Does an Air Purifier Help with Dog Smell?

Are you a dog owner who wonders if an air purifier help with dog smell?

You’re probably like me, who loves your dog but is not so thrilled with that less-than-pleasant odor. Trust me, I feel you!

Lucky for us, the following will be more information that we could/would ever want to know about air purifiers and odors—from a pet and otherwise.

I’ll be nice and give you the TLDR version up front. Yes. An air purifier can help with dog smell and a variety of other smells too. 

But not all air purifiers or filters are capable of removing odors, mind you!

While a HEPA filter is your go-to for catching airborne particulates, you need a purifier with a carbon filter to trap and neutralize odors.


Why Does Your Dog Smell?

Don’t worry – it’s not because you’re a terrible pet owner.

For the most part, your dog — or any other furry pet — smells because of the production of bacteria and yeast. This is entirely natural, so don’t freak out.

This bacteria and yeast form on dark or damp spots on your dog’s body — like inside their ears — and the odor is typically worse when your dog is wet. 

However, suppose you find the smell overwhelming. In that case, your dog could have a health-related problem that should be diagnosed and treated.

And there are a few other reasons behind dog smells that bring you here to this article.

Mouth Odors. Yes, dogs get bad breath too. Particularly stinky breath could indicate an infection in a tooth, or more seriously, it could be a sign of kidney disease or diabetes.

Skin Folds. Breeds like Pugs or Shar-peis can start to smell bad because of dermatitis in their skin folds, so make sure you clean the folds regularly.

Ear infections. Yeast and bacterial infections in the ear can be stinky.

Bad Gas. This shouldn’t require any explanation, but here goes. If your dog’s farts can clear a room, there’s a good chance it’s eaten something it shouldn’t have. Unfortunately, there’s also a chance it indicates a serious health problem.

Avoid the Need for an Air Purifier for Dog Smells!

If you don’t have a stinky dog, you won’t need an air purifier to help remove dog smells.

So what can you do to avoid the situation in the first place?

Make sure you regularly bathe and groom your dog; just be sure not to bathe it too often. 

According to the American Kennel Club, over-bathing your dog can strip the oils from its skin and fur.

Most dogs should be bathed every month or so, but use some common sense.

Dogs with long, lush coats require more frequent baths, but shorter-haired dogs can go longer between baths.

Waterless dog shampoos on the market can be used in between— if spot cleaning is necessary. 

This is especially beneficial for dogs that have the skin folds mentioned above.

Finally, you might consider using — very lightly — baby powder or cornstarch. Both can absorb odors.

Does an Air Purifier Help with Dog Smell? Filters Matter!

As mentioned, if you need an air purifier that helps with dog smell, you need an air purifier with carbon filters. 

It could be a carbon filter paired with a HEPA filter or a carbon filter on its own.

HEPA filters and carbon filters have two entirely different processes. Let’s start with carbon filters.

Carbon Filters — What Are They and How Do They Work?

Carbon filters — also known as activated carbon or charcoal filters—can trap odors. 

This is done through absorption, but it’s a bit different than the absorption you might be familiar with.

In this case, molecules attach to the outside of the filter instead of soaking into it. 

The higher the quality of the filter, the more porous it will be. 

And the more porous it is, the better it can trap contaminants since the increased porosity also increases the amount of surface space.

And while you’re here because you’re interested in its ability to remove pet odors, a carbon filter can also remove the following:

  • Cooking odors
  • Mildew odors
  • Musty smells
  • Smoke

But it doesn’t stop there. Carbon filters also remove harmful VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). These are gases that certain liquids or solids emit into the air. 

They typically include a variety of chemicals, and some of them may have either short or long-term serious health effects.

Here are some VOCs that a carbon filter can remove:

  • 1,4-dichlorobenzene 
  • Acetone
  • Acrolein
  • Benzene
  • Ethanol
  • Formaldehyde
  • Methylene chloride
  • Toluene
  • Xylene

I don’t know about you, but to tell the truth, I don’t know what most of these are. 

What I do know, however, is that I probably don’t want to be breathing them in.

Who Should Have an Air Purifier with a Carbon Filter in Their Home?

Anyone who smokes or lives with a smoker, has a damp or musty basement, or owns a pet should invest in an air purifier with a carbon filter in their home.

But what if you want to remove airborne contaminants as well? That’s where the HEPA filter comes in.


HEPA Filters — What Are They and How Do They Work?

We hear a lot about HEPA filters because they’re so freaking awesome! Yeah, let’s dial that back a little bit.

Yes, HEPA filters are, but they’re only fantastic at what they can do – capturing and trapping solid airborne particulates. 

And as you probably know, odors are not solid.

HEPA filters undergo stringent testing and certification to be classified as 99.97% effective and efficient at removing airborne particles down to 0.3 microns in size. This is a guarantee.

So what solid airborne particles are included? 

Here’s a short list:

  • Allergens
  • Dust
  • Mold
  • Mold spores 
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Some bacteria
  • Some viruses

The good news is if you live in a household where you need an air purifier that will help with dog smells and can remove a variety of airborne particulates, there is a solution.

Air purifiers that come with multiple filters are very common. 

Specifically, multiple filters of a different type — so at least one HEPA filter and one carbon filter in the same unit.

That combination means you can clean your home of various pollutants.

Using an Air Purifier Will Help with Dog Smells, but Try These Too

Now that you understand what type of air purifier will help with dog smells, let’s talk about a few other measures to freshen up the air in your home.

Odor Eliminators

There are several things that naturally absorb odors, so you can give your air purifier a boost in helping remove dog smells. 

Place large bowls of your odor eliminator of choice where it’s most needed.

  • Baking soda
  • Coffee grounds
  • Oats
  • Tea
  • Vinegar

But don’t stop there. Here are some other things you can do.

Tips to Freshen the Air

These are general tips to help remove household odors. Still, they can also be used with your air purifier if you’re targeting dog smells.

These aren’t odor-absorbing materials like those mentioned above, but doing the following will help freshen your air.

First, open windows whenever possible! Then try some of these:

  • Add a few drops of essential oil to your HVAC filter
  • Put ground citrus peels in the garbage disposal
  • Neutralize carpet smells with baking soda
  • Simmer something aromatic on the stove
  • Put vanilla extract or essential oils on cotton balls

Does an Air Purifier Help with Dog Smell? – FAQs

What’s the best pet odor eliminator on the market?

Results will vary, but you can try Angry Orange Pet Odor Eliminator.

What is the best dog shampoo to get rid of the dog smell?

Rocco and Roxie Dog Shampoo for all Dogs and Puppies.

Should you wash your dog’s face?

Yes. Especially if your dog’s face has clumps of dried food on their faces.


Does an Air Purifier Help with Dog Smell? – Conclusion

So yes, there is good news for those of you with a stinky pet. 

Getting an air purifier will help with the dog smell.

Just remember that all air purifiers are not created equal. 

More specifically, all filters are not created equal.

To eliminate odors, you need an air purifier that has a carbon filter. 

And if you’d also like to remove airborne particles like your dog’s dander and hair, get an air purifier with dual filters – a HEPA filter and a carbon filter.

READ NEXT: The 4 Best Air Purifiers for Pets