How to Get Rid of Dog Gland Smell on Furniture

Getting rid of dog anal gland smell, especially from furniture, can be a challenging task for any dog owner. This article will guide you through the process, ensuring that your furniture is free from that awful smell often associated with a dog’s anal glands.

Understanding the Source: Dog’s Anal Glands

Firstly, it’s essential to understand the source of the smell. Dogs have anal glands, or anal sacs, located near their anus. These glands secrete a fluid with a very distinctive and often nasty smell, usually used for marking territory.

Sometimes, these glands can emit this smell more strongly, especially when dogs are scared or excited, or if the glands are infected.

Why Do Anal Glands Cause Problems?

In the wild, the diet of dogs or their ancestors helped in naturally expressing these glands regularly. However, domesticated dogs often need assistance with this.

That’s because the dog’s poop is softer, which doesn’t apply enough pressure on the glands during defecation. This can lead to the dog’s anal glands becoming impacted or infected.

Regular Maintenance: Expressing Anal Glands

One preventive measure is regularly expressing your dog’s anal glands. This can be done at home, but it’s often better handled by a professional groomer or a veterinarian, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process.

Regular expression can prevent the glands from becoming overfilled and reduce the likelihood of the smell transferring to your furniture.

Immediate Action: Cleaning the Affected Furniture

When you notice the dog’s anal gland smell on your furniture, immediate action is necessary. 

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Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Identify and Blot the Area

  • Purpose: This step is crucial for targeting the exact area that needs cleaning. Ignoring this can lead to ineffective cleaning and lingering odors.
  • Technique: Use your nose and sight to find the spot. If the gland secretion is fresh, it might leave a damp spot.
  • Blotting: Use a paper towel or a clean, absorbent cloth. The goal is to absorb as much of the secretion as possible without spreading it further. Press gently but firmly.

2. Baking Soda Treatment

  • Why Baking Soda: It’s a natural odor neutralizer, absorbing and neutralizing odors rather than just masking them. It’s also safe for most fabric types.
  • Application: Sprinkle a generous amount over the entire affected area. The goal is to cover the spot completely.
  • Duration: Leaving it for several hours or overnight allows the baking soda to absorb the odor fully.
  • Clean Up: Vacuuming the baking soda thoroughly ensures no residue is left, which could attract more dirt.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

  • Preparation: Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water. Hydrogen peroxide acts as a mild bleach and sanitizer.
  • Spot Test: Always perform a spot test on a hidden furniture area to check for colorfastness, as hydrogen peroxide can lighten some fabrics.
  • Application: Apply the solution sparingly to avoid saturating the furniture. A spray bottle can be useful for even distribution.
  • Blotting and Drying: After a few minutes, blot the area dry. This step helps to lift the odor and any remaining moisture.

4. Odor Remover Sprays

  • Choosing a Product: Look for sprays specifically designed for pet odors. These products contain enzymes or other ingredients that break down the odor-causing molecules.
  • Application: Follow the instructions on the product label. Usually, it involves spraying the affected area and letting it dry.
  • Effectiveness: These sprays not only mask the odor but also work to eliminate the source of the smell.

5. Pet Wipes for Prevention

  • Purpose: Regular use of pet wipes can help prevent the issue by removing secretions before they transfer to furniture.
  • Choosing Wipes: To avoid irritating your dog’s skin, select pet-friendly wipes, preferably unscented or with a mild scent.
  • Frequency: Incorporating this into your daily pet care routine, especially after your dog has been outside or after bowel movements, can be highly effective.

By following these steps, you can effectively remove the dog anal gland smell from your furniture and maintain a fresh and clean home environment.

Remember, consistent preventive measures like using pet wipes and regular grooming can significantly reduce the recurrence of such issues.

What to avoid using to get rid of the dog gland smell on furniture?

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When thinking of how to get rid of the dog gland smell on furniture, there are several things you should avoid:

  1. Harsh Chemicals: Avoid using bleach or other harsh chemicals. These can damage furniture fabrics and finishes and may also be harmful to your pet.
  2. Ammonia-Based Cleaners: Ammonia has a strong odor that can resemble urine to a dog, potentially encouraging them to mark the area again.
  3. Excessive Water or Liquid Cleaners: Using too much liquid can soak into upholstery, padding, or wood, causing damage or encouraging mold and mildew growth.
  4. Steam Cleaning Heat for Certain Stains: For protein-based stains, such as those from anal gland secretions, heat can sometimes set the stain and odor, making it more difficult to remove.
  5. Strong Fragrances: Overly scented cleaners or air fresheners might mask the smell temporarily but won’t remove it. Additionally, strong fragrances can be irritating to your dog’s nose.
  6. Rubbing Alcohol on Certain Surfaces: While rubbing alcohol can be effective in removing odors, it can also damage certain types of fabric or finishes.
  7. Undiluted Vinegar: While vinegar is a natural odor remover, using it undiluted can be too harsh for some surfaces and might leave a strong odor.

Always test any cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of your furniture first to ensure it doesn’t cause damage or discoloration. If in doubt, it’s often best to consult a professional cleaner, especially for expensive or delicate furniture.

