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Why do Dog Beds Smell? (Explained & Solve)

Dog beds are an absolute necessity if you want to provide the best possible life for your furry friend. They provide comfort and security, as well as become a place for them to call it their own. 

However, dog beds can also be a breeding ground for germs, dirt, and, by that tangent, smells.

Why do dog beds smell?

Dog beds have a tendency to smell due to accumulating dirt, germ, and other particles from the dog onto the bed. Since dogs spend a portion of their time in the bed- fur, dirt, and body fluid amasses transfer to and reacts with the bed material to create a pungent atmosphere.

Unless cleaned regularly, all the different particles will collect and stew into themselves, producing a repugnant air in, around, and of the dog bed itself. Dog smells are a by-product of natural day-to-day dog living- and combating it is fairly simple as well.

Reasons why do dog beds smell: 

Exposure to infections

Dogs are prone to ear infections, especially those with longer, floppy ears such as cocker spaniels or poodles. Without taking proper cleaning and drying your dog beds, bacteria can gather and grow to be contaminated.

This infection has a yeasty smell that transfers into the bedding as well, causing it to smell.

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Skin conditions

Same with infections, certain breeds are more prone to skin diseases. Conditions such as canine seborrhea, inflammation, parasites, and even allergies are quite common amongst breeds like terriers and retrievers.

The yeast and bacteria rub off on the bed and make it smell.

Seasonal allergies also contribute to a musty smell. Poor diet choices can likewise produce a foul odor and yeast infections.


Dogs excrete their “own” smells from the two smell sacs they have on their anal region. This is one of the most common reasons why dogs smell. If they are in pain or something is wrong, an extremely pungent smell is released.

It is worse than a “fishy” odor and should be checked into as soon as possible.

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Dental issues

Dogs are extremely chewy creatures who would prefer to use their teeth on basically anything and everything. Such heavy usage of their choppers will more often than not lead to dental problems, which makes way for bad breath.

Small breeds are more prone to dental health issues, so basic genetics can be a cause why.

 Since they opt for chewing almost everything, chances are the bad smell is happening due to your canine companion chomping on the bed and their saliva has embedded into the bedding.


Dogs are active, social creatures that spend a significant portion of their day outside or in messy environments. Naturally, this means they attract dirt onto their fur and paws, which if left unchecked, will transfer onto the bed and accrue there.

If the bed isn’t cleaned regularly, the dirt and fur will fester in the crevices and start to mold, which will eventually lead to smelling pungent.

Elderly, senior dogs can lose control of their bladder, and it can seep into the plush bedding- which is undoubtedly causing it to smell.

Other than these, UTIs (Urinary tract infections) and natural skin microorganisms of the dog itself can also be the cause for the bed to be pungent.

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Dogs are naturally smelly creatures. When wet, the yeast and bacteria in the very body of your dog will react with the water to create the infamous “wet dog smell”.

They lessen when dried down, but this is proof that no matter what you do, there is always going to be a “dog scent” that a true pet owner will eventually grow to love and appreciate.

How do you get rid of the pet bedding smell?

There are multiple ways to get rid of the smell coming from your furry friend’s resting and relaxation place.

Depending on how immediate the need for a solution is, you can dispose of the pungency in a select few ways. Below are three ways you can keep the bedding clean and free of odor.

Wipe it with a solution:

homemade solutions are easy to make and provide a cost-efficient way to deal with bedding smells. All you have to do is create a mixture of 1:1 hot water and vinegar with a splash of liquid soap. Spray it on the furniture and wipe it down.

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Regular washing:

The best way to prevent smelly beds is to wash them regularly. Most beds come with a removable cover; take it off, toss it in the washer with a liquid that is friendly and safe for pets and let it completely dry before using it again.

Baking soda:

Surprisingly, baking soda comes in handy to combat pet smells. Sprinkle it on the surface and let it sit there for a while (an hour or more) and then shake and dust it off completely. 

You should always make sure whatever product you are using is pet-friendly and actually contains ingredients that eliminate odor, such as enzymes or baking soda.

Extra tip: Airdry the bed in the sun to make sure it is completely safe for reuse. Dogs tend to love the natural sunbathed smell the bed has as well. 

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How do you freshen a dog bed? 

One of the easiest ways to freshen your dogs’ bed is to vacuum it when you’re vacuuming your other furniture as well. This will in the least, get rid of the dirt and fur that’s trying to nest into the crevices’ and corners.

You can also regularly spritz it with a vinegar mixture or a pet-friendly odor remover.

You can add a little bit of something that smells nice (peppermint essential oil, lavender oil, and so on) in a diluted form and spray it on lightly as well.

When doing this, always make sure the oil being used is pet safe.

Some pet stores also carry “doggy perfume” or “waterless bath” that you can spray on your pet’s fur that might help with the issue as well.

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What can I spray on my dog to smell good?

Apple cider vinegar, lavender. Geranium, eucalyptus, and citrus are all scents that can help your dog smell better. It should be noted that no matter what, dogs will always have a distinct dog smell- we can only control the extent to which they emit the odor.

Apple cider vinegar has its own robust smell, but they actually act as a high-powered deodorizer. This can be used on its own or diluted- just spray it on and let your dog dry naturally.

When applying lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus and citrus oil mixtures- always make sure to use them in a diluted form and avoid spraying it on their heads, especially the eyes.

Look into whether it is safe for your breed to use as well. Some essential oils require a splash of another ingredient to make them pet safe.

Make sure to shake the solution well before each use as well.

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How often should I wash my dogs’ bedding?

It honestly depends on you and your dog’s lifestyle as to how often you should wash your pet’s bedding.

It hinges on whether you have an active dog that spends a lot of time outside, whether they have any sickness that requires cleanliness, or any other health problems as well. It also matters if this is the only dog bed you have, or you can rotate your selection.

That being said, it is usually recommended to wash the bed once a week, if not once every two weeks. However, if the bed appears to be dirty or it smells particularly nasty- despite how regularly it has been washed, it is indeed time for it to go into the tumbler.

Regular washing will, without a doubt, encourage good and safe hygiene practices as well as singlehandedly contest allergy contributors. It will also make sure harmful germs are eradicated when cleaned properly.

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Dog beds can have multiple reasons as to why they are smelling. Starting from simple dirt and fur gathering together and remaining unchecked to diseases that cause them to secrete pungent smells.

It could even be a combination of multiple causes that can lead to a repulsive odor coming from the bed. They can easily be negated, though, with regular vigilance and constant cleanliness.

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