As dog parents of multiple dogs, you welcome all those sloppy kisses, cold, wet noses, and wagging tails that fill your home with love and joy—there's never a dull moment in a multi-dog household, and lots of laughter. Whether they are piled on the sofa (or your bed) peacefully snoozing, playing fetch or frisbee, or taking you for a walk in the great outdoors; two, three, or more dogs offer countless blessings. But with multiple dogs come a few challenges, too; among them, keeping your home clean, fresh-smelling, and relatively free of dog hair.
After all, the stereotypical "smelly dog" is not just a myth; dogs do indeed have a unique, pungent canine aroma that is amplified after a swim or a walk in the rain. And, of course, a little of whatever your dogs walk or roll through outside like mud puddles, garbage, poop, and animal carcasses make their way inside onto your floors, rugs, furniture, and maybe your bed, despite wiping down multiple paws in the mud room. Not to mention all the dog hair (depending on the breed) that magically sticks to anything your dogs touch or rest upon, from your clothing to soft furnishings.
Nevertheless, you can enjoy having multiple dogs as well as a pristine home by following some guidelines designed for keeping a multi-dog household clean as a whistle.
Is it normal for dogs to smell bad?
When establishing a cleaning protocol for a multi-dog household, it helps to understand the reasons that dogs smell and knowing the difference between normal and abnormal odor. Dogs have a natural doggy smell, including Frito feet, but if the odor is particularly strong and offensive, consider these common health issues, which can be treated, thus eliminating one potential source of odor in your home:
- Anal glands need to be expressed or treated
- Skin allergies (caused by food or something in the environment)
- Yeast infections (in folds of skin, inside ears)
- Scaling and flaky skin can be signs of seborrhea caused by hormonal changes; allergies; bacteria, fungus, or parasite infections; poor diet; obesity; and temperature and humidity changes.
- Bladder infections or urinary incontinence
- Bad breath and dental problems
Keep in mind that healthy dogs carry a signature scent that is just part of the species makeup; dogs simply smell like dogs or the stinky treasures they discover on their travels. Consequently, when you have a multi-dog household, you have to clean more dirt and grime and nose prints from windows, and also reduce and eliminate more doggy odor than in a one-dog domain, particularly if you have puppies or senior dogs who may have accidents.
Essential tools for cleanliness in a multi-dog household
You can have a clean home when you have multiple dogs as long as you have some basic tools and pet-friendly cleaning products for the job, such as:
- Washing machine and dryer
- HEPA-filter vacuum cleaner
- Broom and dust pan
- Enzymatic cleansers for carpets, upholstery, hard floors
- Enzymatic laundry detergent
- Enzymatic urine odor-and-stain removal sprays
- Natural cleaners and deodorizers like baking soda and apple cider vinegar
- Dog grooming aids including combs, brushes, slickers, dog shampoo and conditioner
Basic guidelines for a clean, dog odor-free home
- Comb and brush your dogs often; the more hair you can remove by grooming, the less dog hair to go around your home.
- Bathe your dogs on a schedule that is appropriate for the breed and hair type. Whether your dog's hair is curly, long, coarse, or thick can determine how dirty your dog gets. If you're not sure, check with your vet for an appropriate bath schedule. Some dogs only need a good brushing to keep clean while others need a bath every month to stay fresh-smelling and clean.
- Provide enough washable pet beds/blankets for each dog and wash once weekly.
- Avoid broadloom carpeting and rugs that are prone to stain and absorb dog odors. Alternatively, choose washable rugs such as Ruggables, a two-part rug system, that includes a top rug layer that can be tossed into the washing machine at least once a week to stay clean and fresh. Also, many indoor/outdoor rugs can be hosed down outside and dried in the sun.
- Flooring like hardwood has cracks and crevices that trap food particles and tend to absorb odor as well. Opt for non-porous flooring such as engineered hardwood, laminate, porcelain, ceramic, or vinyl.
- Clean up any accidents or messes immediately on soft furnishings.
- Dust and vacuum upholstery, floors, and carpets as often as possible to stay on top of dog hair tumbleweeds and dog hair accumulation on furniture.
- Every day, sweep dried mud and dirt from your entryway or mud room.
- A daily mop-up of hard flooring keeps dirt and food debris under control; thoroughly wash floors a couple of times a week.
- As dogs move about the house, door trims can get grimy from the oil in their coats so wiping down both sides of doorways every couple of days is a good idea.
- Launder bedding often if your dogs relax and/or nap on your beds.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- Best Friends: Smelly Dog - Why Does My Dog Stink
- Chicago Tribune: What Are Enzymatic Cleaners and Why Is Everyone With Pets Talking About Them
- American Kennel Club: 5 Reasons Why Your Dog Smells So Bad and What to Do About It.
- Best Friends: Urinary Incontinence in Dogs
- American Kennel Club: Why Dogs Roll in Smelly Stuff
- Rocco and Roxie: Professional Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator