This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.
“Yuck, you smell like a dog!” “But I just changed the cat box!” “This house needs aired out!”
Do any of these sound familiar? Are you desperate to get your home smelling fresh and clean? Then this blog post is for you! Keep reading to find out how you can combat that dog and cat smell.
While I will be sharing a few products that I highly recommend, I first want to point out some simple home maintenance and pet care tips. The time frames for these will vary in each household, but it’s a routine that you should develop for your home ASAP.
Household maintenance: HVAC system
It is critical to perform household maintenance on your home, especially in maintaining the life of your HVAC system. Your filters need to be changed multiple times a year. The exact number varies depending on your type of filter or situation (multiple animals, only one animal, location/seasons, etc). But, definitely change at a minimum 3 times a year or every 4 months. Some, however, need to be changed every 2 months or even monthly.
I also suggest that you have seasonal check ups on the system twice a year to make sure it’s running efficiently and properly! Ideally, before the first time you turn on the AC or the heat. This will help you be proactive on any problem that could occur with the function of the unit. And, you can also utilize this time to get an education from the technician on your exact system’s needs. Ask during your maintenance visit or locate the manual for the unit to determine the correct size of filter you should be using. This will also determine how often you need to replace it. Getting ducts cleaned is also a good idea, but I’d advise that you discuss with your technician for their recommendation on how often.
Quick tip: purchase the number of filters that will last you for 6 months to have on hand. Add to the calendar on your phone to alert you when you need to change the filter. Is it monthly, bimonthly, or every 3-4 months? Set an alarm in advance so you don’t forget. And before you put the filter in, write the month/year on it so you can be sure to know how fresh it is, especially if something happens to your calendar reminder.
household maintenance: home care
Make sure you are vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, etc regularly in your entire home. This will help you remove pet hair and dander so it doesn’t build and set in to hard to access places. Also, don’t forget to vacuum furniture, wash bedding, and anything else your pets come in contact with on a regular basis. Check to see if your furniture fabrics are the best or the worst to have with pets!
groom your pet
Regularly groom your pet to help combat the smell. Brush them often, especially during the transition months from hot to cold and cold to hot. Most dog breeds and some cats will shed their winter and summer coats as they prepare for the incoming weather! Plan puppy/kitty spa days (at home or at a groomer), too. During the warmer months at our house, we typically give the dogs monthly baths to help combat that dog smell; and then every other month once it cools down.
Diet, allergies, weather (rain, snow), health, breed, etc. can all play a huge factor in the pet smell. If you have specific questions about your pets, talk with your vet to find the best solution for you both. With litter boxes, make sure you’re cleaning it out daily. Scooping the pieces out that need it and adding some fresh litter to what’s left. It seems to be the best routine in my experience, but your pet may be different and require a different routine. Just like with humans, our pets are unique and have their own specific needs.
suggested items to purchase
Add items to your home that can help you combat the smell. Plants are a great option, but please do check out the ASPCA’s website for a list of poisonous plants. I’ve also compiled a list of my favorite dog and cat friendly plants to use in your home.
Another option, and personal favorite of mine, are small air purifiers that plug in to a wall outlet and have a filter you can remove/change as often as necessary. I highly recommend this small air purifier from Amazon. They have specific refills for pets, tobacco, etc. You can even set up a subscribe and save order so you can install, plug in, and forget until the new filters arrive!
We have two on the main floor (where the dogs and humans hang out the most, two on the lower level (in the main rec room area and the bedroom where the at least a few of the dogs sleep regularly), and then three upstairs (main loft area and two bedrooms where at least a few of the dogs sleep regularly). There are many other options out there, but I love these! They are quite compact, plug in directly to the wall outlet, easy to change the filter, and easy to mask or hide wherever they’re installed. Plus, units and filters are pretty reasonable! We’ve had at least 3 of these for over 3 years and then purchased the others when we moved into the large home 3 years ago. And they’re still going strong!
final thoughts to combat dog or cat smell in your home
I tend to avoid anything with scents for a few reasons. The main one is that many of the products on the market today that have any scent/parfum added to them, will also have formaldehyde in the product. Check the ingredients of anything you plan to use with an added scent; it’s pretty shocking how many products have that ingredient. Formaldehyde is not something I want to inhale. And, I most definitely do not want my dogs to inhale it either.