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How to Keep Dog Smell Out of Your Bed

How to Keep Dog Smell Out of Your Bed

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It’s no secret that ’round these parts, the dogs sleep in the bed.

Or, more accurately, these dogs hog the bed. I’ve managed to banish a few toys from the bed after the last Bedtime Fairytale, but I genuinely don’t understand how a 20 lb. dog and a 25 lb. dog can take up that much real estate. Does Koly get hit with an engorgement charm every night when the lights go out? It’s nuts. I feel like I need this shirt to wear as pajamas.

Hogging the bed isn’t the only downside to sharing your bed with your pets.

A recent study showed that homes with pets have more bacteria and more types of bacteria than the average non-pet home. It’s no wonder: dogs go outside and they bring all sorts of crud in on their feet. The added bacteria isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact, there is evidence to support that dust from homes with dogs has a higher amount of beneficial bacteria.

Still, I don’t like to think of my bed as ground zero for grossness. We’re talking about my BED, I want it to be a restful haven, even if I do only get a very small portion of it. If you put your sheets under a microscope, I can pretty much guarantee you’d be grossed out. There’s dead skins cells, oils, sweat, dog hair, slobber puddles…UGH. Plus, all that bacteria we were talking about? It’s what’s responsible for that “dog smell” fabrics can get. I don’t want to sleep in a heap of dog smell. Anyone with dogs know that just washing a fabric isn’t always enough to get rid of the dog funk smell and it’s not like you can toss your whole mattress into the washer.

Luckily, I’ve got a surefire system to keep the dog smell (and the dirt and grime) out of your bed.

Your First Defense: A well groomed dog is a better bed mate.

In news that surprises no one, the smellier your dog is, the smellier your bed will be. The best defense is a good offense, so step up your grooming game.

  • Frequent baths – Get Fido sudsy with a natural, additive free shampoo and dry well. If desired, spritz with grooming spray.
  • A good brush out – Brushing removes the loose hair that’s going to get shed all over your sheets. Old hair traps odours and bacteria and can contribute that dog funk smell. Get rid of it frequently.

Weekly or Bi-Weekly Tasks:

Wash your sheets

Duh, this one is kind of a no brainer, but it’s so important. Traditional wisdom suggests that the average person needs to wash their sheets at least every two weeks. If you’re sharing your bed with dogs, this probably isn’t enough. 

  • Pre-Treat Any Stains – Felix loves to slobber all over the pillows and Kolchak loves to rub his head into the sheets. Regular stains react great to a mix of peroxide and baking soda, while oil marks respond best to dry cornstarch sprinkled on to soak up the oil. (Get all my laundry tips here.)
  • Wash in hot water – Hot water helps kill any bacteria. Balling your sheets up before they go in the washer will help to decrease wear and tear, plus it helps to prevent them from stretching.
  • A cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle  – white vinegar is my be all end all for all things smelly. A cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle will not only take care of odours, it is also a natural fabric softener.
  • Dry on medium or low – High heat wears out the fibres of your sheets and they won’t last very long that way.
how to keep dog smell out of your bed

Dog beds are for chumps. Move over, Mama.

Hair Control

  • Suck It Up! – If your dog projectile sheds like Kolchak, chances are that your bed is a hairy mess. Once the sheets are off, I tend to give the mattress and pillows a quick vacuum. While experts generally agree that vacuuming does little or nothing to keep dust mites at bay, it is effective at sucking up the spare dog hairs, which can be harbouring funky odours.
  • Shake it Off – I like to shake out my quilt every week. If I’m feeling ambitious, I might even run the vacuum over it, but let’s face it, this is a hassle.

Odour Control

Remember that white vinegar that killed the odours on your sheets? It works on your mattress, pillows and quilt too. I know what you’re thinking: won’t my house smell like salt and vinegar chips? Well, yeah, so make sure you have a bag on hand because let me tell you, the first few times you clean with vinegar that craving is so strong. Even though white vinegar has a very strong odour, that smell only lasts until the vinegar is dry. I recommend doing this as soon as you get up (or in my case, right after a good cup of coffee), so that your room has all day to dry and air out.

  • Spritz It Down – Place undiluted white vinegar in a spray bottle and mist your mattress, pillows (both the cute decorative ones and the ones you use) and your quilt. (Make sure you hang or lay out your quilt to dry, don’t just toss it back on the bed.) If I’m feeling ambitious, I might spritz the carpets as well. I mean, why not? You’re there, the vinegar is in your hand…what do you have to lose?
dog smell in the bed

Don’t I look cute in the big bed?