Furniture Most Prone To Absorb Dog Smell From Anal Sacs

The likelihood of dog gland smell lingering on furniture can vary depending on the type of furniture and the materials it’s made from. Here are some factors that influence how certain furniture might retain these odors:

  1. Upholstered Furniture: Sofas, chairs, and other furniture with fabric upholstery are more likely to absorb and retain odors. The porous nature of fabric fibers can trap the oils and scent from the anal gland secretions. Thicker and more plush fabrics, like velvet or chenille, can be particularly prone to holding onto odors.
  2. Leather Furniture: While leather is less absorbent than fabric, it’s not completely impervious to odors. If the gland secretion is not cleaned up promptly, the smell can seep into the leather and linger. Additionally, the folds and crevices in leather furniture can trap the secretion.

  1. Wooden Furniture: Although wood is less likely than fabric to retain odors, certain types of wood, especially those that are untreated or porous, can still absorb smells. Joints, cracks, and crevices in wooden furniture can also harbor the scent if not cleaned properly.
  2. Plastic and Metal Furniture: These materials are generally the most resistant to odors. They are non-porous and easier to clean, so smells are less likely to linger on these surfaces.
  3. Cushioned Furniture: Any furniture with cushions or padding (like mattresses or padded dining chairs) can be problematic. The padding can absorb the secretion, making it challenging to completely remove the odor.
  4. Furniture Age and Condition: Older furniture or items that have not been well-maintained may be more susceptible to retaining odors due to accumulated grime and wear in the materials.
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To minimize the risk of odors lingering, it’s important to clean any affected areas promptly and thoroughly.

Using appropriate cleaning methods and products for each type of material is crucial in effectively removing the smell without causing damage to the furniture.

Long-Term Solutions

Dietary Changes

  • Impact on Anal Glands: The consistency and composition of your dog’s stool are directly influenced by its diet. Firmer stools can naturally help in expressing the anal glands, reducing the risk of impaction or infection.
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  • High-Fiber Diets: Incorporating more fiber into your dog’s diet can firm up their stools. This can include high-fiber dog food or supplements.
  • Consultation with a Veterinarian: It’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian before making any significant changes to your dog’s diet. They can provide tailored advice based on your dog’s specific needs, breed, age, and existing health conditions.
  • Hydration: Along with dietary changes, ensure your dog is well-hydrated, as this also affects stool consistency.

Regular Grooming

  • Regular Baths: Bathing your dog regularly helps remove dirt, debris, and excess oil that can carry the smell of the anal glands. It also provides an opportunity to check the health of their skin and fur.
  • Anal Gland Checks: During grooming sessions, a quick check of the anal glands can be done. Some groomers offer “anal gland expression” as part of their services.
  • Brushing: Regular brushing not only keeps your dog’s coat healthy but also helps distribute natural oils, minimizing odor. It also reduces the amount of hair and dander that might carry anal gland secretions onto furniture.
  • Professional Grooming Services: If you’re uncomfortable performing these tasks or if your dog has special grooming needs, professional grooming services can be a valuable investment.

Veterinary Check-Up

  • Importance of Regular Check-Ups: Regular veterinary visits are essential for early detection and treatment of any health issues, including those related to anal glands.
  • Addressing Persistent Issues: If anal gland problems persist despite dietary changes and grooming, it could be indicative of an underlying health issue. This could range from allergies affecting skin and coat health to more serious glandular disorders.
  • Possible Treatments: Depending on the diagnosis, treatments can vary. This may include antibiotics for infections, surgery for severely impacted glands, or dietary adjustments for chronic issues.
  • Preventive Health Care: Regular vet visits also allow for discussions on preventive health measures, such as vaccinations, deworming, and general wellness, which can indirectly affect anal gland health.

By implementing these long-term strategies, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of anal gland issues in your dog. This, therefore, minimizes the transfer of unpleasant odors to your furniture and maintains a healthy, happy environment for your pet.


Dealing with a dog’s anal gland smell on furniture requires a combination of immediate cleaning actions and long-term preventive measures. By regularly expressing your dog’s anus glands and maintaining proper hygiene, you can keep your furniture free of this awful smell in the long run.

But, as an immediate solution, use effective cleaning agents like baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to clean up. Remember, if the issue continues, consult with a veterinarian to ensure your furry friend stays healthy and happy.


What’s the most effective home remedy for removing dog anal gland smell from furniture?

Baking soda is one of the most effective home remedies to remove anal gland smell. It’s a natural odor neutralizer; just sprinkle it on the affected area, let it sit for a few hours, and then vacuum it up.

Can vinegar help in removing dog smell from furniture?

Yes, diluted white vinegar can help because it’s a natural deodorizer and can be lightly sprayed on the affected area, and then blotted dry. Always perform a spot test first to ensure it doesn’t damage the furniture.

How often should I clean my furniture to keep it free from dog anal gland smell?

Regular cleaning is key. Wiping down surfaces with appropriate cleaners and vacuuming upholstered furniture weekly can help prevent the buildup of odors from your dog’s anal glands.

Jake Willhoite
Jake runs and has had cats and dogs his entire life. As a kid his family adopted several dogs from the local shelter which set him down the path of animal rescue.
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