How to Get Rid of Dog Gland Smell on Furniture

While our furry best friends have many wonderful, adorable qualities, the smells that come out of them are not one of them. And nothing is more unpleasant than the anal gland smell they sometimes leave on furniture, which can be remarkably hard to eliminate.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dog glands smell up the furniture because dogs use them to mark their territory.
  • You can use a home remedy like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, or detergent powder or vinegar.
  • A potentially better solution is using an enzymatic cleaner to break down the scents themselves, or using a commercial cleaning product.
  • Before you start cleaning, try your cleaner on a small corner of the furniture to make sure it does not stain or discolor the surface.

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Fortunately, we’ve rounded up the very best cleaning tips to get that awful anal gland smell out of furniture, so you can stop having to avoid taking a nap on your own couch.

Why Do Dog Glands Smell Up the Furniture?

Why Do Dog Glands Smell Up the Furniture

All dogs have a pair of anal glands (or anal sacs) on either side of their anuses. These glands have a unique smell, and this is what dogs are sniffing for when they smell each other’s butts. It’s a form of identification, much more so than looks are. That’s why dogs use the fluid the glands secrete to mark their territory on anything they think should belong to them. They transfer this fluid simply by rubbing up against something, so the furniture they sit and lie on frequently has lots of this smelly fluid worked right into it.

Baking Soda

First, let’s look at the most straightforward fix: baking soda. Sprinkle your baking soda generously on your furniture and let it sit there overnight. When you vacuum it up the next day, the odor should either be gone or significantly reduced. Baking soda is a very absorbent substance that can pull the fluid out of the fabric. However, it doesn’t work equally well on all materials, and it might not be enough if the dog smell is worked in there.

Please note: you need to use baking soda, not baking powder. Baking powder is baking soda cut with other substances, so it will not work as effectively.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Try scrubbing the furniture with hydrogen peroxide. This mildly reactive chemical can help break up other chemicals, making cleaning the dog gland secretions out of the upholstery easier.

Detergent Powder and Vinegar

This one’s also pretty easy. Mix a tablespoon of laundry detergent powder with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar to make a cheap odor-fighting cleanser. While this can work effectively, it isn’t beneficial if the dog smell is very old and ground in.

Enzymatic Cleaners & Commercial Pet Odor Eliminating Products

A wide variety of commercial products are meant to eliminate pet odors. If you’ve tried the cheaper solutions to no avail, you may just have to go and buy an odor remover, as it can be much more effective at odor elimination. Of course, depending on the material and the strength and severity of the dog smell, these products do not always work. Plus,  they sometimes have strong smells themselves that some people find unpleasant.

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Biological Washing Powder

For a more powerful cleaning product, try a biological washing powder. This detergent powder contains enzymes that make it an especially powerful cleaner. Enzymes are unique proteins that break down certain chemicals, particularly biological ones. That means that a biological washing powder might succeed in getting rid of that anal gland smell where all other cleaning products have failed.

Steam Cleaning

If none of the more traditional cleaning methods have worked, you may need to rent (or buy) a steam cleaner. The steam will heat the scent molecules in your furniture’s fabric, loosening the material’s grip on them and making them easy to clear away. It may be a bit of an expense, but it should do the job. And you can use the steam cleaner for other things, too.

Use Removable Furniture Covers

While this doesn’t help you remove dog gland stink that has already settled into your furniture,  you can do something to make the problem easier to deal with in the future by using removable cushion covers and slips. That way, when you start noticing the smell again, you can just take them off, throw them into the washing machine, and clean them easily.

If All Else Fails

Call a carpet cleaning service if you’ve tried everything but just can’t get that awful smell out of your furniture. Many carpet cleaning services will also do upholstery cleaning; they have the tools, cleansers, and experience to take care of any cleaning problem. If they can’t solve the problem, you may just need to get new furniture.

Potential Pitfalls When Cleaning Your Furniture

Potential Pitfalls When Cleaning Your Furniture

Beware of the Pineapple Juice Fix

Some say you should clean your furniture with pineapple juice to eliminate the anal gland smell. And it can be an effective remedy. However, pineapple juice stains many fabrics, so you may just be trading one problem for another.

Be Careful with Expensive or Antique Fabrics

Expensive and antique fabrics can be delicate and stain very easily. Before using any cleaning product on them, it’s essential to check that you can safely clean your expensive or antique furniture with it. You should be able to find plenty of cleaning advice for such fabrics online or included in the product’s instructions.

Could My Dog’s Gland Smell Be the Result of a Health Problem?

Dog gland scent marking is a natural process for any breed. However, you should be concerned if it’s never been a problem before and suddenly becomes a big problem. This could indicate that your dog has an anal gland impaction or infection. If you notice a sudden issue with smelly furniture that you’ve never had before, be on the lookout for the following problems with your dog:

  • Scooting: If your dog is scooting around on the floor in the sitting position, this could indicate an itch or pain caused by a gland issue.
  • Redness and/or swelling
  • Blood in the stool: This is a significant warning sign if you see blood in your dog’s stool.

If you notice your dog having these problems, contact your vet. If they diagnose an anal gland impaction or infection, they can help your dog and potentially eliminate future gland smells on your furniture.

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