Once in a while

Bed Accessories need love too 

A weekly vinegar spritz wont be enough to keep accessories clean and completely odour free. It will help, but it is a fabric too and I guarantee it’s harbouring some yucky smells.

  • Wash your quilt – If your home washer isn’t big enough, hit up a laundry service. My local laundromat will do my quilt for less than $10. Same rules apply to the quilt as did the sheets: hot water, a cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle and a cool dryer.
  • Pillows need to be cleaned – Did you know this was even a thing? I seriously didn’t. Not for the longest time. The experts recommend that pillows be washed twice a year, but just like with everything else, if your pet is sharing your pillow, you may need to do it more often. (You can find some great pillow washing tips here.)

This girl sleeps with dogs, but you wouldn’t know it.

My bed smells fresh and clean, always. You won’t end up with fur pajamas by snuggling up with us. While not everyone thinks sleeping with dogs is the best, I would be lonely (and cold) with out my furry friends in the bed! (Besides, can you imagine the attitude if I suggested Kolchak sleep on the FLOOR?! What do you think he is? AN ANIMAL??)

Bark Back: Do your pets share the bed? Do you have any secret ninja moves for keeping the pet smell at bay?

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Tuesday 17th of January 2023

My two dogs sleep with me. I’m going to try the white vinegar spritz. I use a duvet cover to protect my blanket & when it’s in the wash, I put my blanket between two sheets. My blanket stays hair free & by washing the duvet or the two sheets every other day, my bed stays relatively clean.

Barbie Koopa

Monday 24th of August 2020

You say 'feline free' like it's a bad thing. To be quite honest, Being a huge lover of cats, (& most of God's creatures) I'm offended by that remark. I'm 54 yrs k & I only recently got my first dog. Although I am totally head over paws in love with her, it's difficult to live with her smell. I use Pet Febreze many times daily. She gets her dreaded bath every 2 week. I've been meaning to get a dry shampoo, its little expensive so I want to make sure I get one that works. Any suggestions? I'm definitely gonna do the vinegar on mattress & bedding TODAY! I always stay on top of keeping my kitties litter clean, so before I got 85 lb mixed Golden Retriever, I had a home that was 'Odor Free'

Jodi Chick

Sunday 30th of August 2020

Awe, I'm sorry! That's an ongoing joke between me and a friend, not because *I* don't like cats but because Kolchak (my dog) is absolutely terrified of them. I can see how that comment wouldn't make sense if you didn't know!

So, you actually might be bathing your girl too often. When dog skin gets dried out, it starts working overtime to produce oils that create more smells. I would scale it back a little- and try every three or four weeks. The first time you let it go this long, she might get a bit funky, so you can definitely use a dry shampoo. Kolchak gets a bath every 6 weeks, I use grooming wipes every few days and my DIY dry shampoo once between baths.You can find my <a href="http://">dry shampoo recipe here.

For a fluffy girl, you want to focus on getting it un her fur, but not on her skin and make sure it's well brushed out!

I would also encourage weekly brush out sessions to remove dead hair. Dead hair has a tendency to trap smells and nothing will get that funk out except removing it. Especially if you live in a damp climate or your dog loves the water, this can be a huge odor culprit.

Last, if the smell persists, I'd explore a diet change. Even if your dog isn't allergic to her food, some foods can promote yeast growth more than others. Since yeast is what creates that "doggy smell" a diet change can help avoid it.

Deel free to come back and chat or ask more questions if this doesn't work! There are always more things we can try. Since every dog's coat is a little different, sometimes different solutions work more than others.


Tuesday 15th of January 2019

I really hate how my youngest brother or parent doesn't monitor the whereabouts of our dog when they let him inside our house. The dog would come inside my room unexpectedly, smelling very badly inaide my small room. I tried to stop him but I was too late, he touched my linen sheet, and know my bed smells. Im going to wash my bed soon, but you bet I'm going to argue this a bit to them. I also hope my mom is less thrifty, and buys a better shampoo.


Sunday 24th of June 2018

Vinegar kills more germs than bleach, and much quicker. I work in a hospital, and they have gone to vinegar cleaning agents. Adding vinegar to your wash does kill nasty odors. Perfect post!! Never thought about spraying my granddog with vinegar, but will try this.


Monday 26th of February 2018

I guess I will buy one of two more sheets to change frequently. Thank you for sharing the helpful advice.

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