinpoint the source:

Wet Dog Smell: This is a common and unpleasant odor, especially after your dog comes in from the rain or a bath. That unmistakably strong, musty odor seems to fill the whole room. It happens because the moisture releases odors trapped in your dog's fur.

Dog Urine: If your dog has had an accident, or if there's a spot they keep going back to, you might notice a sharp, ammonia-like smell. This is usually stronger and more unpleasant than other pet odors.

General Dog Odor: Dogs naturally have their own scent. This can build up over time, especially in the areas where they spend most of their time, like their bed or a favorite spot on the couch.

Pet Dander: This might not have a strong odor, but it can add to the overall pet smell in your home. It's tiny flakes of skin that come off your dog, and it can get all over your furniture and carpets.

Dog Hair: Like pet dander, dog hair itself might not smell much, but it can trap odors and keep them hanging around your apartment.

Other Causes: Sometimes, the smell might be from something else, like old food in your dog's area, a dirty water bowl, or even something your dog brought in from outside.

Six Types of Dog Smell  1. Wet Dog Smell - unmistakably strong, common. 2. Dog Urine - sharp, ammonia-like smell. 3. Dog Odor - can build up in specific areas. 4. Pet Dander - weak odor.  5. Dog Hair - trap different odors onto your dog's hair. 6. Other Causes.

By figuring out where the smell is strongest and what kind of smell it is, you can choose the best way to clean it. For example, if it's wet dog smell, you might need to focus on drying your dog better after baths. If it's urine, you'll need a special cleaner to get rid of that odor. And if it's just a general doggy smell, regular cleaning and airing out the room can make a big difference.

Routinely Clean Designated Dog Areas

Regular cleaning is key. Frequent carpet cleaning helps get rid of pet hair and dander. If your dog has a favorite spot, clean it more often. And don't forget to wash their bed and toys too! It also helps if you have a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter on it to prevent the unnecessary dispersal of obnoxious odors when you're vacuuming your carpet.

Special Cleaners For Pet Smells

Regular cleaning products might not be enough when dealing with tough pet odors like urine. This is where an enzymatic cleaner comes in handy. They're not just cover-ups; they break down the odor-causing substances. Here's what you need to know about them:

  1. How Enzymatic Cleaners Work: These cleaners contain natural enzymes and beneficial bacteria that break down and digest the organic matter (like urine, feces, or vomit) causing the smell. This process neutralizes the odor at its source instead of just masking it.
  2. Choosing the Right Cleaner: There are different enzymatic cleaners for different types of smells and stains. Some are specifically designed for urine, while others might be better for general pet odors or even for things like vomit or feces. Read the labels to find the one that best suits your needs.
  3. Using Enzymatic Cleaners Effectively: For best results, follow the instructions on the cleaner. Usually, you'll need to let the cleaner sit for a certain amount of time to work effectively. It’s important to use enough of the cleaner to reach as deep as the urine or odor has penetrated, especially in carpets.
  4. Safety and Pets: Most enzymatic cleaners are safe for use around pets. However, it's always good to check the product label or consult with a vet if you're unsure, especially if your pet has sensitivities or allergies.
  5. Preventative Use: In addition to spot-cleaning, you can use enzymatic cleaners periodically in areas your pet frequents to prevent odors from building up.
  6. Other Considerations: While enzymatic cleaners are effective for organic odors, they may not work as well for other types of smells (like cigarette smoke or cooking odors). For these, you might need different cleaning solutions such as ozone treatments or paint products that block odors embedded in your walls, vents, and other spaces.
Enzymatic Cleaners 101: A Quick Guide  1. How They Work: Enzymatic cleaners use natural enzymes and bacteria to break down organic matter, neutralizing odors at the source. 2. Choosing the Right Cleaner: Different enzymatic cleaners target specific smells and stains, so choose based on your needs (urine, pet odors, vomit, etc.). 3. Effective Use: Follow the cleaner's instructions, allowing it enough time to penetrate and clean thoroughly, especially in carpets. 4. Safety and Pets: Most enzymatic cleaners are pet-safe, but check labels or consult a vet if your pet has sensitivities. 5. Preventative Action: Use enzymatic cleaners periodically in pet-frequented areas to prevent odor buildup. 6. Other Considerations: While effective for organic odors, enzymatic cleaners may not work for all smells (cigarette smoke, cooking odors). Consider alternative solutions like ozone treatments or odor-blocking paint for different types of smells.

By understanding and using enzymatic cleaners properly, you can tackle some of the toughest pet odors in your apartment, making your living space fresher and more inviting.

Bring In The Fresh Air

An air purifier can help a lot, especially air purifiers that use HEPA filters. They clean the air and reduce pet smells rather efficiently. The HEPA filter efficiently captures 99.9% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, including dander, dust, and other airborne contaminants.

Also, open your windows when you can to let the fresh air in and circulate the air inside your apartment in general.

Natural Smell Fighters

Did you know white vinegar and baking soda are great for fighting odors? 

A mixture of vinegar and water can be used as a natural cleaning solution for various surfaces, neutralizing odors without the use of harsh chemicals. You just have to make sure you spot-test a small, hidden area first before using it on a widespread section of your flooring.

Sprinkling baking soda on carpets before vacuuming helps to absorb and lift away odors embedded in the fibers. Additionally, baking soda can be left on for a few hours or even overnight for stronger odors, acting as a deep-cleaning agent that freshens up your carpets without leaving any harmful residues.

Proper Carpet Care

Carpets can hold a lot of pet smells. Consider getting the carpet professionally cleaned every now and then. Or, if you have a carpet cleaner, use it with a pet odor eliminator solution.

Pet Health and Diet

Your dog's overall health and diet play a significant role in how they smell. Just like in humans, a dog's diet can impact their body odor. Here are some key points to consider:

Key Points for a Healthy Pet  1. High-quality food. 2. Regular Vet Check-Ups. 3. Balanced Diet. 4. Hydration. 5. Probiotics. 6. Be Aware of Food Allergies and Sensitivities.
  1. Quality of Food: High-quality dog food appropriate for your pet’s age, breed, and health needs can reduce odors. Foods with too many fillers or low-quality ingredients can contribute to poor digestion and, consequently, more pungent smells.
  2. Regular Vet Check-Ups: Regular check-ups with the vet can help you catch and address any health issues that might be causing bad smells. For instance, dental problems can lead to bad breath, while skin infections can cause unpleasant body odors.
  3. Balanced Diet: Ensure your dog’s diet is balanced. Sometimes, adding supplements like omega-3 fatty acids can improve skin and coat health, reducing oily skin and dander that can contribute to odors. If you're noticing a persistent bad scent, you might want to experiment with their diet under the guidance of your vet. Sometimes, a small change can make a big difference in how your dog smells.
  4. Hydration: Proper hydration is key. Encourage your dog to drink plenty of water. This helps digestion and reduces the stink of your dog's waste.
  5. Probiotics: Probiotics can help maintain gut health. A healthy gut often means less gas and a less smelly stool.
  6. Allergies and Sensitivities: Be aware of any food allergies or sensitivities your dog may have, as these can cause gastrointestinal issues and skin problems, leading to bad smells.

Focusing on your dog's health and diet can reduce unpleasant odors and ensure a happier, healthier life for your furry companion.

Fun Fact: Have you ever noticed that your dog's feet smell like Fritos or corn chips? This distinctive smell is due to the natural bacteria and fungi on your dog's paws.

These microorganisms are generally harmless as long as they are in healthy amounts. Combined with the sweat glands in your dog's feet, they can produce a yeasty scent that's often compared to popular corn-based snacks. So, next time you catch a whiff of your furry friend's paws, remember, it's likely just their natural "paw-fume" at work!

Quick Cleanup

If your dog makes a mess, clean it up fast. The longer it sits, the worse the smell can get and the greater the risk of permanent stains that may be difficult to get rid of.

Cleaning Tips For Your Home

  • Use air fresheners or essential oils, but ensure they're safe for pets. Commonly used essential oils such as peppermint, tea tree, and cinnamon may be detrimental to your dog's health.
  • If your dog is allowed on furniture, use washable covers.
  • Train your dog to go to the bathroom outside or in a designated spot.
  • Regular grooming is important. A clean dog means a fresher-smelling home.


Having a dog in your apartment doesn't mean you have to live with bad smells. With these tips, you can keep your home smelling fresh and clean. Remember, a little effort goes a long way in making your apartment a great place for you and your pet!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get rid of dog smell in a house from previous owners?

To rid a house of dog smell from previous owners, deep clean carpets and upholstery, wash walls and floors, use enzymatic cleaners for lingering urine smells, and ventilate rooms well. If the smell is still present after that, it may be necessary to do an ozone treatment or even re-paint walls with odor-blocking paint and primer.

How do you get a dog smell out of a microfiber couch?

To remove the dog smell from a microfiber couch, sprinkle baking soda, let it sit, and then vacuum. Use a fabric-safe enzymatic cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and water for deeper odors while remembering to always spot-test before using on larger, noticeable surfaces.

How long does it take for baking soda to absorb odors?

Baking soda typically takes about 15 minutes to an hour to absorb odors. For stronger smells, leave it overnight before vacuuming.

Do you want to know how to get dog smells out of carpets?

To get dog smells out of carpets, use a mix of vinegar and water for cleaning, sprinkle baking soda to absorb odors, or employ enzymatic cleaners for stubborn smells. Regular vacuuming and steam cleaning also help.